KAMPALA - Police have launched a new era of traffic operations in Kampala metropolitan area aimed at arresting drivers with forged driving permits and impounding unroadworthy vehicles.
'Tembeya Salama Reloaded' is a renewal of the recent nationwide 'Tembeya Salama' and 'Fika Salaama' operations which were launched last year following the increase of road accidents along especially the Kampala-Masaka route, which claimed more than 200 lives and left twice as many injured within only six months.
According to the Kampala metropolitan traffic police commandant Norman Musinga, investigations indicate that there is a big number of active motorists with forged permits.
"This means they don't even qualify to get original driving permits for one reason or another. That's why they resort to criminality and we are not about to sit back watching them do that," he said.
'Culprits are many'
Besides forgeries, they are also arresting active motorists with expired driving permits, plus those with completely no license to drive.
"The culprits are very many, that is why many people have abandoned their vehicles in the middle of the roads. They are taking off but that will not acquit them. In fact the crimes will escalate rather than just being traffic offenses," said Musinga.
Unroadworthy vehicles are also being impounded and this time the penalties are tougher, said Musinga, adding that the renewed operation comes with new tactics, following reports that traffic regulations offenders were also changing tactics to escape the arm of law.
Recently, the director of traffic police in Uganda, Dr. Steven Kasiima met taxi drivers in Kampala and told them to be disciplined because indiscipline while on the road is not only harmful to them, but to the people they carry in their vehicles and other road users.
In another stakeholder's meeting held at Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) headquarters in Banda, executive director Allen Kagina emphasized the issue of discipline, saying that its reverse greatly impacts on roads by destroying them within a shorter period of time than were build for.
Meanwhile, Musinga told New Vision that passengers need to become vigilant, decline boarding any vehicle that clearly is not in a good state as well as asking drivers to show them their driving permit before the journey.
He said the operations will continue until there is sanity on Kampala roads, hence the ease in traffic jam and reduction in road accidents.
Mustapha Mayambala, the chairperson of the Uganda Transport Development Agency (UTRADA) told New Vision that police should clarify on the fact that the new Traffic and Road Safety Act came with a clause that made government to cancel all permits that had taken two years without being renewed by owners.
He said some drivers have been trying to process new driving permits but are being delayed by the bureaucracy in the process.
Mayambala however welcomes the 'Tembeya Salaama Reloaded' operations, saying that they should only avoid being violently conducted and manhandling of drivers should not be tolerated.
Musinga said that the number of drivers arrested and vehicles impounded will be communicated at the end of the week, because more than 17 police divisions in Kampala are conducting independent operations and the statistics can only be harmonized by the conclusion of the week.