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Motorcades inconveniencing the public

Filed under: Special Comments |
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By Nondo Mwananshiku
Ruto is setting a very distinct and progressive standard in Kenya, away from the mediocrity that we seem to be entrenching here. He sounds like a president who is taking charge of affairs and stumping his authority on governance. You can easily notice that this is a guy who has decided to dispense with “business as usual” party-driven politics and is trying to drive the country on a new trajectory where the Kenyan citizen, regardless of political belief, affiliation or status , comes first, and is being placed at the centre of planning. At least, on paper, that is how he is sounding. The reality may well be different.
It is interesting that President Ruto was addressing his stern message to the Service Chiefs, while here in Zambia these service chiefs seem to have just gone amock, “drunk” with power and official-dom.
They seem to have been completely inebriated by trappings of the office. Have you seen how on a daily basis, motoring citizens are being subjected to inconvenience and abuse by intermittent motor-cades, criss-crossing, and ferrying senior uniformed officers of one type or other? Motorists rushing to work are rudely pushed off the road to make way, or are made to wait, at times for 10 minutes or more, in order to fast-track these “important” uniformed officials. If it is not vehicle registration number AB 1, 2 or 3, it is ZAF 1, 2 or 3, or ZNS 1, 2, or 3 or ZP 1, 2 or 3. As if not to be out-done, I have noticed that the last few days even the prison’s fellow, with his CSC 1 has joined the fray.
Just this evening, at 18h15 on Addis Ababa drive, while driving home, I and other motorists eager to go home after a tiring work day, were forcefully pushed off the road by the CS 1 motor-cade, which had crossed the island to our side of the road and was driving in the opposite direction instead, in the process almost causing us an accident.
Now these might sound like insignificant observations to make, but, as a motorist, I always ask myself the following questions every time that I endure this kind of abuse on the road.
(1) Why for instance, should a managing director of a manufacturing company that provides employment and contributes to the GDP of this country, be delayed for 10 minutes on the road at 07h30, in order to allow a Correctional Services Commissioner, who is just going to work to count inmates, to pass?
(2) And why should motorists still be inconvenienced by being stopped, for these motor-cades to be fast-tracked, even at 18h15, when all these uniformed top-brass are just on their way home to rest, after knocking-off?
(3) What exactly is the risk that these officials are being protected from, which would occur, if their vehicles are driven normally without inconveiniencing the citizenry without blurting sirens and or periodically forcefully shunting us off the roads.
(4) Is there any assessment that is done to quantify, in economic terms the loss incurred by the Zambian economy, when you aggregate the total time lost in those 10 minute stoppages by individual citizens rushing to work?
(5) Why has the country become so pre-occupied with obsessing about importance or trappings of these public offices, such that we even lose sight of the fact that these are positions of servitude meant to serve and answerable to the people, and not the other way round, where people begin to pander to them or pay homage to their occupants.
(6) Are these motor-cades, and their existence provided for constitutionally and are they operating within presidential over-sight and approval?
The decadence of unlawliness ( Yes! because that is what it translates to, if happening outside legal bounds) that mushroomed during the dreaded PF rule among their cadres, where they could run motorists off the road with impunity, it would appear still exists, except that it now seems to have graduated and now resides in official spaces.
As the president tackles the issue of expensive Toyota Land-Cruiser VX, he would also do well to also address this issue of these criss-crossing motor-cades that, like street-vending is “polluting” our roads and motor-ways.
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