Illegal Kombi Operators, Mushikashika Defy Ban
Private commuter omnibus (kombi) operators have continued operating in defiance of a government ban while also refusing to place their vehicles under the control of the Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (ZUPCO).
The government banned kombis from operating ostensibly as part of measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus since last year.
The banned kombis and illegal pirate taxis commonly referred to as mushikashika, are back in full force following the relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions in March.
The Government has made it clear that ZUPCO is the sole operator of urban public transport using buses and kombis.
Private operators were directed to join the ZUPCO franchise and operate under ZUPCO control and rules.
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The police have been told to enforce the regulations and remove the pirate kombis and the mushikashika but it seems they are either unwilling or unable to enforce the order.
According to a report by The Herald, on Friday, along Simon Mazorodze Road, near Mbare Police Station at the ZBC corner, over 10 police officers were in front of illegal transport operators loading behind them and ignoring them.
Meanwhile, illegal transport operators argued that it is difficult for them to stop pirating because that is their only source of income to fend for their families.
They say that registering with ZUPCO is expensive, hence they cannot be contracted to them.
The ZUPCO buses and kombis are too few and expensive and this forces commuters to use the banned vehicles at time riding in open trucks.