Former Presidential Press Aid Dickson Jere has explained that whenever the president is travelling officially, the route is cleared way in advance.
Jere who is clearly more intelligent than what is currently obtaining at State House was commenting on the incident where Lungu’s handlers failed to secure the road for him in Mongu.
This morning I got calls from reporters who wanted my comment on the trending weekend presidential motorcade debacle in Mongu western Zambia. Off course, their picking on me is based on the fact that I once worked in the presidency and therefore familiar with such events. Since I was not in Mongu to have had an accurate position of what transpired, I explained to my media colleagues that the Zambian President generally moves in four (4) distinct ways, which everyone should take note. The four ways are ; (1) private, (2) semi-official, (3) official and (4) ceremonial
(1) private. When moving private, mostly when attending church, funeral or visiting his relatives, he does not fly Presidential standard and the Eagle on the plate is removed. He uses private number plate and follows all the traffic rules, including stopping on traffic lights. And the motorcade is usually shorter and incognito.
(2) semi-official. This way, he does not fly presidential standard and the Eagle is removed from the vehicle but the route is cleared for his safe passage. You will not see uniformed officers on his entourage including his aide de camp changes to civvies. Mostly, this is done when going for private engagement but for time, the route is cleared briefly. Usually no route lining of police officers.
(3) official. This is when he has his full motorcade and is flying the presidential standard and the Eagle on his car plate. Usually, he will have sirens on with about two escorts vehicle in front. This way, the route is combed and closed for his passage. Other road users are removed from both lanes for security reasons as the Motorcade drives in zigzag way with possibilities of making complete U-turn in case of emergency. That is why it is advisable not to trail the presidential motorcade if not trained in defensive driving. When official, time is of essence. He drives fast to meet the time indicated for his arrival at the event. Riders may also be in front to help clear the way.
(4) ceremonial. This is when the President is going to attend a ceremonial function such as the official opening of parliament. The motorcade drives slowly with motorbikes and at time horses besides his vehicle. The other road users are also removed from the road to pave way for his procession.
While other countries have emergency lanes for VIPs, ambulance and Firefighters, Zambia does not have such and therefore the use of the entire road, to the inconvenience of other road users, will continue. We just have to play ball!
But the question still begs. Why was the route not cleared ahead of the passage of Zambia one?