BY MASAU PROBLEM
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has declared war on unlicensed private passenger carriers, a stance that many believe will deepen the transport crisis in the country.
Mnangagwa’s May Day speech, which reinforced days of sustained police crackdowns on private carriers, only made matters worse for commuters in urban areas, particularly in Harare and Bulawayo.
At least 70 pirate taxi drivers and their unregistered vehicles were arrested on Sunday as the operation targeting them continued in and around the capital Harare where so far 459 cars have been seized, according to police.
In his pre-recorded Workers’ Day speech, Mnangagwa accused unlicensed passenger carriers of defrauding workers and swore: “The second republic is determined to retain the purchasing power of workers, through transport systems viable audiences. The government will not sit idly by while our workers’ hard-earned incomes are stolen by mushikashika and makoronyera. Nope!
“You, as our workers, deserve an efficient and affordable transportation system so that production time as well as your family time is not wasted in transportation queues. During peak hours, workers must be transported with the greatest of ease.
However, transport operators and passengers have accused the government of creating a monopoly of the Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (Zupco) when it is clear that the company does not have the capacity to transport commuters during off-hours. peak.
Most transport operators, who had joined the Zupco franchise, withdrew their vehicles, citing poor management, late payment for their service and continued fuel shortages. There is also the issue of diverting the few buses that are there for Zanu PF functions, leaving commuters stranded.
Zimbabwe Passengers Association President Tafadzwa Goliati said: “The economy is opening up and transport is an integral part of the economy. There needs to be adequate transportation for everyone. Schools and other sectors of the economy have reopened and some buses that are under Zupco have returned to rural areas or highway routes, so there is a need to increase transport operators. The monopoly in a country like Zimbabwe will only create illegal taxis, and the government needs to rectify the problem.
A survey by NewsDay yesterday showed many commuters stranded, while others traveled several miles as Harare police banned public transport not registered with Zupco.
Commuters have accused the government of making life difficult for them by creating a monopoly in the transport sector.
“The government should be blamed for wreaking havoc on the transport sector. Zupco buses are unreliable and most buses serving city routes are not in good condition. Instead of protecting its citizens, our government tends to make our lives more difficult,” said Harare commuter Enock Hore.
- Follow us on Twitter @NewsDayZimbabwe