By Duncan Mlanjira
Concerned citizenry highly condemned a reckless and dangerous road manouvre by a TAM TAM passenger bus when it was caught on camera along the M1 Road as it overtook three cars including a tanker on a steep stretch of the road — completely disregarding a continuous white line.
This comes after 13 people died on the night of October 2 while others sustained different degrees of injuries when a Toyota Hiace minibus was involved in a head-on collision with a TAM TAM bus at Guya Village in Ntcheu.
The picture of the incident was posted on Facebook by a concerned Holmes Banda who captioned it as: “Not too clever, driving dangerously. After overtaking my car, a TAM TAM bus overtakes a small car and a tanker on the M1 this afternoon [October 13]”.
To which Victor Nyirongo and Chris-Tofa Kapanga observed that the manouvre was done on a solid line course, which legally restricts vehicles from overtaken.
“That is criminal,” Kapanga said. “He is overtaking on a continuous white line which should never be crossed, with a full load of passengers. Where did this brute learn to drive a bus?”
Frank Taulo joined in to condemn TAM TAM bus drivers as reckless while Albert Bills Chisi put it bluntly opined that TAM TAM has “recently incorporated accident brewery business! Too bad for passenger carrying vehicles!”
Aaron Chikuse observed that bus drivers in general are always careless regardless of the number of souls they are carrying.
“Besides the two locomotives, it’s a solid line that inhibits overtaking in such places. We have a long way to go with these guys — but what do you expect, most of these started [carrying passengers] with motorbikes, then into a Bongo [minibus] and jumped into busses.
“Unfortunately our system is poor — they just buy the [driver’s licence] cards without proper training. That’s why we have more fatal accidents with these guys.”
Mariam Eliza Kamoto added some testimony, saying when traveling to Lilongwe in the early morning hours in August, a TAM TAM bus overtook them in heavy fog along Zalewa road and escaped a head-on collision by a whisker with an oncoming lorry that had been hidden by fog on the other side.
Kamoto said fortunately there was enough space on the side of the road for the lorry to veer to and let the bus through.
Zahid Munshi and Bright Chikaonda suggested that all long distance buses should have speed trackers to limit their speed to 80km/hr.
“These guys are reckless,” Chikaonda said. “The owners need to put speed trackers in these buses — unless the speeding is what qualifies a driver for them. This is at a curve — a continuous white line speaks for itself!” he said.
A report by Malawi News Agency (MANA) had quoted Ntcheu police spokesperson, Hastings Chigalu as saying the minibus registration number DZ7042 was coming from the direction of Dedza heading to Ntcheu and upon reaching Guya Village it collided with the TAM TAM buss registration number CP7920.
Chigalu reported that the minibus was coming from the direction of Ntcheu heading to Lilongwe and that the reasons then as to what caused the collision were yet to be established.
He said all 13 who died — the driver and 12 passengers — were from the minibus and died upon arrival at Dedza District Hospital.
Of the 13 dead people, seven were males and six females and three passengers sustained serious injuries and were treated at Dedza District Hospital.