On January 26, minibus drivers in Malawi went on strike against the government's measures to limit seating capacity. In addition, the drivers are also demanding from the government to lower fuel prices, because recently the government increased them. Unlike bus drivers in many other countries who demand a seat reduction as a health protection, these minibus drivers are not employees of public transport companies. They loose their income without compensation. The limitation of seating capacity lead to a decrease of passengers up to 60%. Together with the increase of fuel prices these measures threatens the livelihood of the drivers.
In the cities of Lilongwe, Blantyre and Zomba, as well as in districts such as Mwanza, minibus drivers parked their vehicles and blocked the road. In some areas, such as Blantyre and Zomba, police used tear gas against protesting bus drivers.
According to reports, the protests were successful on one issue. Instead of limiting from four to two people per bench, three people per bench are now allowed. This example shows very well that so-called "health care measures" like these are not for the peoples health in reality, but worsens the situation for the people. The measures should not be made at the costs of the people. The struggle against these measures, as well as the struggle for better health care for the people is justified and necessary.