Information Minister Botomani refutes statement that people should walk to work to avoid increase in minibus fares

By Brenda Nkosi, MANA

Minister of Information, Civic Education & Communications Technology, Mark Botomani refutes the report that attributed him as saying that people should walk to work following the increase of minibus fares as part of the Coronavirus preventive measures that restrict minibus operators to carry not more than two passengers on a seat row.

Coronavirus alert

During an interface meeting Botomani had with managers from various media houses and telecommunication companies on Thursday in Blantyre, the Minister refuted what The Nation Newspaper of Thursday quoted him to have said that people should start walking to work to prevent Coronavirus.

“What the newspaper quoted me is an exaggeration of what I said. I simply said that those going on a short distance should consider walking as this will help in decongesting minibuses and other public transport means.


“As government, our priority is to protect lives when it comes to Coronavirus,” he said, saying it was common knowledge that COVID-19 was not a laughable matter.

Minibus Owners Association acting chairperson Felix Msiska, in his response to the measures to have just two passengers per row, said the new sitting capacity means will not break through.

“With two people per row in minibuses, we cannot break through with the old fares. This is a big blow, this has hit us a lot,” he told the media.

Botomani observes coronavirus preventive measures
before the meeting

Botomani called upon managers from media and telecommunication industry to take an active role in the fight against Coronavirus, saying there was need for concerted efforts as government alone cannot combat the virus. 

“May I call upon media managers to complement government’s efforts by encouraging your reporters to write stories that will tell how serious the disease is.


“This will help in making people see the need to follow preventative and protective measures. There is a lot of sensational news on COVID-19 in the country which media managers must discourage,” he said.

Botomani then requested chief executive officers (CEOs) from telecommunication companies in the country to help government in the preparedness drive.

Airtel CEO Charles Kamoto

“As part of social responsibility, you could assist in disseminating information on the disease through your mobile networks,” he said.

Airtel Malawi CEO, Charles Kamoto said much as they were business oriented, they were government partners as such have a responsibility to support government efforts in curbing the Coronavirus.

“In response to governments call to observe preventative measures, almost 50 percent of our staff are working from home.


“Our ‘Chipatala cha pa foni’ is active so that people can utilize it to get help on all issues pertaining to COVID-19 on a call free basis,” he said.

As of Wednesday, April 1 2020, there were over 860,000 people infected with the virus world over with 44,000 deaths.

Coronavirus alert

COVID-19 was first reported in Wuhan City in China on December 31, 2020 but has since spread to all the continents.—Additional reporting by Duncan Mlanjira