Midnight chase in tourist capital!

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suspended Copperbelt police commissioner Mary Tembo.
suspended Copperbelt police commissioner Mary Tembo.

IT IS stuff that you normally see in a Hollywood movie – traffic police officers staged strategically at a junction and looking out for motorists contravening traffic rules.
Call it a midnight chase!
In most cases, the cops catch those on the wrong side of the law.
Well, they almost did that with the Zambia Daily Mail crew which is in Livingstone to cover the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) General Assembly the tourist capital is co-hosting with Victoria Falls Town of Zimbabwe.
Fortunately and unfortunately, the crew was on the right side of the law.
After covering two night events, the Zambian Night at Maramba Cultural Village and the Miss Culture Zambia 2013 at Chrismar Hotel in Livingstone, the crew was on its way to pick a colleague in town when it was followed by officers from the Road Traffic and Safety Agency (RTSA).
While driving on Mosi-oa-Tunya Road from Chrismar Hotel, they observed about three or so vehicles overtaking them. The man in the driving seat, Daily Mail chief sub editor Chapadongo Lungu, even casually asked whether it was him who was driving slowly or it was the cars overtaking that were on higher speed.
Unknown to the Daily Mail crew, the RTSA officers had noticed the over-speeding vehicles, and had dutifully followed them. But for some unknown reason, they seemed to have lost the ‘contravening’ motorists.
When the crew was pulling over to pick the colleague in town, they were surprised to see traffic officers accosting them, asking them to hand over the car keys.
Reason? Over-speeding!
A clear case of mistaken identity! And where was Espee, he of the Mistaken Identity fame?
Confident that no wrong had been done, the Daily Mail crew tried to explain that it was actually not them who had been over-speeding but three other vehicles which had overtaken them.
But the officers were in no mood to listen to that… they were convinced they had caught the people they wanted and were not willing to lose their prize so easily.
And this being midnight, the likelihood is that the driver and possibly the entire crew, were probably high on alcohol, what with all the festivities lined-up for the UNWTO general assembly.
But they were wrong, apart from one guilty fellow, the rest of the crew, including the driver (Mr Lungu) are teetotalers.
The officers insisted on the breathalyser, which was just fine with the Mail crew even though they showed signs of reluctance. This was proof enough for the officers to believe alcohol was involved.
They were wrong, though.  All the two tests proved negative – reading zero.
But not with the two other motorists who were caught just as the officers were dealing with the Mail crew, one tested 1.3 and the other 0.8, way above the limit of 0.3.
The man who tested 1.3 tried pleaded “guilty” and asked for leniency. But with his talk garbled and walk wobbled, there was no way anyone was going to be lenient with him… he had no business being on the road in that pathetic state, let alone on in the driver’s seat.
The law had caught up with him.
The ‘midnight chase’ by the officers is testimony of how law enforcement agencies have left no stone unturned in maintaining law and order during the UNWTO general assembly.
Advice: You can explore Livingstone, but please do not explore the law!

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