Malawi govt bows down to Motorbike taxi operators’ pressure
BLANTYRE-(MaraviPost)—The Tonse Alliance government has bowed down to pressure of motorbike taxi operators who threatened to take to the street after the road traffic police officers impounded motorcycles across the country in a move to promote road safety and reduce road accidents.
The taxi operators were found riding without driver’s license, riding without crush helmets and operating uninsured motorcycles.
Police immediately seized the bikes under Road Traffic Act.
However, the taxi operators protested against the police operation, arguing they were supposed to be given a grace period.
On Sunday the taxi operators threatened to protest against the Tonse Alliance government which they said is victimizing the poor Malawians with their punitive policies amidst covid-19 pandemic which has also affected small businesses negatively.
In Lilongwe, they stormed ZBS offices to air their grievances while chanting anti-Malawi Congress Party songs.
Reacting, Minister of Homeland Security Richard Chimwendo Banda, through department of road traffic, has given the taxi operators 60 days to work towards meeting the Road Traffic Act demands.
But he has insisted that the police will still be impounding the motorcycles for operating without crush helmet.
Meanwhile, the impounded motorcycles have been released after the owners paid fines.
Motorbike taxi business has boomed in recent times, facilitating transport in hard-to-reach areas and creating job opportunities for thousands of jobless youths.
The otherwise good development is, however, dented by increasing numbers of road accidents the taxis are involved in, claiming lives and leaving a trail of devastation.
At least 78 people died in road accidents between January and July this year as compared to 70 people who died in the same period in 2019.
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