Two minibus drivers jailed over demos

A court in Blantyre has sentenced two minibus drivers to 9 months in prison for proposing violence during the recent protests held by minibus drivers and conductors in Blantyre.

The demonstrations which took place on January 26, 2021, saw minibus drivers and conductors blocking roads as they were demanding authorities to consider reducing fuel prices or allow 3 per seat capacity for passengers in minibuses.

According Blantyre police publicist Sub Inspector Augustus Nkhwazi, on this particular day, the two drivers who have been identified as Alexander Mponda 36 and Dickson Makumba aged 33, and are both minibus drivers, caused commotion in the commercial city.

Sub Inspector Nkhwazi said the two were shouting on top of their voices thereby inciting a lot of people to gather along the stretch of the road between Mandala and Ginnery Corner in Blantyre just to see what was happening.

The publicist further added that their shouting caused disruption of traffic flow thereby infringing rights of other road users who were not taking part in the demonstrations.

Nkhwazi said the police were informed of the incident and officers rushed to the scene where they apprehended the two.

The two were charged with proposing violence contrary to section 87(1) and conduct likely to cause breach of peace contrary to section 181 of the penal code and when they appeared before court, the two pleaded guilty and were convicted.

In his submission, Police prosecutor Sub-Inspector Justice Manolo of Blantyre Police pleaded with the court to mete out stiff punishment to the two persons saying their conduct infringed upon the rights of other people.

Manolo further told the court that the actions of the two put the life of a female taxi passenger in danger since the tyres of the taxi were deflated while the woman was being rushed to hospital.

Passing the sentence, Senior Resident Magistrate Akya Mwanyongo agreed with the state prosecutor and sentenced the two to 9 months imprisonment with Hard Labour for the first count and 1 month suspended for six months implying that they will serve nine months.

Alexander Mponda hails from Khozi village while Dickson Makumba comes from Mwalawasuntha village both from the area of Traditional Authority Makwangwala in Ntcheu district.

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