The seemingly tactful withdrawal of traffic police officers from some major junctions within Kampala city on Friday evening caused massive traffic jam, forcing Ugandans to take to social media demanding the reinstatement of the officers.
It is reported that on Wednesday, when using their official twitter handle, Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) downplayed the role of police accusing them of causing traffic jam. KCCA wondered why traffic police deploys at spots that already had functional traffic lights.
“When the Police intercepts the functioning of these traffic lights, this wastes our heavy investment and also breeds a culture of law breakers yet the Police are law enforcers”, read the KCCA tweet.
It is alleged that the move could have angered the traffic police bosses prompting them to withdraw their officers from Kampala roads, since city administrators seemed not to value their work.
However, many key roads were characterized by massive traffic jam, in some cases people spending up to four hours to get to their destination.
Angry Ugandans took to social media decrying thr withdrawal of traffic police, saying traffic lights could not determine which roads needed more time than others.
“Our traffic lights have no intelligence to determine which routes require more time than others at what time of the day. We ask that Afande Kasiima helps us and redeploys officers on the roads,” someone posted.
“Ambulances are stuck. Not even folks who are led by noisy sirens can move. We are stuck together for four hours now”, read part of the facebook messages.
The hashtag #BringBackTrafficPolice, popped up and went viral especially on twitter and facebook with Ugandans stuck in traffic jam expressing their dissatisfaction with the police withdrawal.
At some points, drivers stepped out of their vehicles to volunteer directing of motorists to create some order.
By press time, we couldn’t reach any authority from the police and KCCA, but former Police spokesperson, Asan Kasingye tweeted confirming police withdrawal because of disregarding their role.
“Because it is said the Police are responsible for jams, we are allowing the traffic lights to function normally without Police interference”, read a tweet from Kasingye.
A few hours later, a number of traffic police officers were seen back on duty in the city, a clear signal of Police responding to people’s cry.
This saw many Ugandans credit police for listening and responding to the concerns immediately.
“Thank you Afande Kasiima for bringing back traffic police but. We say NO to defiance because of a tweet by Madam Jenny”, read another social media post after the return of the officers.
It remains unclear whether Police’s return is temporary until KCCA withdraws their statements against the traffic officers, or it has called off ‘defiance’ for good.