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‘Introduce ganja tests for drivers’

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‘Introduce ganja tests for drivers’

As 185 drivers are netted in operation Fika Salaama

 

(with shades) Commissioner Traffic Emodinga Anthon, JB Ssejjembe Works Minister Ntege Azuba at Mpigi check point – Photo Musisi Lwanga

Over 185 drivers have been arrested by Police along Kampala-Masaka road in an Operation code named “FIKA SALAAMA” meant to reduce the high toll of road accidents especially on Uganda’s roads.

But some passengers say police needs to go further and start testing drivers who consume drugs, more so marijuana popularly known as Ganja.

Polly Namaye, the Uganda Police Deputy spokesperson told a news conference this week that they had arrested 185 drivers along Kampala-Masaka road in just one week (since August 11, 2016). Namaye attributed the high number of people falling foul to traffic rules due to drink driving, lack of driving license, and driving vehicles in dangerous mechanical conditions, careless driving, speeding, and overtaking unnecessarily.

She also noted that dangerous loading, driving without a badge {bus for drivers}, lack of third party license and interference.

Traffic Police’s Road Safety Department in collaboration with the Ministry of Works and Transport, Uganda National Road Authority (URA) embarked in the wake of unprecedented levels of road carnage along Masaka road that have seen over 200 people perish on the highway since the beginning of 2016.

Works Minister Engineer Monica Azuba Ntege said: “This operation is intended to reduce accidents and promote safety on the road and reminding road users of their roles in observing traffic and road safety. For that matter we are going to have mobile checkpoints at different points of this highway.”

But Namaye said the operation will be expanded to other hot spots on other highways such as the Kampala-Jinja highway, Kampala-Bombo highway.

Namaye warned all drivers of passenger vehicles to ensure that they acquire all the relevant traffic requirements such as driving permits (copy of a driving permit) or provisional ones.

However these 185 suspects some have already been taken to courts of law”

Drivers speak out

Abdul Kaweesa, a taxi driver plying the Rakai-Kampala route welcomed the operation but urged the police to expedite or decentralize the process of obtaining driving permits.

“This operation is good but also traffic police should bring in a new strategy of publishing driving permits because many people on this road use counterfeit driving permits because the processes of attaining driving permits is harder than that of passport.

Amil Kabugo a driver along the Masaka-Kampala road wants the police to go beyond alcohol checks among drivers to also start checking drug abuse especially the use of marijuana.

“This operation is good but Traffic police should also check the soberness of drivers because they are only checking alcohol which can be seen by even normal people and refuse to board that taxi. But it’s very hard to detect ganja drivers and these are the masters of over-speeding and over taking unnecessarily causing accidents,”

Passengers speak on the operation

Annette Nansubuga a resident of Masaka town said: “When our Traffic police start this operation our taxi drivers now have discipline and we are confident of reaching safely. I now travel more frequently to Kampala because the risks have reduced than before.

Nansubuga also appealed to police to introduce tests on drug abusers particularly for marijuana and mira locally known as mairungi.

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