Minister of transport and communication Brian Mushimba says Road Transport and Safety Agency (RTSA) Chief Executive Officer Zindaba Soko is a first road traffic accident offender, hence people should not be heavy handed on him.

The minister’s comments come following an accident involving Soko in Kafue in which 9 people were left injured after the bus they were travelling on overturned.

Speaking in a phone interview on Hot FM’s Red Hot breakfast show, Friday, Mushimba said there was no pattern of wrong doing on the part of Soko that needed to be addressed by the ministry, adding that if he was found guilty of abrogating road safety regulations, he would be charged and made to pay the penalty like any other citizen.

“I want to express my sadness at the accident itself and the fact that we have people who were injured, I have received the report on the accident and I have actually had an opportunity to speak to Mr Soko. I am expressing sadness on behalf of my ministry that such an unfortunate accident happened. I also understand that the responsibility placed on us that occupy offices is higher than any regular citizen, what I mean is that if you have a chief executive officer of an agency that is supposed to be in charge of road safety, there is a huge responsibility placed on us that we follow every rule that is in the book and lead by example. With that said, I have nothing on my desk that speak to Mr Soko being not exemplary, I have been made aware by your question that he is a repeat offender. What I have on my desk is that this is the first time we have something like that, and as human beings we don’t go heavy handed when someone is a first offender, even in the courts of law,” Mushimba said.

“Higher responsibility is placed on Mr Soko, he is number 1 traffic enforcement officer, so the calls from the citizens are calls that need to be listened to and internalised, because people know what they are speaking to, that us people who hold these offices, we need to behave in a certain way and that Mr Soko knows, and that is crafted in the administrative policies that RTSA operates from. That’s why I am saying, if there is any pattern of behaviour that is alarming, this pattern could have been addressed. But where I stand as minister, I have not seen this pattern; I have seen Mr Soko as a CEO who takes his responsibility very seriously and he has been doing that. He is fit for that office because there is no pattern of wrong doing.”

He called on people not to be heavy handed on Soko.

“There are laws that govern traffic offences and we have to give chance for that to take effect, and if he is found guilty, there are penalties that apply. So he will go through that process as a normal citizen, you and me would go through because he a citizen and is entitled to the protection of the law,” said Mushimba.