Few months after the High Court ordered Minibus Owners Association of Malawi (MOAM) to stop collecting any fees, Malawi News Agency has established that some unscrupulous individuals have taken advantage of the situation to cash in from unsuspecting minibus operators at Mibawa Bus Depot in Blantyre.
The observation comes after minibus drivers and owners raised a concern over the money which they give to people who identified themselves as ‘eni mgodi,’ literally meaning a landlord or supervisor.
Speaking in an interview with Malawi News Agency (Mana) on Friday, Timothy Chiwanda, a minibus driver, said they pay money to the city council and that they are also asked to pay a fee of K200 when the bus is starting off.
“I truly don’t understand why they demand money from us, yet we all know that we are supposed to pay money to the city council and this is the body acknowledged by every driver here,” said Chiwanda.
“We are not convinced why they do this, we are doing business and we are very disappointed with this habit, this plea should go to Blantyre City Council (BCC) since the place belongs to them,” he added.
Following the High Court ruling on March 28, 2018 by Judge Rowland Mbvundula, it was declared that MOAM and any other individual do not have powers to collect any fee from Mibawa Bus Depot.
In his remarks, Dumisan Chelewani, one of the ‘dubious’ revenue collectors at Mibawa Bus Terminal, said the money collected is deposited into accounts given by their bosses. He, however, declined to disclose the names of the ‘bosses.’
“We are instructed by our bosses and this money has nothing to do with the city council. The council collects money on their behalf and we do our part and regard this place as our Mgodi,” Chelewani said.
However, reports gathered show that the High Court ordered BCC and Clifford Mbuluma of K and N Consult who manage traffic services to take control in collecting money and Mbuluma was bound to give K2, 293, 200 to BCC for Blantyre Zone Street.
This is contrary to Chelewani’s remark which shows that they do not have the powers to have any gate collections apart from the responsible bodies.
However, efforts by Mana to reach BCC Public Relations Officer, Anthony Kasunda proved futile as his mobile phone could not be answered until the time of going to press.