Kale Kayihura orders traffic police officers off highways

Kampala- The Inspector General of Police, Gen Kale Kayihura, has ordered immediate removal of all traffic police officers deployed along the Kampala-Gulu-Nimule highway following increasing corruption by the police officers who extort bribes from motorists.
Gen Kayihura announced the move while he was meeting truck drivers in Kampala in a campaign to crackdown on corrupt traffic officers. He said traffic officers were more interested in extracting bribes from charcoal truck drivers than curbing reckless accidents.

Police also ordered the removal of all traffic road blocks on all highways.
Some of the traffic officers operating on the Kampala-Busia highway will be recalled for redeployment in other directorates.

New rules
The Director of Traffic and Road Safety, Dr Stephen Kasiima, said they had worked out a plan to reduce corruption by instituting new rules.

“No traffic officer will confiscate a driving permit from a motorist. This must stop today. If a person has committed a crime, he or she is either given an Express Penalty ticket or taken to the police station,” Dr Kasiima said.

He said confiscation of driving permits is not backed by any law in Uganda but it has been used by traffic police officers as a method to extract bribes from motorists.

He said traffic officers have also been stopped from removing number plates from vehicles that have broken down on the road.

Officers are known to pluck off number plates from vehicles and keep them until the drivers have paid them bribes.

Inter-section trucks will not be stopped by traffic police officers for any verification unless they have been found violating the traffic rules.

About last month, President Museveni said the many police check-points for trucks on highways affect the timely delivery of goods and generally hurt economies in the region.

CORRUPTION IN THE POLICE FORCE

The Uganda Police Force has been ranked the most corrupt institution in the country by various anti-corruption rating agencies. It is also among the top corrupt institutions in the East African region, according to Transparency International and Inspectorate General of Government reports.

Recently, President Museveni said traffic officers were extorting money from motorists instead of preventing road accidents.

Gen Kayihura said since the President’s complaint about corruption among traffic officers, the police instituted an intelligence team to establish the corruption networks in the traffic directorate.

Victims
“Intelligence reports indicate that truck drivers are the biggest victims of corruption by our traffic officers. This is why I asked to meet you to give me information about how we can stop corruption in this institution,” Gen Kayihura charged.

abagala@ug.nationmedia.com

SOURCE: Daily Monitor

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