Uganda: Gen. Kayihura Wants Killer Drivers to Be Charged With Murder

The Inspector General of Police, Gen Kale Kayihura, has told traffic police to prefer manslaughter charges against motorists, who cause accidents which lead to deaths.

Gen Kayihura said the manslaughter charges are punitive enough to bring errant motorists to order.

"The biggest cause of accidents is indiscipline on the road, over speeding and reckless driving... Police must be more mobile on motorcycles and vehicles.

They should use speed guns and deterrent punishment like charging these drivers with manslaughter due to their reckless driving," Gen Kayihura said in a media briefing at his office in Naguru on Wednesday.

Gen Kayihura's remarks come after a rise in fatal accidents on major roads especially Kampala-Masaka highway. More than 200 people have lost their lives and twice that number have survived with injuries in the last six months on Kampala-Masaka highway.

Most of the errant motorists, who cause fatal accidents, have been charged with offences of causing death through dangerous driving under section 108 of the Traffic and Road Safety Act of 1998 or Causing death through careless driving under section 109 of the same act.

The punishments under section 108 and 109 of the Traffic and Road Safety Act of 1998 is imprisonment not less than two years and not more than five years or a fine that ranges between Shs70,000 and Shs4m. The court may order the convict to compensate the family of the deceased.

Gen Kayihura said such light punishments are exacerbating indiscipline on the road. The punishment on conviction for manslaughter charges is life imprisonment, which Gen Kayihura said will deter motorists from careless driving. However, traffic officers choose to prefer traffic charge because they find them easier to prove in courts of law than manslaughter.

Gen Kayihura said they are procuring more speed guns to crack down on speeding.

The rules

Mr Michael Senyonjo, a road safety auditor, said the problem on Ugandan roads that connect one town to another is lack of islands that separate vehicles moving in oppose directions.

"For a road to be a highway, three conditions must be in place; there must be two or more lanes moving vehicles in the same direction, there must be a central reservation and motorists should be able to drive at the maximum legal speed. Given the above conditions, very few (highway) roads in Uganda qualify to be a highway or motorway," Mr Senyonjo said.

Lack of such roads are said to be increasing incidents of head-on crashes on Ugandan roads.

Source: The Monitor