Minibus drivers, conductors protest in Mzuzu
MINIBUS drivers and conductors protests against fines and arrests for various road offences brought business to a standstill in Mzuzu yesterday.
Following similar action in Blantyre, where their counterparts protested on Friday, the protesters blocked the M 1 Road near Mzuzu Bus Depot, parked their minibuses and went round the city stopping other operators from operating on the roads. Police deployed officers, who were in anti-riot gear, in the city as early as 7.00am in an effort to disperse the drivers and conductors.
But unlike their counterparts, police in Mzuzu did not use tear gas to calm the situation. The law enforcers confirmed the arrest of six people in their attempt to restore sanity in the city.
Northern Region police spokesperson, Peter Kalaya, said in an interview that some of those arrested took advantage of the situation, hence the decision to arrest them.
“The commotion started at around 5.00am mostly by people who pretended to be minibus drivers and conductors. Such people blocked roads, including the M1 Road. We deployed officers who managed to restore order before midday,” Kalaya said.
He said police engaged minibus drivers and conductors in dialogue on the fines and arrests for various road offences that are committed on the roads.
“They managed to mobilise themselves and we briefed them on the fines and other measures that police are taking on the road. After they were convinced, they resolved to go back to work,” Kalaya said.
Minibus Owners Association of Malawi Northern Region Chairperson, Felix Msiska, said a driver and conductor were among those arrested by the police. He said the tense situation was sparked by disagreements between traffic police officers and minibus drivers. “Everything is back to normal,” Msiska said.
As we went to press, police officers were still seen patrolling roads in the city.
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