Angry minibus driversand conductors who staged a strike protesting against police implementation of traffic laws, torched down three police units now Blantyre after the law enforcers used tear gas to disperse them.
The police units which they burned were Nathoka, Khama and Nkolokoti in Machinjiri.
Southern Region Police Headquarters spokesperson Ramsey Mushani confirmed some of their police units were burnt.
The rioters blocked the townships’ roads with huge rocks and burnt tyres on the roads.
In some townships such as Zingwangwa, Machiniri and Bangwe, they were demanding cash—K500s—from motorists for them to pass.
The development follows a minibus drivers’ sit-in report on social media that traffic police have introduced new road regulations and fines.
One of the affected passengers from Bangwe Township, Michael Chirwa, said Friday’s situation is not healthy for entrepreneurs who rely on minibuses for transportation of goods.
“I have lost business today [yesterday]. By 7am, I was supposed to deliver goods to customers but I failed. The town is like a war zone as people are late for their endeavours,” said Chirwa.
Early in the morning, some drivers were on the road providing the service but could not sustain it because of threats from their fellow drivers.
One of the drivers, Fatchi Madani, by day break had made two trips between Limbe and Blantyre, but could not continue.
But some drivers slotted in drama skills to convince protesting drivers who had mounted roadblocks at Banja La Mtsogolo (BLM) junction along Midima Highway in Bangwe Township to allow them safe passage.
Emmanuel Lapuken, driver from Chitakale in Mulanje, had to pretend the passengers were mourners from heading to Machinjiri Township.
“That was the only way to get to Limbe or I could have dumped them there. Now, I have to sit back and monitor the situation with fellow drivers,” said Lapuken, laughing.
Meanwhile, national police spokesperson James Kadadzera has brushed aside allegations that police are only targeting minibus drivers saying they have intensified road safety rules to all motorists to reduce road accidents.
“There have been increased reports of road accidents in the country and as police we cannot let that to continue. What they should do is follow traffic laws and regulations such as not drinking and driving, ensure their vehicles are in proper conditions and avoid over speeding among others. They should not take this as witch hunting, it is for the good of the nation,” he said.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :