The increase of road traffic fees and fines by the Zambia Police will only worsen police corruption in the country, says Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) governance advisor Isaac Mwanza.
Mr Mwanza has advised Government to re-consider the recently-announced increased traffic offences fees and fines by the Zambia Police Service because the action had a net effect of increasing corruption among police officers.
“The motoring public has complained endlessly about our police officers collecting bribes from them for various traffic offences without such fines being receipted so that the money is remitted the Treasury. Government must appreciate that Zambia has a very weak mechanism to monitor the activities of traffic officers and it will be convenient for motorists to pay a bribe to police officers than be booked in by the police,” he said.
Mr Mwanza suggested that the Ministry of Finance should have considered this measure of increasing traffic fines and fees only after mechanisms had been put in place.
He said Zambia needed a surveillance system which would monitor the activities of traffic officers on the road and penalises motorists who would be found violating traffic laws without causing unnecessary inconvenience to commerce, passengers or other road users. Mr Mwanza alleged the current enforcement of the traffic regulations by traffic police were in violation of the law as vehicles were impounded even for infractions that did not require that such vehicles to be impounded.
“Police officers impound vehicles to force motorists to pay on the spot, even fines which, under current law could be deferred, that is why YALI notes with great concern that the increase in traffic fines and fees will only abet the crime of corruption among the police and motoring public. Government and the Treasury will not benefit but will have created an avenue for traffic officers to make their own money corruptly,” he said.
He expressed concern with the heavily increased number of roadblocks and check-points being mounted by Zambia Police, adding that those road blocks did not take into account the serious damage being done to the roads at their points.“Zambia’s roads have the appearance of a country under siege, with police road blocks every 50 to 100 kms on our trunk roads, and these road blocks do not serve any useful purpose in terms of security or road safety. We call upon the Minister of Home Affairs to immediately enforce his order, which he issued upon his appointment in January, to minimise if not simply eliminate the road blocks and to minimise the mounting of so-called check points whose main purpose is seen to be benefiting traffic officers,” he said.