Outpouring of generosity after pic of Malawian nabbed for transporting 9 kids on bicycle goes viral

MALAWIAN cyclist Mavuto Mussa, who was arrested in Chikwawa outside Blantyre for transporting nine pupils on his bicycle to a nursery school, received a tricycle on Tuesday, local media reported.

Independent newspaper The Nation reported on its Twitter account that well-wishers gave Mussa a tricycle after his story went viral on social media platforms following his arrest on Friday.

The Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) reported that Mussa was arrested for ‘dangerously’ ferrying nine pupils on his bicycle to a nursery school.

Pictures of him handcuffed in the back of a police van with his bicycle next to him went viral. Another picture of him riding a bicycle with nine children packed on it also flooded social media.

He was later released and warned to report at Chilomo Police Post on October 26 along with the parents of the pupils and the school committee for advice.

Respondents on social media called on the police to compensate him for loss of income after he was released, while others said the incident was a wake-up call for the government to realise that public transport was seriously needed.

Mussa was also showered with praise on social media platforms, with users stating he was a ‘hero’ to the children.

Receiving the tricycle, Mussa said the trauma of last week had turned into a blessing.

‘I was arrested by the police and released within an hour. I never knew I will be smiling today. I thank Mr Gerald Kampanikiza for coming to my rescue,’ he told the Nation Online.

Kampanikiza, from Lilongwe, organised a social media funding campaign for Mussa.

‘When I set up a Facebook group, the response was overwhelming and within an hour 250,000 kwacha (about $330) was raised. Initially, we wanted to buy a motorcycle for him, but a sponsor suggested we buy a tricycle instead. We invited Mussa to Lilongwe and the sponsor bought him this tricycle,’ he said.

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