Sierra Leone Telegraph: 17 July 2018:
Sierra Leone is among the countries in West Africa with the highest road traffic accidents. Every month at least six people die on the country’s roads.
The heavy cost of traffic congestion – caused by poorly and illegally parked vehicles, motorists habitually driving in the wrong direction and in restricted areas, is putting a massive strain on an already crippling economy.
While responsibility and blame is being placed on drivers generally, the government is now pointing fingers at public officials that are blatantly abusing their status and office, to flagrantly violate traffic rules.
Many in Sierra Leone believe that the problem lies with the police who are failing to enforce the law. “They are far too busy collecting bribes and looking the other way. Sierra Leone is lawless,” says one angry pedestrian in Freetown.
But it now seems that the breaking of traffic rules could be a thing of the past, if the newly elected president Julius Maada Bio should have his way.
Yesterday, State House issued a press statement strongly rebuking public officials for their flagrant violation of traffic rules. The president it says is calling on the police to act immediately to arrest the growing menace.
“His Excellency the President has expressed grave concern over the disregard/disrespect for Traffic Rules and Regulations by vehicles and other motor-driven objects, including Government Registered Vehicles carrying Ministers.
“This practice is not only contrary to Traffic Rules and Regulations, which are punishable by law, but also, it demoralizes disciplined and law-abiding users of the road, and has the potential to cause fatal accidents, particularly when they drive against recognized traffic.
“With immediate effect therefore, all vehicles and motor-driven objects, including vehicles carrying Ministers of Government (save Emergency Vehicles as defined by law) MUST adhere to Traffic Rules and Regulations.
“Any vehicle or motor-driven object that violates Traffic Rules and Regulations, particularly those that run against the traffic will face the full force of the law.
“The Inspector General of Police and the Chief Executive of the Sierra Leone Road Safety Authority are advised accordingly.”
In response, the Chief of police has issued a strong warning. This is what he said: