Union born to advance, enhance economic rights for kabaza, motorbike taxi operators

Like-minded bicycle and motorcycle taxi operators have teamed up to form a Union of Kabaza and Motorcycle Operators in Malawi (UKAMO), which will be used as a platform for advancing and enhancing economic rights of taxi operators in Malawi.

Specifically, the union intends to enhance the effective performance of kabaza and motorcycle owners/operators for economic and entrepreneurial growth while ensuring high safety standards and harmonized policy framework as well as coordination of innovative, convenient, and efficient service delivery.

UKAMO Communications and Marketing Manager Tilipo Chiziko told Nyasa Times on Wednesday that the organization, which is duly registered under the Companies Act 2013, as a company limited by guarantee, is concerned that despite working very hard and contributing significantly to the transportation sector, lives of the operators have not improved.

Chiziko–Kabaza and motorcycle taxi operators are contributing significantly to the transport sector in Malawi

“Many recent studies show that bringing socio-economic population groups out of poverty cannot be done through mere charitable efforts alone. It requires empowering disenfranchised but enterprising groups to become self-reliant kabaza and motorcycle operators in Malawi encounter a range of ills in their efforts to be useful to society that put them at a distinct disadvantage,” said Chiziko.

He stated UKAMO realizes that operations of the bicycle and motorcycle taxi operators are poorly managed; hence, it sought to organize, coordinate operations, empower operators and promote entrepreneurial growth as well as innovation for the sub-sector.

“UKAMO is mindful that this emerging and fast-growing transport sub-sector is meeting a critical need by offering the most flexible, affordable, and customer-driven industry. Yet, over the past two decades, ‘kabaza’ has proved unsafe as evidenced by frequently reported road accidents, high and unregulated charges, poorly maintained bicycles and motorcycles (hence not roadworthy), non-compliance by operators with road traffic rules and regulations, and unskilled/inexperienced and unqualified drivers/cyclists that contribute to frequent road accidents,” he said.

Added Chiziko, “Society at large relies on carriers of goods and people to facilitate business movements and leisure travel or social interactions. An immobilized society cannot survive economically, socially, or even physically. Therefore, the union envisages to transform kabaza and motorcycle operations into innovative, technology-driven, growth-oriented, low-risk hence, safe and efficient multimodal transport enterprises.”

Chiziko stated that the main role of the union will be to promote principles of safety management, provide oversight of kabaza and motorcycle operators’ activities, coordinate the industry’s operations and bring order to the industry by reducing risks and making it safe and environmentally friendly, besides improving its profitability and triggering entrepreneurial growth.

He said they UKAMO to be the multimodal transport market leader promoting safety, profitability, and convenience in transport operations.

Currently, senior management of the union operates from the secretariat, which is the head office of UKAMO and is headed by a Chief Executive Officer (CEO) or Executive Director (ED). The senior management executes plans; implements policies and makes operational, tactical, and strategic decisions.

They carry out the day-to-day functions and activities of the Union. The CEO and senior managers and other directors are appointed by the Board of Directors and are supervised by it. Members participate in Annual General Meetings and have voting rights hence take part in the election of UNION leaders as well as in the adoption of policies and decision-making processes. They are involved in the democratic control of the Union’s operations.

According to Chiziko, UKAMO is a unique membership organization poised to tap the hidden potential of multimodal transport enterprises towards achieving low-risk or safe operations reflected in a drastic reduction in road accidents, operating at low cost but creating value for clients, yet at a high investment return.

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