Editor's Comment

Obey directive on roadblocks

THAT some traffic police officers are back on the streets mounting illegal roadblocks despite the ban goes to show how deep-rooted corruption was, and probably still is, in the section.
As they say, old habits die hard. Some of our officers can’t admit that things have changed and there is a new way of doing things.
Officers involved in mounting illegal roadblocks should know better that following orders from superiors is not an option but it is something they need to respect and obey.
Motorists and citizens at large are aware that the Minister of Home Affairs and Internal Security, Jack Mwiimbu, has not lifted his directive to halt roadblocks even in the midst of increasing traffic nuisances.
We understand the itching among some traffic police officers to get back to their routine on the streets, but their expression of boredom with other duties should not be done at the expense of bringing the name of the police service into disrepute.
Of course, officers sighted huddling at road junctions in some places cannot argue that they are just concerned about insanity among motorists because no orders have been made yet for them to resume mounting roadblocks.
Their conduct smacks of indiscipline and it is a recipe for confrontations with motorists, who understand that the ban is still in place.
It is good that Mr Mwiimbu has reminded the officers that nothing has changed since he made the directive in September last year.
“I am the one who gave out that directive and as far as I am concerned, there has been no reversal pertaining to instructions for the police not to mount roadblocks.
“What they need to do is put up security checkpoints due to escalation of criminal activities. Members of the public should pay attention to the name tag and man number to raise their complaint,” he said.
Officers should not provoke unnecessary jibes from citizens who, despite their complaints of corruption, value all what the police service does to maintain law and order.
Traffic police officers should not depart from Mr Mwiimbu’s directive so that people are not agitated into being confrontational whenever these law enforcers are seen in townships.
As the minister says, the police need to be innovative and find other ways of regulating traffic instead of just relying on roadblocks.
Roadblocks were a conduit of corruption as some officers were more concerned about collecting bribes from erring motorists than ensuring sanity on the roads.
It is a shame that some officers still want to engage in illegal activities when efforts are being made by Government and the police command to restore proper flow of traffic on the roads.
This is a perfect moment for police officers to show integrity in the absence of interference from political cadres.
We had become accustomed to seeing traffic police officers being roughed up by cadres on the streets, a situation which made people to conclude that cadres were more powerful than the police.
We understand that there are motorists who don’t want to follow traffic rules but the police should not aid such conduct by being the first ones to ask for bribes.
The more officers stay away from the idea of mounting roadblocks, the better for the good image of the police service.
While we notice with concern the disregard by some officers of the minister’s directive, we also caution motorists not to take the ban as latitude to break traffic rules with impunity.
This behaviour among some motorists leads to avoidable accidents and it is often innocent people who die.
Motorists should not only raise alarm about police presence on the streets in this time of the ban on roadblocks, but they should be responsible enough to control themselves without attracting the attention of the police.
Police officers may have genuine reasons to intervene in certain situations, especially among unruly bus drivers, but they should not be misunderstood that they are mounting roadblocks.
We have seen traffic police officers continuing to attend to road accidents and this should be commended. Their presence on the roads should not be condemned in totality because we still need them to maintain law and order, anyway.

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