Police bans use of siren cars for unauthorized persons

By Charles Etukuri

Some of these included the Minister of Internal Affairs Gen. Jeje Odongo, NRM Secretary General Kasule Lumumba

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The Inspector General of Police Gen. Kale Kayihura on Saturday banned the usage of vehicles with sirens, roof lights and right of way for Government, security and private individuals who had not been cleared by the Minister of works.

Kayihura also directed all government, security and private companies who have installed sirens and roof lights without authorization to immediately remove them.

He also directed traffic police to impound cars, arrest and prosecute drivers of such vehicles. The Commandant of the Very Important Persons Protections Unit was also directed to formulate standard driving procedures that would be used by drivers of lead cars when escorting dignitaries.

Addressing the media at the Police headquarters in Naguru, the Police Spokesperson Andrew Felix Kaweesi said that Gen Kayihura had noted with serious concern the misuse of vehicles that had been fitted with sirens and roof lights to create right of way, which is an abuse and had been done with disregard and this had not only caused jams but also accidents on the major highways. The directive he said takes immediate effect.

Kaweesi quoted section 123 (5) of the 1998 Traffic and Road Safety Act, which provided what type of vehicles/cars that have the right of way or what you may call convoy and these included: the Police vehicles on emergency responses, police vehicle lead cars, Fire brigade, Ambulances, and the military motor vehicles of armed forces. “But then this must be on emergency,” Kaweesi insisted.

Kaweesi said other categories included in the law were vehicles on the President’s Convoy, vehicles on the Vice Presidents Convoy, Chief Justice and the Deputy Chief Justice vehicles, vehicles of the Speaker and the Deputy speaker and finally vehicles in the Convoy of the Prime Minister.

“Any vehicle that doesn't fall within this category should seek authorization from the Minister of works in accordance with the provision of the Traffic and Road Safety Act,” Kaweesi said. He said this included funeral home cars, bullion vans and cultural leaders’ convoys.

The ban comes in the wake of an uproar after some high profile politicians and cultural leaders used their influence to illegally acquire lead cars. Some of these included the Minister of Internal Affairs Gen. Jeje Odongo, NRM Secretary General Kasule Lumumba, Leader of Opposition in Parliament Winnie Kiiza, Buganda Prime Minister Charles Peter Mayiga among others.

According to the traffic act, an offender is liable on conviction to a fine of not less than fifteen currency points and not exceeding sixty currency points or imprisonment of not less than six months and not exceeding two years or both.