When Police Stopped Vehicle Checks

In the run-up to the last general elections, one of the features which took Ghanaians by surprise was the directive given to the Police to stop checking motor vehicles.

It was the first time that was happening and we wondered what informed the weird decision at the time that it did.

It prompted varied interpretations from all sections of the country, especially the politically-inclined. The only response which came from the Police at that time was unconvincing, as it sought to create the impression that it was intended to make things easy for motorists whose ordeal at the hands of corrupt cops was unacceptable.

Those were the days when the top hierarchy of the Police did not want to incur the wrath of politicians and could not therefore question directives even if these looked absurd and not inuring to the interest of the state.

We observed how at the time road indiscipline increased and claimed lives.

The real reason motorists were given a carte blanche to do as they pleased, as it were, on the roads was for political leverage. Others thought it was intended to facilitate the movement of certain stuff the government needed during the elections.

Whatever informed the decision, we can tell that the fallouts are being manifested in the inexplicable road accidents being recorded in recent times.

Today here we are faced with an unusually high rate of indiscipline on our roads – the relations between the indefinite suspension on road checks and the rising spate of accidents on our highways not being considered as a factor.

A few days ago, we editorialized on the carnage on our highways but it would appear that the relevant state agencies have still not come up with novelties which can restore sanity on the roads, the suspension of road checks still having a toll on lives.

We are yet to see Road Safety Commission and Police collaborate in a manner that would ensure safety on our roads. Accidents have regrettably become ordinary stories, no longer attracting the kind of attention they used to many years ago when they occurred.

We should not accept this aberration as normal and close our eyes to the many deaths which have bedeviled our country.

Consider the many young persons, even children who have lost their lives because of the recklessness of drivers who know there are no policemen to check them for overspeeding and dangerous driving.

When we are searching for answers to challenges on our roads, let us not search too far because the answers can be found in the decision by politicians to decide when the police should check vehicles or not.

If the impression can be created that at a certain time politicians in power can decide that the police stay their action against road unruliness then the issue of maintaining law and order can be regarded as a discretionary function resting in the bosom of the President and his appointees.