The Mthwakazi Republic Party (MRP) says the reintroduction of buses on local routes is meant to push small scale transport operators out of business instead of complementing the mass public transport system.
Government re-introduced buses to ply various routes across cities and towns, after a public outcry following an increase in fares by commuter omnibus operators.
In Bulawayo, a total of 77 buses started servicing various routes last week charging $1, except for the Cowdray Park route which is pegged at $1, 50 a trip.
This forced commuter omnibuses to reduce their fares to $1 as well.
However, MRP president Mqondisi Moyo told CITE that instead of capacitating the local transport business in the region, the government chose to bring buses to destroy the local transport business.
“What this government move does, is to fly against the spirit of devolution that the government has tried frantically to suppress,” he claimed.
Moyo noted that the cause of the problems taking place was as a result of the government which had failed to run the country properly.
“If you are truly a resident of Matabeleland, let me remind you that all that is happening in our region is a direct contribution of this failed government. We all agree that the Kombi drivers and conductors have not been treating people well, but they are our children, we don’t need Zanu PF and Harare to rein our own children to order. We need to do so ourselves. All that we need to do is to bring back our power as residents of Bulawayo and control the taxi industry,” he said.
The MRP president argued that competing with local business as a corrective measure was wrong, as it defied business sense.
“A government that cannot control imitshova, is not a normal one. A government that opts to compete with its indigenous businesses, as a corrective measure to corporate sanity, is not a normal one. A government that retaliates by condemning its business people to poverty is out of touch with reality and is not a normal one,” he said.
“The few kombis that operate in Bulawayo, employs three people each, which is the driver, his assistant, and the owner. The proceeds take hundreds of children to school and feed many mouths.”
He also alleged that the introduction of buses was a political ploy by Zanu PF, which was after looking after its own selfish interests.
“These buses are not from government, they are from Zanu PF which has identified a political opportunity. (President Emmerson) Mnangagwa must stop his deceptive mantra that Zimbabwe is open for business. These are just executive lies,” Moyo said.
“The entire industry in Bulawayo was systematically relocated from Bulawayo under our noses, and we kept quiet. The National Railways of Zimbabwe was deliberately destroyed to give more business opportunities to Harare owners of Haulage trucks to make millions, and we kept quiet. Today they are pushing out our little transport industry, and we are keeping quiet, in fact, we are tripping over each other supporting them. Wise up Mthwakazi.”
Moyo’s sentiments come after Bulawayo Mayor Councillor Solomon Mguni wrote on his Facebook social media page, that the ZUPCO buses were in conflict with the city’s transport policy.
He said the local authority had not been consulted when the buses were introduced.
“For the record, the introduction of handful ZUPCO buses in the name of the so-called mass public transport system, by the central government without consulting the city of Bulawayo is in conflict with the city’s own elaborate transport policy and master plan.
“Our town planners had not anticipated and did not allocate any bays to ZUPCO for picking and dropping passengers,” read the mayor’s Facebook post.