May 18, 2021

Truck Drivers Threaten to Block Borders

Truck drivers have threatened to close borders so that there will be no goods coming in and or going out of the country if their demands to receive not less than K148,000 are not met by their employers come December 2020 salaries.

On 13 November 2020, truck drivers and government in the presence of their employers signed an agreement to end their strike which had forced many trucks carrying goods not to travel on the roads of Malawi while their grievances were being heard by the authorities.

Upon signing the agreement to end the strike, truck drivers thought that by the end of November 2020, they would have started receiving their new salaries, but this has did not come to fruition, following which they agreed to wait for December 2020 salaries before takinh drastic actions such as blocking the roads of Malawi to any truck carrying goods.

Most truck drivers are currently receiving salaries in the range of K10,000–K20,000 per month. They survive on ferrying unauthorized passengers and goods to supplement the little money they receive on a monthly, despite the fact that they carry goods worth millions of Kwachas for their employers.

To make matters worse, truck drivers are accusing Frank Banda, Spokesperson to the Minister of Transport, Hon. Sidik Mia, for allegedly treating them like animals, saying he connives with Indians owning trucks to be carrying goods on the roads of Malawi rather than the owners of the soil saying his conduct is affecting them, calling for him to change.

The truck drivers are appealing to Hon. Mia to talk to his Spokesperson to a change, with a warning that should he continue displaying such conduct as evidently seen, they will mobilize themselves to put the country to a standstill as they did last time stopping trucks with goods on the roads of Malawi, a development which they do not want but contact and dialogue which is a pre–requisite for peace, law and order.

Meanwhile, Muvi wa Chilungamo has advised the Tonse Alliance government that solutions should not be found when angry people have held demonstrations and protests, saying this is breeding war for Malawi, hence the authorities should look at the issues of truck drivers seriously.

Its Commander in Chief, Bantu Saunders Jumah, is urging President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera to talk to Hon. Mia to fulfill the promises reached with the truck drivers for the country to move forward, adding Malawi has already seen two demonstrations happening within 6 months of Tonse government in power, describing this as dangerous and an egg for war in Malawi.

Jumah asks the Tonse Alliance government to check what is happening in Uganda, Somalia and Central African Republic [CAR], there are wars taking place, Malawians do not want wars, contact and dialogue is the first step to good governance, hence appealing to President Dr. Chakwera, Hon. Mia and all the concerned parties, to resolve the truck drivers issue in an urgently manner so that Malawians not see another pending demonstrations for Malawi to move.

……’’Let there be a proposal to the Tonse government to go back to the drawing board to have a Trade Union for all Truck drivers to join so that they can be presenting their grievances as one, saying this will minimize future demonstrations by truck drivers,’’…..says Jumah.

By Vincent Gunde

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