Right of way doesn’t justify impunity
It is high time the concerned authorities clarified, for the umpteenth time which dignitaries have right of way. The high level of self-importance in our society today has caused many to assume they are Very Important Persons (VIPs).
There have been several complaints lately of vehicles being knocked or scratched by convoy vehicles of high-ranking officials, and to think that this goes on continuously despite these reports is rather disturbing. It shows how impunity has been normalised.
We have seen a number of these “dignitaries” sending people scampering off roads as they drive through.
Deep down they know, nothing would be done to them. The victim is even lucky if they don’t first disembark to give you a thorough beating.
The current traffic situation is already a nightmare itself. A traveller needs about 40 minutes to an hour to get through a 1.3km stretch. Many report losing on average, two hours in transit to and from work.
It is high time the concerned authorities clarified, for the umpteenth time which dignitaries have right of way.
The high level of self-importance in our society today has caused many to assume they are Very Important Persons (VIPs).
What we know so far is that, Section 123 of Traffic and Road Safety Act, 1998, gives the right of way to emergency vehicles defined as “a motor vehicle, trailer or engineering plant for the purpose of the police, ambulances, motor vehicles of armed forces and such other vehicles that may be designated by the minister by a statutory order”.
The President’s convoy is listed under emergency vehicles along with the Vice President, Speaker, Deputy Speaker and Prime Minister.
Others include visiting dignitaries, and lately, an increasing number of senior government officials whose identity one can only guess at by type of car, licence plates, and logos.
However, some vehicles with civilian number plates have also been sighted pushing other road users off the road.
If this were the kind of behaviour exhibited by the “dignitaries” on the road, how then would you expect a bodaboda rider to observe traffic rules?
Whereas they have the right of way, some civility should be exercised while at it.
The latest publicised case was of a one Andy Kristan Agaba, who tweeted Sunday evening, “A minister’s vehicle knocked mine while I was stationary in traffic, in my lane. They didn’t stop to apologise or offer to repair my car. The military on the escort vehicle banged my car and shouted insults as they passed. How do I seek justice?”
How many more of these should we witness before the concerned authorities pronounce themselves?
From: As published Monitor Publications