For all the talk of Rwanda making strides toward becoming the region’s ICT hub, the Rwanda National Police (RNP) is one of the institutions at the head of the pack.
The folks at Kacyiru have embraced IT and are using it to improve service delivery.
They have set up a website with all the relevant information including the popular online application and access of results for those wishing to acquire driving permits. Of late the police has adopted the habit of relaying vital information by sending text messages to people’s phones.
At first I found the messages a little irritating especially when the ones about driving permits especially when I was seated uncomfortably in an old taxis (now christened Nyakatsi). Sometimes I think those who apply for these permits should leave their contacts so that they get these texts alone. All the same, I commend them for embracing new technologies.
Through such an initiative, I recently received a message calling for my participation in activities to mark the road safety week that started on June 6th, 2011.
As a writer, I see no better way to participate than through highlighting the same cause using this column.
When I got the text from RNP, I thought about the school kids who cross busy streets daily.
This calls for them to be street smart or else they will get knocked down by speeding cars or the now increasingly careless motorists.
I remember being practically taught to cross the road by our teachers who always took us at the road side—they wanted to make sure we all understood what they said. More importantly, we were cautioned never to run while crossing the road.
This is because you could stumble and fall.
Today, I’m glad to see guides helping children to cross busy roads in Kigali. The increased number of Zebra Crossings has made crossing roads swift during peak hours.
However, there are many spots in Kigali and other parts of the country where this luxury of a guide may not exist. That is why it is important for the police to make an effort to pass on road safety tips to school children in their schools.
In this way, children will be in a better position to cross safely without the need of a guide. I have seen the police visiting schools for seminars on topics like drug abuse. They should do the same for road safety.
On the other hand, motorists also need to slow down when driving nearing Zebra Crossings. At some sections speed bumps may also help to reduce road accidents.
Children should not just be taught how to cross roads but also made to understand the different road signs and what they mean.
Many people wrongly assume that road signs are only relevant for drivers. Such perceptions need to be corrected and there is no better place to do so than in schools.