Government has come under attack from Kabwe mini bus drivers due to inconsinstency in road transport policies but government has asked the drivers to pray before to God to curb the increasing road accidents.
Following the Chibombo minibus accident last week in which a total of 18 people died, government imposed a ban on Toyota Hiace minibuses from sevicing inter town routes.
Road Transport and Safety Agency (RTSA) Kabwe station manager Daniel Choolwe said licences given to Hiace operators were only for local routes because they did not have speed limiters fitted on them but Bus Drivers Association of Zambia president Anderson Siwale challenged RTSA to provide speed limiters and explain why the inconsistency when all along they have been servicing inter town routes
Siwale said his association regrets the loss deaths of many people due to accidents but asked the government not to be emotional, saying it is not only small buses that were involved in accidents but big ones as well.
“There are no speed limiters fitted on most public service buses in Zambia and we challenge RTSA to provide speed limiters, we have always been operating inter town routes, we are equally touched by the death of our customers but it is unfair for government to impose such a harsh ban,” said Siwale during the meeting which was called by District Commissioner Patrick Chishala in the Boma conference hall and attended by over 200 bus drivers.
The drivers charged that RTSA lacked consistency by authorising 16 passengers on Lusaka buses but restrict the number to 14 in Kabwe.
They said, with the unstable fuel prices, it was unprofitable to restrict minibuses to local routes and if the ban is reinforced, many buses would be parked and lead to mass unemployment in the nation.
Chishala urged the drivers to coperate with government and asked them to be prayerful to avoid the devil taking advantage and result into mass deaths. “Before you start off, take time to at least pray to your God who will help you drive safely to and from, you are important because you carry so many lives on those buses,” He said.
Chishala slso asked the drivers and their condustors to be courteous to the general public.
On the inter town routes Choolwe said he needed to consult with headquarters before he can come up with a statement but maintained that the ban remains in effect but the drivers have vowed to defy the ban.