Malawi govt refuses to ban small passenger public vehicles: Bongo and Vanetta

Government has flatly refused to ban small passenger public vehicles of bongo and vanetta types, saying this will cause more problems than solving them.

Ndau: Banning is not a solution

Ndau: Banning is not a solution

Minister of Transport Malison Ndau said this on Saturday a week after the parliamentary committee on Transport recommended to the government to ban the minibuses, saying they were designed to carry goods not people.

However, Ndau said banning the use of the bongo and vanette minibuses is not the lasting solution to the problem.

“If we do that, we are going to raise more eyebrows and problems. What we will do is to ask the traffic police to enforce the seating capacity rule and policy,” he said.

He said as government, they cannot just wake up and ban the vehicles out of emotions.

“You cannot just wake up and ban the minibuses overnight. There are people who depend on such minibuses for their everyday life,” he said.

Chairman of the parliamentary committee on Transport Victor Mbewe said the small minibus operators pack passengers like Sardines, four in each line of chair, saying this reduces their dignity.

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26 thoughts on “Malawi govt refuses to ban small passenger public vehicles: Bongo and Vanetta”

  1. markmarkc says:

    ndikanakonda abizinezi za mtundu umenewu akanasata dongosolo limene amachita azawo ku Theba,mpano zimenezi zisakuchitika.Komaso okonza basiyo anapanga kuti line imozi izikhala a2 atatu,ndiye ikafika ku Malawi kuno timaonjezeraso mpando umozi.Kulakwitsa uko!Minisitala kumeneko ndiye timati kuthimka!

  2. Dolla says:

    Road Traffic and safety services, what are you doing in Karonga, Mzuzu ,Nkhotakota and Salima road?

  3. Sandram says:

    Wise minister, indeed ban them its absolutely not a solution. Thanks Ndau.

  4. pedegu says:

    Sometimes its gud 2give this brain sometime 2think before bringing the ideas 2the living world. In a country which z failing 2create jobs, but thinking of banning some minibuses which many r surviving thru, if t was an equation t could b unbalanced. Bravo 2the wise minister!

  5. mleme says:

    Overloading is outlawed kalekale. If you allow to be packed like sardine its your polobulemu, usova

  6. chitutu phiri says:

    Abwana minister kumeko ndiye kukhala,A chair transport committee asove zina osati zimene akunene zi.Iwowo ali ni ndalama azipanga ma business ena monga a mining ndi zina zotere,za ma Bongo asiyire anthu osawuka.if they are to empower Malawians economically.

  7. Theokoles says:

    Thumb up for this idea. We have a government that is not just hasting. Some of us would have been heavily affected considering the fact that we’ve just purchased them and doing so would be a major blow. We can just upholding the seater rule.

    However,government on its part should also consider trimming the fuel prices as the minibus owners might resolute to increasing the price of bus fares since they would want that to tally with the incurred costs.

  8. Nonse omwe mukufuna kuti ma bongo ndi vannette aletsedwe ndinu zitsiru mukuganiza kuti anthu ali ndi ma mini bus wa azikakudyelani kuti? Nosense

  9. tsovo small snail says:

    All vehicles looking like minibus are cleared as minibus by MRA even though we import them from Japan classified as vans. We buy the Vanette and Bongo bcoz they are affordable compared to the Hiace or the Quantum. The problem is the drivers and conductors who use wrong capacity to make more money. Passengers choose to accept the inconveniences. No choice. Its like the women and men who transport tomatoes on top of trucks and pickups, that’s their right kind of transport. the tomatoes will become expensive once someone decides to change their mode of transportation. No option.

  10. Mphwache says:

    During the 1980’s Malawi public transport was basically Large Buses only. Ai one count, United Transport had 360 buses, Yanu-Yanu had 40 buses and there were a lot more providng scheduled services to all parts of Malawi. Sometime during the 1990’s the rules were relaxed and the Mini-bus (30 Seaters) was allowed to provide public transport. Then the 16 Seater came in to disrupt everything, more especially it killed the scheduled services we all loved, now it (WAIT UNTIL FULL). This trend also got worse with the Minor Bus, (Bongo and its cousins). Now, we have the 3 Wheeler taxi.

    We can call all these developments, but this is the way it should work.
    If the market has been liberalised, then the pricing for these services must also be liberalised. People should be able to choose, which service they want: Time-table Scheduled, Extra Comfort and Leg Room, discounted pricing and wait until full. It pisses me off to get into a bus at 1400hrs in Lilongwe only for it to depart the bus depot at 2130hrs. I would like to see more scheduled services even if the charge more, I would like to see more extra-comfort services for a price, and I would like to see STAR Levels applied to the industry, so that we passengers can make a clear choice. YES, I would also like to see more Demand responsive taxis and 3 wheelers available either on the road or through a phone call. But PRICING should be the biggest determinant.

  11. Redeemed says:

    Number 9, really???.

  12. Mtumbuka says:

    A Chewa kuganiza moperewera again.

  13. LUHANA Z says:

    Before we start arguing if banning bongos/vanettes could be a solution to overloadig or not , lets look at why bongos are too many on our roads nowadays;

    The free on board(FOB) price for a hiace has gone up three-fold . For example; a hiace is about 7,000-9,000 U$ DOLLARS while a /bongo costs about 1,500-2,500 U$ DOLLARS.
    THIS has as a result forced most entrepreneurs to go for what their pockets can afford. Mind you our economy is in dire straits- u do not pretend that all is well in economics . If u do that , it will sooner or later pin you into a tight corner-ever seen massive and profuse depreciation of the kwacha?

    Our traffic police officers are corrupt to the tooth such that enforcement of carrying capacity law for bongos and even hiaces is impossible.
    When the economy improves, there shall be voluntary displacement of bongos by either hiaces or bigger buses.
    More or so govt is supposed to play its rightful role. condemning the proposed ban by the transport committee can’t solve matters either

  14. Myao says:

    1. Ban the chamba grower and the smoker plus custodian. In this case, ban all minibus seat trimmers, only those certified to be conversant with road safety rules should be allowed to operate.
    2. DIGNITY-Road Traffic Directorate should be exercising it’s mandate to the fullest, they’re currently chasing Bicycle Operators’ and MOAM’s tails. For Instance, there’re some routes which shouldve been serviced by these bongos but are heavily manifested by Kabanzas who are charging same rate as minibuses. Minibuses are a nuisance on our roads as they just pack anyhow-no need to involve/ mention the beggar in chief here, the traffic policeman who’s just as good as a minibus tout.
    3. Responsibility- A collective dochie which should start with passengers themselves, honestly we accept to be packed like potatoes despite several minibuses lined up for same route.
    4. Control-Tripple current customs duty for these wheel barrow type of buses and as it has worked before, remove duty on large capacity buses. Tax policy is also clear on ‘commodities’ coverted to commercial use after being imported for other purposes.

    Clearly the minister had little research on this before coming up with a stand, he is an interested party standing on a wrong platform!

  15. Views says:

    1. Government must deliberately wave/reduced import duty and other taxes on bigger hiace / quantum minibuses say up to 2007 to encourage importation of these more people friendly versions

    2. A ban on smaller versions may be imposed after 2 years

  16. LUHANA says:

    While we appreciate that an outright ban on bongos and vanettes looks harsh, there is need for an exit strategy . Before the introduction of these small passenger carriers on our roads, we used to have toyota hiaces but now hiaces free on board costs have gone up three-fold or more. This has subsequently pushed entrepreneurs to get what their pockets can afford. For example; a good toyota hiace can attract an FOB price of about 8,000 -10,000 U$ dollars WHILE A BONGO/vanette is 1500-2500 U$ DOLLARS. Fellow Malawians, let’s be mindful of the fact that our economy is declining so in business you can not pretend that all is well when actually your buying power is nose-diving.

    Now, when people are being squized into these bongos should govt simply fold its arms and look? Bingu be4 passing on, hinted that govt would reintroduce city line buses to ease transport problems .what is your govt stand our minister?

    Otherwise condemning the transport committee of parliament can not help the matter either.

  17. Mwalafyale Mlowano says:

    Kkkk ine baba ndibwebweta mchiyangulo changa ncholinga choti makondakitare ndi madalaiva osamva chisungu amve mvevenve. Bongo ndi Vanetta anapangidwa kuti siosenza wandu ayi. Ndiosenza katundu heee. Funso wanga ngoti kodi khasu amawazira nkhuni? Main a ngwangwa amalimila munda? Andu onga inu ndamene mumatenga kondomu nduipopa nduika mnyumba ngati chibaluni pa xmass day. Kondomu timaponyera mpira wakuchipinda. Sichibaloon ayi. Choncho Bongo ni Vanetta a site kuheda anthu. Apeseni ndawi eniake ya chaka chimodzi kuti abweze NGO Gore zomwe angulira MaBongowo. A trafic sangathane kupanga control capacity was anthu poti ndiosauka amaendera payerepayere poti salary yao ndi pocket money yatsikulimodzi yamwana wa MP

  18. Che Wanimiliyoni says:

    The fact that Vanets and Bongos come without seats doesn’t mean they are meant for goods only. If they were designed as such then they wouldn’t have the sliding doors, openable windows and leathered roof. We have had similar sized and designed Toyota Townace which has been carrying passengers since time immemorial but we never raised such arguments. Vehicles are convertible for any other use as long as they are certified fit e.g. a lorry can be converted to a bus or a pickup coverted to a saloon and vice versa. The issue is about the traffic police’s failure to enforce the proper seating capacity and docile Malawians acceptance to be packed like sardines. It’s not only Vanets which are exceeding their carrying capacity. Short chasis Toyota Hiace and Nissan Caravans have again been accepted to fix 4 rows of chairs instead of 3 which makes it difficult for tall people to sit comfortably as chairs are nearer to each other. Bingu enforced the proper seating capacities but others have messed up things again!

  19. Tk says:

    If they continue to be allowed carrying passengers on the roads, pliz modfy the roof so that it is higher. Is there no Law that looks at minimum roof height so that people are seated confortably in these buses? Talking of capacity, why is it that this law is never followed on Mzuzu Karonga roads but well followed on Lilongwe Salima roads and many roads in the Central region?

  20. zoona says:

    Its true the Bongos were designed to carry goods and thats what they are doing. Are there any human beings in Malawi? I doubt very much. What is this dignity people are talking about? We lost our dignity a long time ago just look at our houses are they different from the Bongos? WE ARE ZINTHU PERIOD.

  21. Chosen says:

    Honestly whoever proposed the banning of small Minibuses on the basis of overloading is crazy. If that is the basis then all public transport would have been incorporated in the ban not only the Bongos. We see even big buses overloading everyday. The minister is brilliant some of you who have traveled to other african countries like Kenya you will agreed with me that 2 tonne lorries have been modified to carry people so i don’t understand someone if he says Bongos were not meant to carry people. I rest my case. This Transport committee is crap and a waste of resources if it is funded.

  22. mbina says:


  23. hoitty says:

    Ukuyankhula choncho.poti sukwela zimenezi bwanawe. Galimoto zochotselaba ulemu izi. Kupakana thukuta mkati. Chanzeru ungachite nkunena kuti mupanga phase out in 2yrs poti ena mwina agula kumene. Chomwe ndaona nawe mwina ulinayo vanet umalongedzamo anthu. Dzikoli kutsalila. Zoona 2016 public transport vanet?? Pomwe peter akufuna jet? The least u can do is bring coaster

  24. The Analyst says:

    This issue only shows how clumsy and chaotic some people are; in thinking . . .

    . . . You see . . .
    Mbewe says the bongo and the vanette exceed capacity when carrying people. But is the solution to this observation imposition of a ban on such vehicles? Nooooo!
    . . . The solution is to ask the corrupt traffic police officers to enforce the rule/law which is already in place, for these people to observe passenger carrying capacity.
    Then he continues to say the vehicles are not meant for carrying people . . .
    . . . While acknowledging that the manufacturer of vehicles has a fair idea about the intended purpose of their vehicles; surely, they never indicate it as the only purpose.
    . . . Furthermore, the purpose may vary depending on the country.
    Thats why in Malawi, we see lorries ferrying people between places yet lorries are not meant for ferrying people. We see salon vehicles carrying sand, gallons of water, bricks, stones, cement bags, e.t.c.
    . . . Simply put, what matters most is; not what a vehicle was meant for, but observation of carrying capacity (which is a factor for preventing accidents, besides speed limit).
    The ban on bongo and vanette could somewhat make sense if the said vehicles have been found to have significantly increased road accidents on Malawian roads. Alas!
    . . . And if the reason for road accidents was substantiated, there would be a need for a grace period of say 1 year, so that the bongo or vanette owners could reposition themselves. Osati kungodzuka nkuyamba kubwebweta iai!

    If Victor Mbewe has issues with some owner of a bongo or vannette, there are other better ways of dealing with him or HER, but trying to abuse his power is not one of them.

    1. The Analyst says:


  25. Headteacher says:

    Mr Minister you already are showing signs of a bootlicker trying to score political mileage with decisions based on cowardice. Those of us who use these things do so because we have no choice. Those contraptions are tighter than a condom. So if you say what you are saying it means you have NO respect for people’s lives.
    You cannot even bring in the police here, who are a bunch of corrupt beggars and who, themselves, also OWN these bongos and rely on exceeding the seating capacity of those vehicles.
    By the way, where were you fished from?

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