By Duncan Mlanjira
President Arthur Peter Mutharika has ordered that all Cabinet ministers (without exception) should preside over the funerals of those lost their lives following the horrific road accident that happened on Friday at Kampepuza Trading Centre along the Blantyre-Lilongwe M1 Road in the Area of Traditional Champiti in Ntcheu District.
The death toll of this tragic accident was reported at 21 and those injured at over 30 by close of business on Friday.
“His Excellency has further directed that the Right Honourable Chimulirenji will allocate each Minister to a specific place. By copy hereof, the Inspector General of the Malawi Police Service is requested to assist in identifying the specific villages where the funerals are taking place,” said a statement signed by Chief Secretary to the government, Lloyd Muhara.
On The same Friday, Chimulirenji, who is Minister of Civic Education also presidential running-mate for ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and also comes from Ntcheu, visited the hospital where the injured and the dead were taken and assured the family members that the government will help the families who have lost their relatives and those in hospitals.
The minister said he was so saddened of the tragedy after visiting the wards where the accident victims were admitted and the mortuary as well as visiting scene of the accident at Kampepuza.
He said President Mutharika is deeply saddened with the accident. The Government gave K150,000 to each family which has lost a relative and K50,000 to those still in hospital.
Meanwhile, the Peoples Party issued a statement saying it is deeply shocked with the fatality rate of the accident but was quick to offer a solution to avert further occurrences of accidents that continue to take place at trading centres along the M1 Road.
“We applaud all concurring efforts by all Malawian institutions and individuals in according the departed a fitting farewell. Similarly, it is commendable that the injured have been put under proper care in various health facilities.
“Yesterday’s accident is a stark reminder of how we should continue seeking alternative measures to fully relocate roadside markets away from vehicular danger. We believe this will be an instant consideration by policymakers.
“We continue mourning with the bereaved as they commit loved ones to final resting place. To those under health care, we wish them speedy recovery,” said the statement released by the party’s publicity secretary Ackson Kalaile Banda.
This was also concerted by Consumers Association of Malawi (CAMA), which is asking the government to seriously consider banning roadside trading and instead relocate the vendors to safer places at a distance from main roads.
CAMA Executive Director John Kapito told the media that the issue of stopping people from roadside vending is long overdue, saying he has made several calls before to have all the people removed but government has failed to react.
Kapito said he intends to relaunch the battle of making sure that roadside vendors are removed and relocated to better and safer places.