Windhoek — The Namibian Police Inspector-General Sebastian Ndeitunga says motorists and other road users must make way for motorcades carrying VVIPs and VIPs, not only because it is the law, but because the public need to show national political leaders courtesy and respect.
Ndeitunga spoke at a hastily convened press conference at the police headquarters yesterday, to address reports of road users refusing to give right of way to the presidential motorcade, VIP motorcades and emergency vehicles.
Ndeitunga said: "I, Lieutenant-General Sebastian Haitota Ndeitunga, Inspector-General of the Namibian Police Force, hereby wish to inform members of the public at large on what is required from them when the state motorcade and emergency vehicles are moving. As you know, one of the functions of the Namibian Police Force is to provide security and protection to both local and foreign VVIPs and VIPs in the Republic of Namibia."
He added that it is the international norm and courtesy accorded to leaders worldwide, and Namibia is no exception.
The categories of VVIPs and VIPs using motorcades in the Namibian context include the current and former heads of state, the vice-president, prime minister and foreign dignitaries who enjoy immunity from stopping at intersections and traffic lights.
He went on to say that in the case of a VVIP or VIP moving from one point to another, a state motorcade is used to provide appropriate security befitting such a VVIP or VIP, in line with the Traffic and Road Safety Act and in accordance with the Namibian Police VIP Protection regulations regarding the escort of VVIPs and VIPs.
By definition a motorcade shall mean: Two or more official motor vehicles travelling together for the purpose of conveying Namibian VIPs or foreign dignitaries and utilising traffic police vehicles (Nampol, municipal traffic or military police) with visible blue lights and sirens to forewarn public road users of the oncoming motorcade of the VIP, to ensure safe passage and the unimpeded journey of the VIP, the police chief said. He added that it therefore becomes obligatory for every citizen to respect and give the right of way to the motorcade to pass unimpeded, by stopping their vehicle.
He further outlined the procedures to stop for a motorcade as follows: On the approach and during the passing of the state motorcade, the driver of every vehicle on the road must bring his/her vehicle to a halt at the extreme left of the road where the road is demarcated into one or two traffic lanes for his/her direction of travel; remain stationery and only proceed when instructed to do so by hand signals of a policeman or when the motorcade has passed if the vehicle is stopped in any lane at a controlled intersection; draw the vehicle to a halt in a safe position, which may include a lane reserved for right-turning traffic when the road is demarcated into more than two lanes for direction of travel; where the road is not demarcated into traffic lanes for direction of travel, draw the vehicle to a halt at the extreme left of the road.
No person driving a vehicle shall overtake or attempt to overtake any vehicle in a state motorcade - and any person who contravenes these laid down procedures and regulations shall commit an offence.
When dealing with persons interfering in motorcades, Ndeitunga said, the law permits the officers on duty to use minimum force - however, he said, firing at the intruder will be the last resort.