LILONGWE-(MaraviPost)-Most of Malawi’s police roadblocks have turned into a breeding grounds for traffic personnel to cash-in heavily from motorists, and defeating the main purpose of the checkpoints.
The primary purpose of roadblocks is to protect life and property; they are also geared to treat the public with the courtesy they deserve. But the case is currently different.
This has prompted Inspector General (IG) of Police Lextern Kachama, orderthe removal of some roadblocks that are infected with personnel that seek bribes or harass motorists.
Kachama ordered the removal of roadblocks at Domasi in Zomba and Mpingu in Lilongwe, where road users are said to be at the mercy of corrupt police officials.
A snap-check in the capital Lilongwe, disclosed that a number of roadblocks have also been removed; this includes a roadblock between Area 49 and Area 25, and another one between Kanengo Industrial Area and Area 30 Police headquarters.
The IG could neither confirm nor deny to our sister paper the Weekend Nation when he was asked about the reasons for some traffic police personnel, who conduct security checks at the roadblocks, being removed, was due to their alleged soliciting of bribes.
Kachama assured the public that his office was conducting an assessment of the effectiveness of the frequent roadblocks.
The police chief added that the assessment aims to tighten laws to ensure that the barricades are serving the intended purposes.
“The removal of the roadblocks is not only as a result of complaints of harassment or officials receiving bribes, but also, to serve the public better.
“Those that will be found strategically ill-placed, will be shifted to more tactical locations or closed down altogether,” assured Kachama.
Of late, there have been a number of occasions whereby driving on the Blantyre-Lilongwe M1 Road without insurance or a certificate of fitness (COF), easily bribed leads to traffic officials seeking a bribe.
Malawi is said to be the only country in southern Africa with a lot of roadblocks, and which serve no purpose, apart from acting as a bribe-inducer.
Even the Parliamentary Committee on Transport and Public Works, is concerned with the increase in the number of roadblocks on some roads; this prompted it to discuss the matter with the the Department of Road Traffic and Safety Services (DRTSS) for remedial action.
The Committee is also not happy with the DRTSS decision to hike spot fines and mete out stiff punishment to road users in the name of controlling escalating cases of road accidents in the country.