When the New Dawn Administration just formed government, Home Affairs & Internal Security Minister Hon. Jack Mwimbu issued a decree outlawing any unnecessary checkpoints or roadblocks by the traffic police save for the permanent ones along the highway for security reasons. Of course, everyone breathed a sigh of relief and applauded the minister for finally unyoking the albatross around their necks that had been causing a lot of angst.
Roadblocks are nothing but a nuisance! Apart from causing unnecessary traffic jams on our already choked roads, they are fertile breeding grounds for corruption…….conduits for corruption! Must we honestly accept corruption as part of our livelihood?
Anyway, this directive was only observed for a while as the cops studied the situation. Would they be bursted while engaging in such illegalities? Would any of them be arraigned for corruption? As soon as the dust settled down, the police came back full throttle and devised other strategies of extracting bribes from motorists.
While the police in the Copperbelt have resorted to cruising around towns harassing motorists as they attempt to pounce on any suspected defective vehicles, their counterparts in Lusaka simply hibernate at the traffic lights to waylay would be offenders, and sometimes trap them at roundabouts.
Why do the traffic police continue to defy a government directive? Or is it a clear case of insubordination?
We’ve an answer……the traffic police simply share or chew the spoils if you like with their superiors, hence the flourishing of such activities! Reliable sources inform us the guys actually have what they call ‘ichilimba’ – a saving scheme whereby they’ve set aside specific days to collect money for themselves and their superiors including those in the highest echelons of the command.
While their counterparts in regular duties have to suffer through mundane meals of katapa and bitter impwa much of the time, it’s always T/bone for them. Money isn’t a problem for them. They are able to send their kids to private schools and boast of admirable fleets of cars and mansions everywhere! It is such inequality in police camps that start tempting some cops assigned to regular duties to start sharing their uniforms and ammunition with bandits so that they can make extra income at the end of the day.
If the New Dawn Administration is serious about nipping corruption in the bud, this is where they are expected to prove their mettle.
We are challenging the new Inspector General of Police and indeed the Anti Corruption Commission to consider taking keen interest in this matter. We can’t have a situation whereby institutionalized corruption should become the norm with men and women in uniform as the key players.
Prince Bill M. Kaping’a