LILONGWE-(MaraviPost)-The Malawi Government is to propose a law that will bar all buses and trucks travelling at night after 10 p.m. on the roads of Malawi.
This is in the continued efforts by the Government to address the escalating road accidents that has claimed over a thousand lives in just six months this year.
Minister of Transport and Public Works Jappie Mhango, made the announcement in Parliament on Tuesday in Lilongwe, following the question Kasungu South East legislator Khumbize Chiponda asked Government on the minibus drivers and conductors strikes that engulfed the country last week.
Mhango said the Government will not relent an inch in its resolve to improve safety for people on the roads of Malawi, in the face of the rise carnage.
The Minister observed that bus owners had agreed with Government on strict seating capacity by passengers, however it is only the conductors and drivers who want to make extra money for their upkeep.
“We will not allow standing passengers in minibuses or buses, and we will continue to enforce the tough penalties for all traffic offenses,” Mhango said.
“Shortly, we will have a comprehensive consultative forum, where all issues on road safety measures, will be put forward. This is a serious matter that needs the whole nation to sit together to address the escalation of these accidents,” he said.
Thereafter, Mzimba Solola MP Jacob Hara, proposed that the issue be referred to the Transport Committee of Parliament so that further recommendations are made on the improvement of safety on Malawi’s roads.
Consequently, Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Esther Mcheka Chilenje observed that the issue could not be referred to the committee because it came in the House under Standing Order 40.
People’s Party (PP) lawmaker for Kasungu North East Wakuda Kamanga, concurred with Chilenje and said the matter was a complex one that needed a quick and robust response from the Government.
Echoing on the same, Salima North-West legislator Jessie Kabwira, added that the laws should be tightened to bar people from importing minibuses which are 10 years old and above.
Kabwira said dilapidated vehicles, poor road networks, and laws are a source of the rising road accidents. The MPs agreed that there were other factors which must be seriously resolved.
On Friday, minibus drivers and conductors run battles with the police in the commercial city of Blantyre, where strikes erupted following traffic police enforced the road law on public vehicle seating capacity.