Tanzanian bus crew nearly manhandle RDA, RTSA, ZANIS officers

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A joint operations team comprising officers from the Road Development Agency (RDA) and Road Traffic and Safety Agency (RTSA) was last night nearly attacked by a Tanzanian Taqwa Cargo bus crew.

This was after the joint operations team, which was accompanied by a Zambia News and Information Services (ZANIS) news crew, intercepted and impounded the bus for carrying passengers in an inhuman condition.

Most of the passengers on the bus were Zambians and Tanzanians.

This happened at Mkushi turnoff at around 20:30 hours yesterday after all police officers had knocked off and left a lone RDA officer who had mounted a mobile weigh bridge.

A RTSA officer and the Deputy Minister of Transport Panji Kaunda were also at the mobile weigh bridge.

The Tanzanians resisted opening the door of the bus when RDA Officer Mercy Mwila wanted to see what they were carrying.

The resistance aroused the curiosity of all members of the joint operations team on the road who forced the door open.

When the team entered the Cargo bus, it discovered that passengers were squatting on the floor of the bus because it has no seats.

Confusions ensued when the driver of the bus and his passengers noticed that there was a news crew that was filming them and the cargo on the bus.

The driver and passengers almost roughed up the ZANIS news crew and the RDA officers who in turn called for police protection.

Police arrived at the scene after an hour and found that some Tanzania passengers who were suspected to have no travel documents had run away while Zambia passengers also left after being refunded their money.

The bus was impounded and detained at Mkushi police station but it has since been released after the bus crew paid KR270 for contravening road regulations and conditions contrary to Act number 11 of 2002.

Mkushi Traffic Police In-Charge Stone Chinunka said the Tanzanian bus driver was only charged for admission of guilt while the violent passengers were not detained although they spent the night at the police station as they waited for the release of their bus.

Mr. Chinunka said at the time of detention, there were 23 Tanzanian and seven Zambian passengers.

He however explained that all the Zambian passengers disembarked and got on other buses leaving only Tanzanians on board of the Taqwa Cargo bus.

But one of the eyewitnesses at the scene said the Tanzanian Taqwa bus has been contravening Zambian traffic rules with impunity.

The eyewitness, who sought anonymity, alleged that police officers were aware of this matter and would do nothing to ensure that the Tanzanian drivers follow traffic rules.