Commuter stranded as Bulawayo Kombis withdraw in protest against fuel price hikes and unfair competition from government Zupco buses


According to the MDC National Spokesperson MDC Jacob Mafume, Zimbabwe’s fuel price increaseis bound to drive inflation out of control as it already is the second highest in the world, actually worse than war torn countries like Somalia and Afghanistan.

The MDC says the fuel industry is in chaos because of the militarised Mnangagwa Zanu pf regime deliberate protection of cartel interests along with government propaganda surrounding ZUPCO buses which at present are not working as it is clear that Zupco is failing to meet public demand as witnessed yesterday with commuters failing to afford return fares after the militarised Mnangagwa Zanu pf regime’s reckless decision on fuel.

Bulawayo Kombi operators have left commuters stranded after withdrawing kombis from servicing routes in protest against the government decision to remove support for fuel importers who were receiving the US$ at 1:1 with the RTGS as they now have to source the scarce forex currency from the interbank market

According to the Finance and Economic Development Secretary, George Guvamatanga , the Zimbabwe government decided to cushion commuters against the ongoing fuel price hikes when, on Monday , the Zimbabwe government announced that ZUPCO bus fares have been slashed by 50 percent for both urban and rural travel with immediate effect, meaning that distances within a 20km radius will cost 50c (RTGS), while 20km-30km will now cost 75c and 30km to 40km will now cost US$1.

The government wants the regime owned Zupco buses to operate 24/7 to cater for those who work different shifts as the current scenario assumes everyone works the traditional 8am-5pm shift.

The transport crisis due to the fuel chaos in Zimbabwe led to petrol selling at $4.97 and diesel $4.87 a litre as from yesterday at prominent service stations, whichimmediately triggered a massive rise in public transport fares by kombis.

Mnangagwa’s militarised Zanu pf ‘OPERATION RESTORE SANITY’ which means Zupco fares have fallen by 50 percent as from from 21 May 2019 to cushion the travelling public, with an expected new consignment of more Zupco buses due to arrive next week to meet the increased demand for the buses for both urban and rural public.

The Zimbabwe government has also pledged to ensure that the buses will operate on a set timetable rather than waiting for buses to fill up, and buses will be available after hours, providing a safety net for the vulnerable Zimbabwe society, in the government’s view, austerity with social safety net by a responsible Government. says that in an ideal world, with a responsible legitimate government in place, with people’s interests at heart, the withdrawal of Kombi’s from the roads and their replacement by Zupco bus services would be good for the people, for several reasons including, set safe responsible driver training programmes where the government places importance on professional services such as licenced drivers, trained to standard, who have customer service training, where the drivers are accountable for not only their passenger safety but that of the public on the roads such as other road users be they other vehicles such as cars buses, trucks, cyclists, pedestrians, pets and wild life but overall the government is fully responsible on account of Corporate responsibility where , as in other countries, the Management is actually charged in court for any dangerous acts such as dangerous driving, using non road worthy vehicles and more as the whole company has a responsibility to be safe.

Zupco buses if operated correctly would mean that all their vehicles are road taxed and fully insured to operate , meaning that loss , damage, injury or deaths are all covered unlike at present where the majority of kombis are either driven by unqualified, disqualified, dangerous, drunk or uninsured drivers operating non road worthy vehicles and placing everyone’s lives at risk.

When Zupco buses are fully operational, it means that roads are safer as they will operate on time table and not be racing dangerously for passengers or operating on daily targets for income generated.

These vehicles will be easily monitored with respect to standards as they will all be operated and monitored according to Vehicle Inspection Department (VID) standards.

The people of today all have aresponsibility to protect the planet from climate change and that includes shifting from fossil based fuels such as oil, coal, petrol, diesel and other to renewable energy.

This is not a major challenge for Zimbabwe except that we need the political will to shift the people’s thinking and move away from coal, diesel, petrol and other fossil based fuels. Zimbabwe has an abundant source of solar energy or sunlight which we are not taking advantage of. The nation should be focusing on harvesting solar energy from solar energy farms which can easily be put in place countrywide by erecting solar pannels wherever anyone has the land and then linking them to a national grid of electricity supply where they feed their supply to a centralised grid for the benefit of the nation and gain income from the power generated.

This would automatically mean that we have a cleaner climate with respect to less or no emissions from vehicles, silent vehicles, electricity , electric buses, electric cars, electric trains available nationwide 24/7 at very cheap rates for all, generate employment, while people breathe cleaner air and the environment is cleaner and still sell excess electricity to neighbouring countries slow to catch on to solar power opportunities.

Imagine what this means for emergency services such as hospitals with unlimited solar energy for electricity, boarding schools with electricity, homes, whether urban or rural with cheap electricity and students able to study safely at home, traffic lights , streets and everywhere covered by clean energy fuel or solar powered electricity. We have an abundance of the resource for this and Zimbabwe only needs the political will in place to clean up the mess we have allowed to be in place all along. We are clearly the last generation who can either defend the future of our descendants and children or simply be spectators and join the global financial greed where we sit back and at the very least simply be willing participants in the destruction of the climate as we destroy our own future, with rising temperatures, rising sea levels, polluted air and climate along with plastic pollution. The future will always hold our generation responsible for failure to take responsibility and immediate action by dealing with the pending disaster which we all know is unavoidable, but choose to live in denial of. CAN YOU LIVE WITH THAT?….DISCUSS! More news to follow. Sibusiso Ngwenya

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