The Zambian Roads & Highway Safety Group (ZRHSG) has accused some traffic police officers in Zambia of punishing motorists who refuse to pay bribes by blacklisting their vehicle number plates. The group has called for immediate action to address the issue, and it hopes that the newly appointed Inspector General of the Zambia Police, Graphel Musamba, will take swift action to clean up the traffic department.
The ZRHSG alleges that some traffic officers in Zambia are in the habit of stopping motorists at traffic lights and hidden places, demanding bribes. Those who refuse to pay are punished by having their vehicle number plates blocked and blacklisted on the Road Transport and Safety Agency (RTSA) online system, which results in higher road tax renewal fees.
The ZRHSG has identified traffic officers found at the ZICTA car park on the corner of Nationalist and Independence Avenue in Lusaka as the biggest culprits of this bad habit. The group is calling on the RTSA to modernize its online and fast-track court system so that traffic officers who maliciously send motorists to the fast-track courts are also included in the process as witnesses.
The Highway Safety Group is also appealing to the public to report any bad behavior by traffic police officers or send evidence of corruption on Zambian roads by these traffic cops. The group encourages the new Inspector General to set up regional toll-free numbers for the public to report such incidents.
The appointment of the new Inspector General comes at a time when Zambia’s highways and roads have seen increased activity of highway robbers and gangs that steal from the traveling public and transporters. Some of the gangs are believed to be clad in Zambia Police traffic uniforms, highlighting the need for urgent action to address the problem.