After losing several College friends in road accidents and attending funerals of children killed in road accidents in her community, Zomba based Chancellor College third year law student Monica Macy Namonde and some of her friends have decided to form a Non-profit making organisation known as Accidents Reduction Watchdog to help the authorities in the reduction of road accidents. The organisation main objective is to embark on a sensitization campaign explaining to all road users of what the Traffic Act requires of them.
“It starts with instilling a culture of compliance in the people. People must not comply because there is a penalty for non-compliance, that’s not the spirit. People must comply because they have a duty,” Namonde stressed.
“When people start complying with basic rules; it is easy to comply with critical rules. Look at Traffic Act section 111 on the use of the hooter. It forbids the careless use of the hooter. You only use the hooter for safety, but is that what drivers are doing these days? A hooter is for celebrating winning a football match, greeting our friends or even warning fellow motorists of the existence of police officers. This is where the problem lies. When people cannot comply with such basic rules would they comply with critical rules such as over speeding,drunk driving? This is where our organisation wants to step in. We will be targeting drivers such as minibus, taxi drivers who have no access to the Road Traffic Act and explain to them some basic and critical rules. We will also embark on schools to sensitize the learners on what the Traffic Act requires of them”. Namonde said as one of the main objectives of her organisation.
The organisation will also advocate for legislation to ensure that offences related to fatal accidents arise from recklessness, drunk driving, over speeding and unroadyworthy vehicles attract only custodial sentence without an option of a fine. “Human life is costless, people must not take away someone’s life and be allowed to compensate the state, this is morally wrong. Careless driving is a conduct crime not a result crime,” Namonde argued.
“We also intend to lobby network providers to introduce toll free numbers that passengers can call to report a situation on the road. Sometimes it happens that you are in a bus or minibus and the driving is over speeding but you are helpless to do something. Imagine if we can have this number and the passengers using it; upon reaching a police roadblock the driver is reprimanded for over speeding; that can certainly bring sanity in our drivers” stated Namonde.
The organisation will soon be on local radios such as Chanco FM and YONECO explaining to local residents their activities. “We believe that soon we will be able to reach all Malawians through television stations. It is our belief that together we can reduce these road accidents most of them which are preventable,” concluded Namonde.
Accidents Reduction Watchdog has the following members Richard Bvumbwe,Thabo Thandeka Nkhonde,Ivy Chirwa.Yamikani Limbe George Lwanja,Mary Mtambo,Stella Bvumbwe among others…It is based in Zomba but will soon spread its branches to other areas of the country.