The Commuters Rights Association of Zambia has expressed dismay over the protest by the long-distance bus drivers at the Intercity Bus Terminals which halted many passengers’ movements.
Commuters Rights Association of Zambia Aaron Kamuti noted with disappointment the protest by the Intercity bus drivers because of their grievance over their colleague who was jailed for dangerous driving, stating that the act is uncalled for, as passengers were held at ransom for something they don’t even know nor understand.
“We have passengers who were supposed to travel very early in the morning using the buses which go to Nakonde, Livingstone and other respective destinations, but they were delayed because of the confusion which was caused by these unruly drivers,” Mr Kamuti said
Mr Kamuti explained that Intercity Bus Terminals is a public place, and these drivers are not the owners of the buses, he noted that their Association engaged the owners of the buses who also expressed disappointment in their drivers, citing that protesting in such a manner was not good as they are better ways of doing things unlike how the drivers behaved, bringing confusion where it’s not even necessary.
“I have spoken about rotten Laws in our country where every Jim and Jack would stand up and do things which are not supposed to be done, if the Laws where clear these drivers wouldn’t have behaved in such a way,” Mr Aaron said
“We are coming from a background where at one point, we adjusted the bus fares by a certain margin, they called the Ministry of Transport and Logistics all sorts of names and wanted to park their buses, but why should they behave in such a way,” Mr Kamuti added
He noted that their Association has called on the government to purchase the government run buses like what is happening in other countries such as Tanzania, South Africa, and Zimbabwe who have their own buses and are competing with the private sector, now in this country it’s a very different situation.
“If these private operators would call for a boycott of transporting passengers at anytime, and this is the situation we are in,” he said
Mr Kamuti mentioned that the government should be more proactive in the way that they do things, as it is so disappointing that the Ministry which looks into the affairs of public transport would also be held at ransom, they would have engaged the owners of the buses and threatened them of withdrawing their operation license.
“That’s the way to go because they cannot hold the government at ransom, and also hold the innocent passengers at ransom, the general public and even the people who trade in the Intercity Bus Terminals, there businesses were affected,” Mr Kamuti stated
He cited that this kind of nuisance should not repeat itself, as people want a proactive government where the citizens are able to follow the rules and regulations especially those who are in the public passenger transport, they must be held responsible to tame their drivers and workers, who feel that they have got more powers than the owners of the buses.
“We are just coming of from the recent accident which happened at the University of Zambia (UNZA), were the person who was driving that bus was not even the driver and the actual driver is even on the run and the person who was driving didn’t even have a driver’s license, but how do you even allow a person without a license to drive,” he said
“And we see these buses parked at bars in the night, they start operating at 03 hrs or 04 hrs and this person is already intoxicated because he has spent a night in the bar and this situation has been allowed to get out of hand,” he added
Mr Kamuti said that the law enforcement department is one department that has failed the people tremendously, as other countries are seen to be more proactive especially on the enforcement on the roads, this is not happening in this country.
“We can talk and try to intervene but nothing comes out,” he said
He has since called on the Ministry of Transport and Logistics demanding them to up their game by bringing their house in order, as they need to compel the operators and drivers to follow the laid down rules and regulations.
“If a wrong has been done, it’s a wrong and if one is found wanting, he must be held responsible for his attitude and behaviour,” he noted
Mr Kamuti disclosed that in this case, there are a number of unruly bus drivers and a number of operators who have no responsibility over their vehicles and buses, as they leave it to the drivers to control everything because they are only interested in the cashing, hence this is the confusion that is being seen on the ground.
“Total anarchy, nuisance, misbehaving because they have come to realise that the Laws in this country are very weak as they can only apply to the weakest, and those who feel they are stronger than the economy of this country, and powerful than the government, they do things the way they feel like doing them, and this is what is happening in the public transport sector,” Mr Kamuti said