Home » General » Open Letter to New ZRP Traffic Boss [column]

MADAM Elsie Mujanga, time does fly indeed. Not many days ago, you assumed reins to the big office of a vital national police placement. It is hardly believable that you’re a little more than 100 days old heading the key police traffic office.

Which means you are due for your first performance assessment?

Yours is a fundamental public office liable to scrutiny so mine and other voices are entitled to heckle you and to voice our objective opinions — friendly and angry – on the perceived good or bad performance of your senior office.

Your activities and decisions directly affect every Zimbabwean personally my family and this regular driver. At a time like this, as the noises about road safety and the deaths too, steadily spike, I wanted us to faithfully take stock of how you have fared thus far and what your current performance promises in the future.

But first things first: Traffic Friday is troubled at the heartbreaking demise of toddler Neil Mutyora, who has untimely passed after being fatefully caught up in the line of fire, of the now regular, traffic police-kombi skirmishes.

To me, his awful death represents more irrefutable evidence of how cheap life is in Africa. As all the accusing and conflicting arguments fly around, let’s never forget that a flesh-and-blood human being has needlessly lost his right to life. Imagine the uproar and the swift consequences to small and big careers, if that travesty had occurred in, say, New Zealand or the UK?

May Neil Mutyora’s soul rest in peace. I pray it is the last such cheap death in preventable circumstances.

Traffic police should always work unimpeded, but in light of the disastrous modus operandi, fresh considerations must be given to the police’s enormously unpopular windscreen-smashing and spike-throwing methods which may have to be bettered.

An online Herald survey starkly reveals that the Mutyora case has been spectacularly bad PR for the police. Notwithstanding, Traffic Friday will never shower the retard kombi drivers with insincere glory.

Madam top cop, this column, Traffic Friday, fingers ever crossed, keenly waits to see how you, the Officer Commanding National Traffic, will deal a decisive and strategic body blow to the relentless road carnage. You seemingly have, several months on, no operable answer to the notoriety of kombis.

Since your assumption of duty, the unbelievable chaos continues un- abated. In fact, judging by events of recent days, the kombi infamy and disrespect for the traffic police has worsened. Under your direct watch! Is it business as usual in your lofty office Snr Asst Comm Mujanga?

The Easter death toll has progressively spiked, comparing the 2013 numbers to this year’s. That should not be the case. Prior to the holiday, we were warned that traffic police, would be “out in full force”. It means your full-force thing is not working. The risen Easter toll interrogates the efficacy of that policing method, whatever you name it. That is an unclean stain on your CV madam.

I recall, in my congratulatory public letter to you, humbly echoing that yours was a burdensome and time-sensitive task. Your mission reminds me of one great school motto:”Tot Pacienda, Parum Factum” – indeed “so much to do, in so little time” declares the Prince Edward School slogan!

Please allow me to highlight a few heartfelt thoughts from my previous public letter to you, wherein I opined on certain vital matters expected of you to expeditiously tackle: “Your brief, as the commander of National Traffic, is clearcut … Zimbabwe has a sobering Road Traffic Accident (RTA) crisis, painting a sorry picture of widespread driving lawlessness. I believe that your demanding assignment is to provide intelligent team leadership and enthusiastically monitor the consistent execution of operations by your subordinates.

Your prime target, indisputably, is halting the utter carnage that rules-and-reigns today. No point in reminding you that commuter omnibus drivers (many of them too young and inadequately licensed) invent most of the RTA trouble… ” Do you remember that ominous warning Madam Mujanga?

Traffic Friday continued, “… please add to your challenges, pedestrians that unthinkingly wander all over the road, disregarding traffic light signals, crossing the road wherever and howsoever… Sadly, the very simple act of crossing the road, in Zimbabwe, can turn out to be a deadly endeavour, but it need not be so.

“… At the heart of curbing the carnage on Zimbabwean roads are two critical players the driver and the cop. The driver has generally shown he doesn’t want to play ball, so that leaves the cop with her famed long arm of the law, to impose approved behaviour.

Deadly road crime cannot be tolerated any longer, not under your oversight madam. It is astonishing that the whole might of the police has seemingly ignored the infamous Avondale-City-Avondale pirate taxis and many other notorious traffic hotspots, to the absolute detriment of order on the roads

“Well, Madam Mujanga, here we are, still talking about the notorious illegal commuter pick-up hotspots in the city with no positive change whatsoever. Under your fresh watch top cop!

“How you will deal with the internal corruption is your baby … Just one rotten apple can spoil a whole basket of good fruit.”

Madam, Traffic Friday is pissed off by MOST of your traffic cops they publicly act too buddy-buddy with commuter omnibus drivers. It is strange to see a policemanwoman lovingly holding hands with a kombi driver, laughing out loudly like long-lost friends, yet at most times, the kombi and its driver are a crime scene!

“The fishy business of a kombi conductor hurriedly jumping out and clandestinely transacting with the police behind his vehicle smells of rotten intent. In many police precincts around the world, cops serve you seated in your vehicle… Such clean cops address you boldly, loudly and respectfully proudly exercising state authority, without fear or favour… ”

What practicable measures have you instituted to neutralise the noisy touts that brazenly hang in numbers onto the back or open door of a moving, passenger-ferrying commuter omnibus? Not much hey, judging from what we witness daily in Harare. How does your office uncaringly tolerate the authority and dignity of the police being dared so publicly, with little consequence to the sick kombi lawbreakers? Masikati machena!

Kombi crews have audaciously kidnapped and even killed cops in their line of lawful work, if my memory serves me right. They have downgraded their wickedness into killing “members of the public” right in the CBD, and yet you police lovingly slap the evil- doers on the wrists?

I fully agree with renowned journalist Joram Nyathi, in his no-holds-barred Sunday Mail article that it was time to take the cop-kombi fight (that’s what it is) to another level. But can you Madam austerely lead that? So far, I am not convinced. Remember, “So much to do, so little time!”…

(This letter concludes next Friday.)

Holidays or no holidays let’s keep the driving ‘happy, happy!’

The author moderates Road Safety Africa, on www.facebook.comRoadSafetyAfrica, an interactive community page that solicits ideas to curb road traffic accidents in Zimbabwe and Africa.nbsp

Source : The Herald