A delegation from Uganda Police Force (UPF) has commended Rwanda National Police (RNP) for enforcing traffic safety by working closely with commercial motorcyclists through their cooperatives.
The four-member delegation, paid a courtesy call to the Inspector General of Police, Emmanuel K. Gasana, on May 25, before visiting the Rwanda Cooperative Agency (RCA), Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority (RURA), Kigali Bus services (KBS), Gishari Motor vehicle Inspection Centre and the City of Kigali, on May 26.
Assistant Inspector General of Police, Dr Steven Kasiima, the head of Traffic Department at UPF, said he was impressed by the overall proper management of commercial motorcyclists in Rwanda and intends to implement similar strategies back home to reduce accidents and crimes caused by commercial motorcyclists.
“I am impressed by how people running the motorcycle business are managed in this country. This is a very big achievement because in Uganda and some other countries, this business has brought about very many traffic challenges that have been difficult to control,” said Dr Kasiima.
“One of the recommendations we shall make to our government, is that such associations be established in Uganda, in order to promote community policing and partnership with commercial motorcyclists aimed at promoting road safety.”
Ugandan Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda recently said 95 percent of the road accidents could be prevented if people changed their behaviour and followed the road traffic regulations.
The head of Accident and Emergency at Mulago hospital, Dr Alex Bangirana told ChimpReports recently that boda boda injuries account for up to 50 percent of the road traffic crashes.
According to the annual crime and Police report, 18,368 crashes were recorded in 2013, while 19,870 were recorded in 2012.
According to the study carried out by researchers from Uganda Christian University and Makerere University (2014), involving 1,600 boda boda riders in Kawempe and central divisions of Kampala, 55 percent had ever been involved in an accident.
The research also revealed that it costs up to Shs 7m to treat cyclists with serious injuries and that the economic burden of motorcycle accidents in Uganda was estimated at US$3.6 million (about Shs 9bn) annually.
Kasiima said that once cooperatives for commercial motorcyclists are established in Uganda, it will become easier for UPF to regulate their activities and also address the challenge of criminality that the motorcyclists have been engaging in.
Gilbert Habyarimana, the Cooperative Inspection Division Manager at RCA, commended RNP for reaching out to motorcyclists with positive messages and for ensuring that the business is conducted professionally.
“It is a positive element to see countries in the region learning best practices from each other. This is one area that Rwanda offers a great example in ensuring that commercial motorcyclists respect road rules and also do not engage in criminal activities like theft and murder,” he said.
“The cooperatives are very helpful in providing information about motorcyclists that are suspected in wrongdoing, while they also instill internal disciplinary measures that prevent their members from breaching traffic rules.”
He told the visiting delegation that RCA’s success in managing motorcycle cooperatives relies largely on the body’s partnership with other government institutions particularly, RNP.
Rwanda Cooperative Agency is a public institution charged with regulating and promoting economic and social welfare, as well as other aspects that are presented by the general public.
Research also indicates that Uganda is among the seven African countries responsible for 64 percent of all road deaths. Others are Nigeria, South Africa, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
In 2010, the United Nations, General Assembly proclaimed 2011-2020 the ‘Decade of Action for Road Safety.’