Sanity returns after crackdown on errant govt motorists

A State House official is arrested for allegedly making a U-turn and intimidating officers who tried to stop him at Aga Khan Primary School gate in Kampala on May 30. PHOTO/FILE

What you need to know:

  • The indiscipline of government officials on the road had become a public concern.

Discipline by motorists, especially those driving government owned vehicles, has returned on roads after a week-long crackdown in a joint traffic police and army operation, police have said.

“Today (last Tuesday), it has been different. Everywhere government officials respected traffic regulations. Everyone behaved well on the road,” Kampala Metropolitan Police Traffic Commander Rogers Nsereko said. 

Last week, the traffic police and military police started a joint operation to crack down on errant motorists, especially those driving government and military vehicles. 
The indiscipline of government officials on the road had become a public concern. 

The police have been registering road accidents as a result of government officials driving on wrong lanes to beat traffic jams.

Traffic laws allow the President, Vice President, Prime Minister, Speaker and Deputy Speaker, Chief Justice, and Deputy Chief Justice right of way. 

The others are ambulances, a bullion van from Central Bank and security vehicles with sirens, but they are required to put other road users into consideration. Mr Nsereko said government officials are supposed to lead by example. 

“Why should they wait for us to be on the road for them to abide by the traffic regulations? It is embarrassing for a government official to behave as if he or she is above the law. It is us in government, who have to lead by example,” Mr Nsereko said. 

Many of these vehicles have security personnel that have made it hard for unarmed traffic officers to enforce the regulations.

Traffic police clash with security personnel

Since the year started,  several traffic police officers have been targeted by security personnel while enforcing traffic regulations.  In January, a soldier shot traffic police constable Robert Mukebezi while responding to a crime scene in Nakawa Division, Kampala City. Constable Mukebezi’s leg was amputated. The suspect, Cpl Bashir Mango Babangida, is said to be on the run. In May, armed military personnel grabbed a traffic police officer on Kaggwe Road after accusing him of taking long without releasing their vehicle in a traffic jam.  

The officers were later charged in the military court. They were given sentences ranging from imprisonment to community service. In July , another military officer, Herbert Kakama, attached to Chief of Training and Recruitment, Mbuya, was arrested after he attempted to cock his gun during an engagement with a traffic officer at Kibuye roundabout in Katwe Division. It is alleged that the soldier parked a Toyota Harrier on the roundabout blocking other motorists but when a traffic officer asked him to remove it, he allegedly refused and instead drew a gun at him. Kakama was charged in a military court.