CONDUCTOR NI MUNTU

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SIMON MUNTEMBA writes

“IT is not true that all conductors are bad people or are rude towards commuters. We are not dirty people or criminals,” says a Lusaka bus conductor.

James Ng’ona, 31, a conductor on Chelstone-Avondale route mini-bus, told The Sun in an exclusive interview, that people simply misunderstand conductors because they are just normal people like everyone else.

James accused some commuters of being disrespectful and “difficult” to conductors which he said at time attracted a rude reaction from them.

And Evans Chilufya, 29, an assistant to James, observed that it was wrong for people to consider all mini bus drivers and conductors as being rude, reckless and brutal because some of them are not.

He said that “people are different.”

The following is an excerpt from our discussion with James:

The Sun: Hello, how are you? So tell me who is James?

James: Ndifye bwino. Ninebo James Ng’ona, nakwata imiyaka 31. Nalyupa nakwata na bana babili. Njikala ku Zanimuone. Ninebo conductor (I’m fine. My names are James Ng’ona, a conductor. I am 31 years old. I am married and I have two children. I live in Lusaka’s Zanimuone area).

The Sun: How far have you gone in school?

James: Nalisambilila sana ine. Nalikwata amapepazi. Napelele mu grade 9.

The Sun: What time do you start your day and what time do you knock off?

James: I wake up at 04:00 hours to prepare myself and I report for work at 05:00 hours. We normally stop “rolling” at 22:00 hours and I normally reach home around 23:00 hours.

The Sun: What challenges do you face as a conductor and what makes you tick?

James: Our boss sometimes gets furious, shouts at us and even threatens or  insults us when we fail to meet the cashing for the day, when the bus breaks down, or we are involved is a road accident when it is not the fault of the driver or the conductor. The same happens when we fail to look after the bus properly, when it looks dirty or gets scratched. Some passengers are also naturally bitter and look down on us and want to treat us like we are human beings. I sometimes simply keep quiet as a way control anger and avoid quarreling with them.

Ilyashi lya cashing boss yalikosa pantu ama bus yalifula. Ukasanga ati driver alekubika pressure ati indalama shikumane but nishi nayikosa elo futi nabena ama passengers bambi balekusalulafye. So kukosafye bigge.

The Sun: Conductors are considered to be rude, brutal, dirty people who are also involved in all sorts of criminal activities. What would you say about that?

James: Bufi. Tebonse ababa brutal. Twalipusana. Ifwe bambi tuli ma Christian. Ifwe fweba mu station twalikwata amalamulo. Tabasuminisha ukutuka ama passangers kuti bakutamfya ama bosses besu ngabaumfwa. Bamo balapepa ichamba mu Chibolya no kuijaba ama drugs. But ifwe bambi tatuchite ifyo. Ubwalwa bwena tulanwa but not ukupepa ichamba.

Ukusamba nakwena tulasamba bamudala. Teti umuntu wa normal na bakashi afilwe ukusamba. So ifyo fyena fyabufi, balitupatafye abantu.

We have some isolated cases of bus drivers or conductors abusing drugs or beer but not everyone does.

The Sun: What would be your advice to fellow conductors?

James: Umuchinshi ulafwaika kuma passangers pantu ebatupela indalama. Without ama passangers teti tukwate ulupiya. Elo futi not ukunwa ubwalwa panchito. Nokusamba guys tulesamba pantu tulesebanya inchito yesu.

The Sun: Your final remarks?

James: We conductors are good people not everyone is rude towards passengers. Passengers should also treat us as human beings and accord us the respect that we deserve. We ensure that you travel well and reach your destinations safely therefore, we deserved to be treated with dignity.

And to my fellow conductors, let’s always be polite to passengers.

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