The Mzuzu Senior Resident Magistrate Court on 24th May 2016 sentenced 14 bicycle tax operators to pay a fine of MK100,000.00 each in default to serve 3 years Imprisonment with Hard Labour for setting on fire a motorcycle belonging to their chairman.
The court heard that in 2015 Mzuzu Police Station was overwhelmed with the upsurge of traffic accidents involving Kabaza operators. On daily basis five accidents were being reported. To avoid such accidents Police allocated all Kabaza operators to designated points.
Unfortunately the convicts were not happy with such operation, therefore they blamed their chairman for siding with Police.
On February 8, 2016 the leadership of Kabaza Association were invited to a meeting at police station and Mr Joseph Sitima who is the chairman of the Mzuzu Kabaza Operators Association attended the meeting.
Before going to the meeting on that particular day, Mr Joseph Sitima left his motorcycle registration number BS 7252 worthy K1.3 Million with his friend.
After hearing that the chairman had gone to a meeting at the Police station the convicts became angry, they gathered and forcebly took the chairman’s motorcycle to Namizu junction where they willingly and unlawfully burnt it to ashes.
They were all arrested and appeared in court where they pleaded not guilty to a Malicious Damage charge.
However after the parading of state witnesses, the presiding Senior Resident Magistrate Anthony Banda convicted them.
State Prosecutor Assistant Superintendent Betty Msowoya asked the court to impose a stiffer sentence to deter other would be offenders.
In mitigation, the suspects told the court they are bread winners of their families and pleaded for lenient sentence. Nevertheless, as a lesson to other would be offenders, the court slapped them with the said sentence.
The convicts names are Davis Mhango, 25 years, Soko 25, Steven Mtambo 31, Amos Phiri 16, Charles Mkandawire 19, Juman Phiri 23, Thom Kaunda 23, Fabian Mbewe 30, Innocent Mkandawire 22, Likwambe 18, Petros Ndhuli 20, Rastin Ndhuli 18, and Stuwart Magawa 25.
Meanwhile the operation has proved successful as the accidents have now reduced from five to zero.