Transport License Board, I disagree!

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Today in the New Vision, Page 2, its reported that the TLB of Ministry of Works, has withdrawn the Operating Licence of Gaagaa Buses, as a result of the fatal accident, early monday morning. I think this is absurd.

First of all, make no mistake, i sympathise with the families of the perished souls, and I do not in any way excuse any of the events (micro or otherwise) that would have led to such a tragedy.

We must agree, it was an accident.

First of all, it’s widely claimed that the driver of the ill-fated bus was overspeeding. There is NO such a thing as over-speeding. On any Section of the road, there are speed limits. You can go faster, or slower, and either of these can cause an accident. In this case, faster is also defined as speeding –  . It’s not possible, for you to accelerate faster than ” a speed greater than the legal limit”. All you will be doing is simply speeding, more and more.

Second, the article mentions how the Gaagaa Operators have been asked to send all their 40+ busses for inspection. I wonder, if the cause of the accident was (a non-existent phenomena) overspeeding, how is inspection of the busses going to change that? Looking for speed governors perhaps? If so, would that warrant withholding the operating license? Can’t the vehicle inspector instead make an impromptu search of ALL buses while they do their routes, to check for this? Coz if i was Gaagaa, and i live in Uganda, i can expect the usual knee-jerk reactions from Police (Remember seat-belts and taxi over-loading, huh?) and i would install them over-night.

So what part of this accident does the license withdrawal exactly address, and how does that make our roads much safer? Am also interested in the “findings” but more interested in the recommendations TLB and Traffic Police will make.

Traffic and Road Safety Commissioner, Dr. Steven Kasiima boasts that only vehicles bought by government are in good mechanical condition. I would like to refresh your memory on the small matter of CHOGM BMWs. I do hope you swallow your words.

He continues to go thru the rhetoric of mandatory inspection and pre-inspection, and how his department lacks the numbers. Clearly, I fail to understand why Uganda Police deems it fit to install Mambas at all Kampala Junctions but sees no value in training and recruiting road inspectors to ensure better road worthiness of vehicles.

He makes a rather sad confession – that only the Inspector of Vehicles can tell road-worthiness of a vehicle, despite the 530 traffic police men and women. Let me tell you something else sir, only a handful of these drive! That is why there is a clear distinction in how highway traffic police act, as compared to our friends in white, who only have, at best, a minute’s history and a pedestrian view of the car they are about to flag down.

If you do not drive, in Kampala, on a regular/daily basis, you lack the moral authority to apprehend drivers. You have no idea what it means to share a pot-holed road with 10 boda bodas, a charcoal laden truck, 5 matatus through a market place. You really have no idea whats its like for a bus to speed past you, and literary feel its momentum. And you have no idea how many times we try to keep our cars in good condition, only for the potholes to rip the life out of them.

Once again, i feel for the families that lost loved ones, but if these government departments are going to come out with knee-jerk reactions such as these, Ugandan drivers and commuters, lets face it, we are far from solving the road carnage problems.