Barely two weeks after Mzuzu Police officer-in-charge John Nyondo was posted to Blantyre, police in Mzuzu seized more than 300 bicycle taxis during an Easter sweeping exercise.
The action puts to rest claims that police have lost the war against bicycle operators commonly known as kabaza, in the wake of Nyondo’s departure.
When he arrived in Mzuzu as the police station’s officer-in-charge last year, Nyondo quickly made his presence felt and became infamous among bicycle operators in the city by seizing hundreds of bicycles whose owners did not adhere to city by-laws.
Speaking in an interview, deputy spokesperson for Mzuzu Police Station Patrick Saulosi said the exercise was purposely conducted targeting bicycle operators and street vendors in the city.
Said Saulosi: “We wanted to demonstrate to all bicycle operators and street vendors that we are there to enforce law.
“The by-laws of this city do not allow them [bicycle operators] to operate and congest the central business district, thereby creating unnecessary accidents. They have designated areas.”
He said: “As you have seen, in the just-ended Easter Festive season, we conducted a sweeping exercise where 30 bicycle operators were arrested and will appear before Mzuzu Magistrate’s Court any time. We are doing everything to keep our city clean.”
Meanwhile, police and Mzuzu City Council are discussing how to deal with bicycle operators since fines for perpetrators to retrieve their bicycles are low.
The police charge K5 000 per bicycle if caught.
**Reporting by Chikumbutso Kajani