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Driven to despair

DANGEROUS: Pupils in an open truck (Pic: Newsbae on Twitter)
DANGEROUS: Pupils in an open truck (Pic: Newsbae on Twitter)

Yet another crisis in our country is raging with no solution in sight – well, actually there should be quite a simple cure but the powers that be won’t swallow their pride.

The public transport sector has been in shambles for some time. Instead of things improving as was promised, the situation is getting worse.

When government introduced restrictive measures last year to curb the spread of Covid-19, it also banned commuter omnibuses, which were widely used by the majority.

The decision-makers then ruled that government-owned Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (Zupco) had the full mandate to provide transport throughout the country.

Individuals and other associations in the transport sector were invited to register with the company so they could also provide the services.

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The problem with Zupco is, like many parastatals in our country, it’s a failed company with very little to offer the public.

Thus commuters have been queuing for hours to get to and from work due to lack of transport, with the problem getting considerably worse since the opening of schools.

SAD SIGHT: Children packed in like sardines (Pic: Newsbae on Twitter)

SAD SIGHT: Children packed in like sardines (Pic: Newsbae on Twitter)

What has further exacerbated the situation is that government has made it an offence to use pirate taxis.

However, desperate to get to school, work or whatever destination, people are left with no choice but to risk the wrath of the law and hop into the available vehicle, where they will be ‘packed in like sardines’.

Images showing the dire situation were awash on social media this week but two caught my attention in particular as they were of school children.

Of course Zupco has partnered with the National Railways of Zimbabwe to transport the public but that will not solve the crisis because of the distance many still have to walk to access the train.

It is ideal for commuters, especially school-going children, to use transport that leaves them closer to their schools and homes hence they will always opt for the kombis or pirate taxis though operating illegally.

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It’s quite disheartening to see the desperation of commuters having to spend hours in a queue to get a seat on a bus while our leaders continue being stubborn by monopolizing the public transport sector.

There is truly no harm in going back to the old system of kombis and allowing people to choose between the latter and the government controlled buses.

A solution needs to be found as a matter of urgency, especially where pupils are concerned or else ‘it won’t end well’ as they would say in the latest lingo.

In other news, at least one political party is formed in Zimbabwe every week and we all know why. Who doesn’t want a car for a freebie in these trying times – and not just an ordinary car for that matter but a luxurious 4×4 vehicle?

As I reported recently, more than 15 ‘Presidents’ of little known various political parties are driving around in brand new Isuzu D-Max double cabs they were given by President Emmerson Mnangagwa under the Political Actors Dialogue platform.

This has inspired many to form and register their own parties hoping to receive their own set of wheels after the 2023 polls. It’s enough to drive one to despair!

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