Minister of Home Affairs and Internal Security, Atupele Muluzi, has told parliament that the Malawi Police Service has reduced the number of traffic police checks and deployed some of its personnel to street duties.
Muluzi told the House on Tuesday that the traffic police checks are now “strategically located” throughout the country and not at every 50 Km stretch of the road as it were in some parts of the country.
“As regards the issue of un-roadworthy vehicles, contributing to high level of road accidents, let me acknowledge that it is the role of the Malawi Police Service and the Road Traffic Directorate to enforce traffic laws in the country.
“Nevertheless, it is the role of the Road Traffic Directorate to issue certificates of fitness for motor vehicles,” said Muluzi.
The Minister nonetheless said police will continue to enforce traffic laws to ensure that only road worthy vehicles operate on the country’s roads to reduce road accidents.
He pointed out that, currently, the role of enforcing traffic laws is being constrained by inadequate resources such as breathalysers, traffic patrol vehicles and speed traps, among others.
MP for Rumphi West, Jacqueline Kouwenhoven (Independent) told the House that she experiences more traffic checks on the roads, saying most traffic officers are seen soliciting bribes.
“To me as a person driving on the road regularly, especially between Rumphi and Lilongwe, I do not see a decline in the number of traffic police on the roads. The notion is that the traffic police seem to have become a source of revenue collection and unfortunately to me it seems it is a strange way of engaging with the public whereby between Mzuzu and Lilongwe we can be stopped up to twelve times, seeing drivers engaging with the police and exchanging money,” she said and asked government to consider lowering the number of traffic police.
In his contribution, Peter Kumpalume MP for Blantyre West (DPP) said the reason that there are speed traps, especially at busy trading centres is to reduce accidents.
Said Kumpalume: “Unfortunately, we find that traffic officers are positioned after the trading centre. If the reason is to reduce road accidents, how does police officers’ positioned after the busy trading centres reduce accidents? Could the Minister assure us that he will do something about that?”
Muluzi said Malawi Police Service is reviewing its roadblock operations in order to improve their effectiveness.
“This will enable the Malawi Police Service to achieve effective execution of its mandate as required by law and the expectations of society,” said Muluzi.
Muluzi said statistics have shown that there has been a reduction by 11 per cent of road traffic incidences that were recorded from 2013/2014 and a further reduction that was recorded in the 2014/2015 Fiscal Year was from 1,324 to 1,178 cases.
“So, already, we have seen that there has been a reduction but of course these are figures that are not independent but certainly from our statistics, it has demonstrated that the traffic roadblocks do work in terms of prevention but certainly we will look into it since the Malawi Police Serve will be reviewing its operations.
Muluzi said he had “taken note” of lawmakers concern and suggestions.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :