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Zimbabwe continues to endure crises of unimaginable proportions

05 May 2021 at 18:22hrs | Views
Statement by Mr. Michael Sibangilizwe Nkomo, a Zimbabwean citizen and aspiring president of the Zimbabwe African People's Union (ZAPU) on the transport crisis in Zimbabwe following the banning of public transport operators.

FELLOW Zimbabweans, our nation continues to endure crises of unimaginable proportions arising from failure by the Zanu-PF government, headed by Emmerson Mnangagwa, to come up with tangible solutions to the myriad of problems that our fellow countrymen continue to face up with on a daily basis.

We are in the midst of an economic crisis that the government has failed to fully address save for stop gap and half-hearted measures that Mnangagwa's government continues to drop on a daily basis so as to be seen as fully seized with and finding solutions to the national problems.

It is sad that at a time when some Zimbabweans are trying to earn a living through running commuter omnibus businesses, the government of the day has sought to punish those people by "banning" commuter omnibuses from operating, throughout the country for reasons known to none but those in government circles.

What is even worrying is that there is a standing ruling by the courts that was handed down which states that the Zimbabwe United Passenger Company- that state-run bus company which government, through the Minister of Local Government, July Moyo, is trying by all means to shore up, has no monopoly over the transport sector.

This effectively means that ZUPCO should be, in the eyes of the court, which is an independent arbiter in such matters by the way, allowed to compete with other players and should only draw customers to itself by way of offering second to none services than this colonial system where government has continued to decimate the private players by forcing them to join the state-run ZUPCO by force to an extent that there is promulgation of illegal and draconian statutes to force everyone to join ZUPCO.

It should be borne in mind that a decision to join ZUPCO must be made by one on their own volition than to be dragged to join the company. What is further condescending is the fact that ZUPCO as an entity, as we have come to know, is only interested in these vehicles when they are in good working conditions. We have come to understand that the company does not even offer assistance to vehicle owners when their vehicles develop faults and breakdowns let alone situations where the vehicles demand servicing to remain in good condition.

We take great exception, as Zimbabweans, to this draconian way of managing affairs and call upon the government to urgently find ways in which private transport operators are allowed to find their way back to the business.

We believe that allowing these operators back into operation will not only save families from starving as most of these operators have been fending for their families through this transport business but will also aid the declaration by President Emmerson Mnangagwa that Zimbabwe is indeed open for business.

It is well acknowledged that transport is one of the anchors of economic activity in the country.

If government believes in an open economy system, it should also ensure that one of the wheels that aid an open economy, which is a vibrant transport economy, is allowed to operate without any impediments.

Zimbabwe cannot be open for business when public transport, which essentially carries everyone, is under lock and key.

We implore government, through the minister of Local Government, to re-consider its position and lift the grip that government has put in the public transport sector.

We are of the view that if the idea is to limit the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, there could be measures that will be put in place to ensure that safety is paramount within the public transport sector.

We are sure that players in that sector have in place protocols that are in line with measures that the Ministry of Health and Child Care whose main aim is to help reduce the spread of the pandemic.

In that regard, we would like to urge the government to open lines of communication with the transport sector players to ensure that these protocols, if they are missing, are actually agreed to and put in place so that our dear fellow Zimbabweans can be allowed back in business again.

It is also prudent to note that the decision to keep these transporters away from the roads is not only affecting commuters. It is also affecting government revenues as well as taxes that the operators pay to local authorities throughout the country- revenue that the local authorities will then use to fix a myriad of problems they face on a daily basis.

We believe that government will soon see the sense in allowing public transport operators back in business and we hope that a decision, the right one, is reached soon.

May I also appeal to the leadership of associations formed to represent interests of private commuter omnibus operators to also ensure that those they employ ensure that they carry out their businesses in a tranquil manner that avoids chaos, confusion, and accidents on the roads.

Their failure to do this will give the government reason to continue stifling their operations through these draconian and archaic pieces of legislation. My request is that the operators should be guided by ubuntu all the time and that your crews should try and treat customers in a humane manner so that those that are against you do not find any excuse to keep you off the roads once more.

I thank you.

Michael Sibangilizwe Nkomo aspiring president of the Zimbabwe African People's Union (ZAPU)

Source - Mr. Michael Sibangilizwe Nkomo
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