Kudos to police for cracking down on errant govt drivers

What you need to know:

The issue: Impunity on roads.

Our view: The operation launched this week by joint security forces should be sustained until sanity is returned to the roads

At the beginning of this month, our sister station NTV reported a story about 37-year-old Julius Mugarura who was knocked dead by an army truck that was driving on the wrong side of a one-way lane around Mulago hospital, Kampala.

It was, therefore, pleasing this week to watch security personnel consisting of traffic police, Field Force Unit, and Military Police mount an operation on the same road to crack down on those driving with impunity.

It might have been a total coincidence, but security personnel cracking down on their own on the same road where a road user was killed goes on to show the public that traffic laws can be obeyed by all.

There has been widespread public outcry for a long time now because of impunity on the roads, especially by security personnel and people who drive government cars.

Besides driving on the wrong side of one-way lanes, they do not stop at traffic lights, drive on road shoulders and force other drivers off the road to beat traffic. And these errant drivers had become so bold and entitled to the extent that they started harming traffic officers on duty.

In 2020, police summoned Maj Gen Matayo Kyaligonza for interrogation on charges of assaulting a female traffic police officer. The same year, Maj Gen Paul Lokech slapped a senior traffic officer on duty and allegedly pulled out his firearm.

Early this year, a traffic officer was shot by a UPDF soldier who tried to block police from towing a military vehicle that was involved in an accident on Kira road, Kampala. In May, a video emerged of a Military Police soldier dragging a traffic officer by his collar. And the list of cases goes on.

The Traffic and Road Safety Act is very clear on who has a right of way, and these include ambulances, President, Vice President, Prime Minister, Speaker and Deputy Speaker, Chief Justice and Deputy Chief Justice plus a bullion van from Central Bank. Security vehicles also enjoy right of way in emergency situations, only with permission from police.

Our view is that this operation launched this week by joint security forces should be sustained until sanity is returned to the roads.

Like Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja reassured lawmakers in Parliament, everyone should obey traffic laws, including government officials.

As Mugarura’s family adjusts to the reality that he was taken away from them, they would have some consolation knowing that his passing ended impunity on our roads.

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