By JOHN SAKALA
The Zambia Roads & Highway Safety Group (ZRHSG) has noted with dismay the continued harassment and inconveniencing of the travelling public by bus station pastors and other religious preachers and is calling on the Road Transport and Safety Agency (RTSA) and the Bus owners to put a stop to this.
Pastors and other religious preachers have for a long time been boarding long distance buses at the main station as the bus is departing and begin preaching to passengers without due regard to their freedom of choice and religion. This preaching ends up with passengers being coerced to make a donation to these pastors and religious preachers before they drop off. Nowadays these pastors waylay buses as they enter a city and begin the preaching to tired passengers as the bus heads towards the main bus station.
“The Consumer Protection and Competition Commission should also develop a commuter charter to help popularise the rights of the traveling public and the duties of the bus owners towards their clients,” says Group Administrator Mthoniswa Banda.
“I once got on a bus going to Solwezi awe it was a hell of a ride. We had a man of God take us from Lusaka to Chisamba, another one picked from Kabwe to Kapiri and then a medicine seller on the bus started promoting his medicine. Ndola to Kitwe another man of gold, Kitwe to Chingola another man of gold who noticed I was so fade up and decided to preach about me and how I was going to hell,” said a commuter and member of the ZRHSG.
Zambia Roads & Highway Safety Group (ZRHSG) feels this behaviour needs to stop.
“No commuter rights in Zambia. Passengers are abused left right and centre. I tried in vain to engage the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission for a help in developing a commuter rights charter but nothing came out from our discussion,” posted another member.
Another member said “This has really been a thorn in the neck. Commuters need to enjoy their journey and the drivers need to concentrate on the road. It’s public nuisance. The bus is public therefore they should not be at liberty without due permission. Law must be applied.”
The Zambia Roads & Highway Safety Group (ZRHSG) hopes that RTSA, the ZCCPC and the Bus Owners can meet and resolve this problem that is disturbing the peace of the majority of bus commuters.
Zambia Roads & Highway Safety Group (ZRHSG) is an online group with over 1,200 members and is for sharing experiences and knowledge on road safety and defensive driving on Zambian roads and Highways by both professional drivers, car owners and the majority road users as passengers or pedestrians. These discussions will help identify road safety issues, bad policies and bad road designs requiring improvement by government and its agencies such as RTSA, RDA, NRFA, ZP and local councils.
Every week, the ZRHSG will produce a statement summarising the group discussion and sharing this opoinion with Road Safety agencies and other policy makers so they improve Zambia’s Road Safety.