“Minister’s cars should not be given special treatment during traffic jam”- Govt

Ministers’ vehicles should not be accorded special treatment to beat traffic jam, state minister for transport Aggrey Bagiire has said.

The minister wondered where his colleagues and other ordinary Ugandans got lead security vehicles from to guarantee them right of way.

“The law designates me to give out lead cars. As the officer in charge, I do not have a lead car because I want to live by example. However, I see some people with lead cars. As ministers, we do not have right of way,” Bagiire said.

The minister was yesterday speaking at the second road safety summit organized by Vivo Energy Uganda at Sheraton Kampala Hotel. The summit was called to discuss the road safety report of 2018, draw plans and commit to reducing road carnage.

Bagiire’s remarks followed concerns over the rising number of government officials with lead cars, which the Police Director for Traffic and Road Safety, Dr. Chris Kasiima, questioned.

Kasiima noted that although some VIPs got back-up security vehicles following threats to their lives, vehicles acquired for that purpose should drive behind the minister’s official car.

“Let all of us suffer in traffic jam because all of us are Ugandans. Only a few people have right of way. Where did this long list of people with lead cars come from?” Kasiima asked.

According to Kasiima, the proposed Traffic and Road Safety Amendment Bill of 2019 should clearly define an emergency.

“A China-bound traveler drives at breakneck speed to Entebbe Airport and when we stop him, he says emergency. If you miss a flight, are Ugandans going to die? What kind of emergency is that?” he asked.

“I recommend that sirens be abolished in the city and lead cars be a reserve for the President and a few people,” he said.

The Minister for Kampala, Beti Kamya, who said she was one of those marked highly risky and accorded security vehicles, admitted that her security personnel breaks traffic regulations. She said when she talked to them about it, she was told that their training emphasizes ‘security of principle’.

“Police vehicles are the worst traffic offenders in Kampala. I always tell my security personnel that I do not see a crisis that makes us drive on the wrong side of the road,” Kamya said.

She revealed that the Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) is working on an ordinance that will regulate bodaboda cyclists in Kampala. If passed, it will designate stages, dress code, and area of operation.

This was after Kasiima said the biggest percentage of accidents in Kampala are caused by bodabodas. For sanity to prevail in the city, Kasiima recommended that at most 1,000 bodabodas should operate in the Central Business District. The traffic boss also suggested that bus and taxi parks should also be moved out of the city to reduce congestion.

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Lukwago Joseph grew up in a newspaper family, and rumor has it that instead of playing the guitar in his infancy, his parents put a reporter’s notebook and a pen next to him shortly after he turned born eight years. Before becoming editor of UGANDANZ, Lukwago was a parliament news editor for WBS TV. He joined UGANDANZ in July 2018, A few months after the company launched. Lukwago also spent five years as a freelance reporter, where he covered reporting for the highest bidder, intelligence, foreign policy, and Ugandan police. Lukwago graduated from Makerere University in 2008 with a B.A. in Journalism and worked on his college newspaper.