UGANDA has deployed undercover police on all highway bus routes including the Kampala-Kigali route.
The country’s Inspector General Police, Gen. Kale Kayihura, has said the measure is aimed at reducing accidents arising from reckless driving.
“We are going to put undercover police all the highways. If necessary we shall even put plain cloth policemen,” Kayihura told a news conference in Kampala on Christmas Eve.
The police chief added: “The undercover police will do two things; first, they will be checking if a driver is over-speeding or overloading. But also they will check on compromise; the counter intelligence on our own personnel because there is also that problem.”
Hundreds of innocent lives have in the recent past claimed in numerous accidents especially along Kampala-Kigali particularly during end-of-year festive period.
In particular, buses belonging to Jaguar Company have been involved in fatal accidents in the last three consecutive years, in which tens of lives have perished. In the latest accident, on December 18, a Jaguar bus swerved off the road at Nyahinga, Ntungamo district in Uganda, killing three people- one of them a Rwandan businesswoman and injuring 20 others.
Kayihura said the driver was alleged to have been asleep as he drove.
“We are going to invest heavily in information gathering and counter measures. Even with taxis we are going to invest (in preventive measures) quiet a bit more because we have tried other measures but they are not delivering results. We are going to be very ruthless on this reckless and careless driving. We shall not just sit back,” Kayihura warned.
“We want everybody to stand warned that if you do not become disciplined on these roads we cannot accept that you become a danger to the rest of the travelling public. We can’t accept. It’s too much,” he added.
He said in the last two weeks accidents had risen by 63 per cent compared to a similar period in November.
Kayihura said despite increasing their capacity to deal with traffic offences, drivers still behaved irresponsibly. “We have increased the capacity and vigilance but we have a problem with the way drivers continue to behave.”
“The main causes (of accidents) are over-speeding, reckless driving and driving under the influence of alcohol, and in the case of drivers of public services vehicles fatigue wears them out. These drivers are overworked by the owners and operators of the buses. Money is valued more than life,” the police chief said. No accidents had been reported by press time on such highways yesterday.