Malawi Police in Phalombe district are keeping in custody a minibus driver and his conductor for carrying 24 people in a 16 seater minibus.
The two were charged for endangering lives which is contrary to section 237 of the penal code.
The suspects have been identified as Steven Lawrence, 34, and driver of the Nissan Caravan minibus James Bwanaisa, 29.
It is said that the vehicle was cornered around Likulezi trading centre on Sunday morning when it was coming from Blantyre going to Chiringa in Phalombe with 24 people on board instead of the recommended 16.
Phalombe Police spokesperson Augustus Nkhwazi has told Malawi24 in an interview that even in the driver’s cabin there were four people instead of three.
“Imagine there were four people beside driver’s seat instead of three people and in total there were 24 people in this minibus,” said Nkhwazi.
Meanwhile, the police have asked Malawians to tip the police whenever they are forced to get crammed in a minibus as this put their lives in danger.
“It is the responsibility of the passengers to inform the Police with full information when the minibus carries over three people per seat.
“As for the minibus operators, they have to follow all the roads rules and procedures so that we should avoid some of the accidents which come due to overloading,” concluded Nkhwazi.
The suspects are the first operators to be arrested in the district since the new bylaws were imposed. Minibus operators have been protesting against these laws which became effective about two months ago.
Lawrence hails from Mgona Village in the area of Traditional Authority (T/A) Chowe in Mangochi district while Bwanaisa comes from Mpembu Village TA Kapeni in Blantyre.