East Africa transport sector should learn from Rwanda

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Road accidents claim many lives in East Africa, mainly during festive seasons. Many other people are maimed for life.

The very interesting thing is that, most of these accidents could have been avoided.

In Uganda and Kenya, transport sector seems to be at war with itself, to the extent that public transport like Matatus and motorcyclists, are notorious for over-loading and speeding when traffic police are deployed in these cities.

What matters most to the Matatu and motorcycles crew is money; Human life comes secondary. Many ways, the crew go far by demanding transport fare before passengers take their seats.

In East Africa, accidents are due to the fact of carelessness, where drivers ignore road signs and traffic rules. Two options are our propositions to be taken by the East Africans in favour of their lives and for the dignity of their countries.

One, there should be concerted effort by all; passengers should boycott vehicles that speed, overload and poorly maintained.

Governments of East African should step-up against bribes and corruption mainly in traffic police for the love of the citizens. The police officer who exchanges human life for $1.2, he doesn’t only lower his dignity but also reduces himself to the uniformed beggar.

Actuary, regional police need reforms to serve the interest of the citizen not few people who want to enrich themselves with cash as citizens perish in accidents that many times can be avoided.

In Rwanda police officers who are caught in bribes are detained, charged and even declared unfit from the force. Also in this tiny country of Rwanda compared to the neighbours, seat belts are compulsory, and when drivers avoid them are sanctioned to fines.

This is a country where over-speeding, heavy loading and other related vices are exposed to heavy fines.

In contrary, Tanzania has implemented a number of transport development and maintenance programs and reforms aimed at enhancing the provision of an efficient, cost-effective and safe transport system in the country but little has changed to the common mwanainchi who uses public matatus.

Rwanda National Police strictness on values and professionalism has earned the force much trust from the citizens, and reputation.

Corruption and bribes and other related vices are always discouraged, and this has proven to be working since during festive season, only a few accidents were registered in Rwanda.

What appears to be funny in Burundi highways, one would think that traffic rules don’t exist at all and traffic police officers have never existed in the midst of armed force.    

Though, we don’t want to claim that Rwanda police is holly and corruption free but, Rwanda’s quest for professionalism in police force has helped transport sector in the country to remain stable and focusing on serving the public interest than serving wealth.

Rwanda’s government, in partnership with private transport sector unions to set public fare tariffs have criticized by many claiming to be government’s hand to control the private business but, the move has helped the public from exploitation of the crew against citizens and respect passengers rights.

Our recommendations are that, East African countries should be learning from each other to have a better working system that serves the people.

The East Africa transport sector should learn from Rwanda to cab the losses of lives when it can be avoided.

This post has already been read 21225 times!



  1. shadrack lewa

    January 11, 2011 at 12:09 PM

    Thanks for the editorial of the Great Lakes voice for highlighting this transport menance,many people here in our country Kenya have lost there loved ones,friends and relatives due to road accidents.
    The passenges plights here are seems not to important when come to transport issues,over speeding,over loading and breaking of the highway code is notorious by many pessangers vehicle.
    We experince many accidents during the holidays where many hardworking citizens are travell to there respective homes to meet with there relatives,normal drives are in a harry to load and offload passenges between two points regardless of there fatige.
    The dangarous roads being the Kenya highways where bribe of police and floating of trafiic rules are common subjects.we need to copy our brothers from Rwanda to practice proffessionalism in this sector in order to reduce a ccidents and respect the traffic rules(Highway code),i would say congratulation Rwanda police for observing traffic rules and practise proffessinalism in there highways.
    Lets all east africa countries emulate Rwanda style of controlling the transport sector so as to a void a ccidents in the future.Police should be vigilant for those who are found of breaking the law on our roads.

  2. Steve Smith

    April 24, 2011 at 3:34 AM

    Our son Chris Smith has been missing since Dec 26, 2010
    he was headed by bus or other transportation to Rwanda from South Africa, then up to Egypt…if anyone matching his description is dead or hurt…PLEASE let us know.
    Chris is 5’10”, 175 lbs. dark wavy hair, wears a short beard, green eyes
    Thank you,
    Steve and Debi Smith

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