Just like any and every festive season, the streets have become unnecessarily awash with traffic police officers in the name of preventing road accidents and maintaining sanity. Indeed, these are the times when most people throw caution to the wind to overindulge with little regard to other motorists or road users. These are occasions when the medulla oblongatas cease to function or reason on the simple basis of making merry to splash the unprecedented incomes in form of bonuses or thirteenth cheques. That is when these officers come in, I suppose, to impound those vehicles exceeding speed limits, motorists moving about without required documents, overloading or driving under the influence of alcohol. I applaud the Directorate of Road Traffic and Safety Services (DRTSS).
However, I have my reservations in their indulgence because it smacks of hypocrisy and someone sleeping on the job. Media reports have been awash with reports of impounded mini buses, most of which lacked the authorisation to ply our roads. How does the same department explain these slipping through their fingers, to await Christmas or New Year to be taken to task? If there are unroadworthy vehicles and unqualified motorists, who should shoulder the blame? Why intensify the crackdown only during festive seasons when lives—judging from the number of impounded vehicles— are perpetually in jeopardy?
I wrote here months back about witnessing a traffic police officer pocketing K 1000 note in one of the roads in Lilongwe so the driver could go scot-free for overloading and possibly a lack of documentation. I have also witnessed another one pocketing K500 from a minibus drivers for evading penalties for other atrocities. I shall, from my experiences say without fear of contradiction that the festive crackdown is nothing short of a strategy by the same officers to get the most of the ‘temporary riches’ that most motorists are currently enjoying. In my view, it is barely the people’s safety these officers are concerned about, but their own selfishness. They act all holy and patriotic when it is sheer greed and hypocrisy at work.
Trust me, I would be all smiles and appreciative of traffic police officers’ sacrifices if I bought through their fakeness. These are the same guys who not long ago penalised drivers for overloading, only for them to get corrupted by the same a few months down the line. They are the ones who sell motorists out to recklessness minibus drivers through bribes and empowering unruliness for a mere K 500 or K 1000 note. Now that everyone, including minibus drivers want to cash in on the festive season, police officers have joined the bandwagon to arrest even the very people they allowed to ply the roads months earlier because December becomes the season to be jolly over unprecedented earnings.
In summary, I don’t appreciate the swarm of police officers at every turn of their futile road blocks. They have time and again failed to prove to me their worthiness. They are driven by greed, vengeance, selfishness, not passion. That assurance of seeing them at whatever time raises one’s pressure because of the uncertainty of their motives. Given the chance, I would love to see them ‘impounded’ and off their jurisdiction because they do not serve the intended purpose. They are as hazardous as the motorists they target. Most prefer ‘personal penalties’ in form of a percentage of the formal charge to an atrocity.
I cry out for HELP to those in authority. We are being milked by the very people masquerading as good Samaritans. I am very afraid of what this festive season will bring our way because soon after the New Year, I’m sure calm and sanity will return when all of these officers desert our roads. It shall be mission accomplished!!n