Malawians call for compulsory registration of passengers for all long distance buses

Following the fatal accident that happened at Mlangeni, in Ntcheu on Thursday involving a Premier Bus Service, it has been reported that out of the seven people who died, there were some among the dead who could not be identified, including a two-year-old girl.

The wreckage of  Premier Bus involved in Ntcheu accident
The wreckage of Premier Bus involved in Ntcheu accident

Some Malawians have expressed concern over this development and, using the social media, they are calling on the authorities to make it compulsory that passengers’ names, addresses and next of kin must be registered on the tickets.

“Can’t [the authorities], please, introduce something like what happens when flying where they know identities of passengers?” Edgar Kapiza Bayani first posted on his Facebook profile. “I mean, can’t busses have registered names of passengers before embarking on their journeys?

“Only coaches do but sometimes like AXA [bus company] just record your phone number only for purposes of calling you to avoid missing the coach. I think Department of Road Safety should introduce this as a must.”

South Africa-based Malawian Yusuf Milazi gave an example that in South Africa long distance passengers are supposed to register their names, address and contact phones of next of kin.

Banks Mdala Kachinda said: “In RSA, Kenya and Zambia, it is a must for long distance buses to take down names, next of kin, destination and district of origin for all travelling passengers. And it is a must for such buses to have two drivers regardless of the time they are travelling.

“I’ve lost my neighbour, Angela Mwale — may her soul rest in peace — in that accident, she went for her granny’s tombstone unveiling,” Kachinda said.

The concerned Malawians are asking the authorities to strictly enhance such kind of registration not just for the luxury coaches but for all the other long distance big buses as well as the minibuses.

“It can really be so miserable and dreadful for families when such fatal bus accidents happen and they had their family members in such a bus,” said Jeremiah Kazembe. “I cannot describe the pain I would feel if I knew that one of my loved ones was travelling in a bus that was involved in an accident and I don’t have any clue as to what condition they are.

“I support the call to make it compulsory that all long distance buses should have contact details for the passengers’ next of kin on the tickets.”

Most tickets for buses are very small for detail like the fare, destination and date just for auditing purposes by the owners of the buses.

On the call to make it a must that long distance buses should have two drivers regardless of the time they are travelling, it is believed that the driver of the Premier Bus Service was dozing whilst at the wheel due to fatigue and failed to negotiate a corner and overturned, according to Ntcheu Police spokesperson Gift Matewere.

Matewere has since said: “The driver Richard Nyirenda (40) of Katolola Village, T/A Kyungu in Karonga will be charged with the offence of causing death by dangerous driving contrary to section 121 of Road Traffic Act.”

Several other people with internal injuries were referred to Kamuzu Central Hospital  in Lilongwe and several others were admitted at Ntcheu District Hospital while others were treated as outpatients.

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5 years ago

The Gvt should just speed up the registration of national IDs,that will make things much easier,we Malawians r like the lost generations,unlike any other country in Africa

5 years ago

Instead of this registration thing, how about pushing for safe driving practices that way not another soul should be lost to another accident. I don’t understand why people seem to accept accidents as the norm rather than the exception. Let’s talk about the cause of this bus crash and other accidents like it and try to address the cause first and foremost. If we get that part down, maybe we won’t have to register anybody after-all.

SHEQ Professional
SHEQ Professional
5 years ago

It is sad that a lot of Malawians still think primitively and backward by not embracing such important procedures and instruments. For example locally established companies find it difficult to implement or maintain good work practices such as documentation of procedures and work instructions because we still perceive them to be a waste of time and resources. Just like what the story is suggesting we need to instill such good and beneficial work practice not because there is a legal requirement but because it is standard practice internationally. Our mindset as Malawians needs to change in order for such systems… Read more »

5 years ago

This is a standard in almost all established and well nurtured societies. It is not only for the purpose of easy identification of passengers in times of accidents. It is also for security purposes to know who is travelling to where. In the same line, that is where we all need National IDs or passports. It also requires proper system of allocating addresses and having a well maintained database. Geo-coding is not a bad idea. I am not sure if someone living in Mchesi would give out a proper address as it is the case now. This said, all the… Read more »

5 years ago
Reply to  Patriot

National IDs are very important not only for solving most social predicaments and proper planning but also proper redistribution of national wealth that is currently based on regionalistic mindset. I am compelled to say this because I have just seen the list of shortlisted candidates for Domasi and Nalikule education institutes; almost 95% of those shortlisted come from the south particularly lhomwe tribe. Is this the way we are going to forge as malawians! I am greatly touched by the list. This govt is not for Malawians but lhomwes. They have strategically positioned people who are able to recognise lhomwe… Read more »

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