Minibus drivers cause havoc at Zomba bus depot in protest of new road measures

Pandemonium ensued at Zomba main bus terminal on Friday morning as irate minibus drivers and conductors were seizing their counterpart’s minibuses that were carrying passengers in protest of the alleged new Road Traffic Regulations prohibiting minibuses to carry heavy load and passengers in excess of the stipulated standards.

Some minibus drivers had to drive dangerously away to safety as the fracas raged on

There were  ugly scenes, where innocent passengers were forced to disembark minibuses, some en route from Blantyre to Mangochi.

Some minibus drivers had to drive dangerously away to safety as the fracas raged on between the two disagreeing parties.

However, Eastern Region Police spokesperson, Joseph Sauka, said in an interview that no serious incident had been reported in Zomba city, while confirming the armed police presence in strategic points was aimed at protecting important installations as part of their routine job.

By noon, business was normal in the old capital with many shops open and a few minibuses were seen carrying passengers, a sign that the situation had normalized.

The event also follows the experience of high rate of road accidents involving bus service carriers in the first six months of the year as compared to last year according to statistics released recently in the media by National Police Headquarters.

However, Amos Gondoza, who is an Executive member of MOAM Eastern Region in Zomba said the minibus operators were angered by the harsh treatment and punishment being unleashed on drivers by both the Road Traffic Directorate (RTD) and the Traffic Police following the much touted new provisions.

“I believe the RTD and the Police should have consulted representative of the owners of minibuses themselves and other key stakeholders before implementation of the new arrangement,” said Gondoza.

Gondoza suggested government should review the regulations, call for the all inclusive round table meeting including RTD, Traffic Police and other relevant stakeholders including some ordinary owners of minibuses to resolve the impasse.

In a related development, Edwin Njobvuyalema, who identified himself as a minibus driver confirmed that he was locked in a police cell for carrying heavy load in Mangochi, adding he had no problem with carrying three passengers on each seat, but the bus fares should also be raised.

Njobvuyalema also faulted the heavy handedness on the part of Road Traffic Directorate and Traffic Police before sensitization of the drivers on the new arrangement, adding road enforcement alone without education cannot solve the current road accidents.

He appealed to government to reconsider the conduct of these officials on how they transact their job on the roads before things become uncontrollable.

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Jek
Guest

Long at last the minibus passengers will get to be treated with respect and dignity, not like cargo or trash.
Unroadworthy minibuses must not be allowed to run on the roads of Malawi, traffic police must impound these mercilessly
Road regulations must be followed at all times, that’s the way to reduce road accidents
People behaving badly like those in the picture must be arrested immediately, that kind of behaviour will lead to road accidents

Wisely
Guest

Minibus drivers and conductors in Malawi have no work ethics. No wonder they are rioting simply to show their unpatriotic behaviour. The life you over speed to destroy is the one that pays your money. If you follow the rules and regulations, no body will penalize you for doing that. Thanks for expressing your anger anyway. I know you will lose corrupt benefits in the process.

concerned citizen
Guest
Umbuli pazamalamulo wachuluka among our people . Every country will run well if regulations are followed. These regulations are there to protect the lives of passengers from whom the minibus drivers and conductors get their pay. In Malawi, minibus passengers are not treated with respect. Its now high time that the authorities should put their foot down to say enough is enough. Follow the regulations and have the freedom to run your minibus business. Go against the regulations you will face the law. For a long time the police have tried to enforce the regulations without the high penalties and… Read more »
kia
Guest

There is too much freedom in this country. Government is superior than anyone and as such there is no need for consultation once a critical decision involving human life is passed. Wake up in the other countries you never see demonstrations because the laws are so clear that even before you think of doing that you experience the long arm of the law. Mwina kuphedwa.

Mboba
Guest

You are very stupid my friend..go back to the kamuzu era where u belong. How many pple do you think can afford k1000/day for transport in Lilongwe. Mukakhuta mbatata uko osamayankhula zopusa apa

chikondi
Guest

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