By Nelson Sibanda
The Zimbabwe Vehicle Inspection Department has joined the Harare Central District kombi chase, putting pedestrians’ lives in danger.
VID inspectors in recovery and vehicle tow-away trucks give chase to ‘Mushikashika’ (unlicensed taxis) and kombis, commuter omnibuses suspected to be transporting people without proper documentation and vehicle fitness.
Unlike both the municipal and Zimbabwe Republic Police, the VID was spotted hitting the ‘Mushikashika’ with their trucks, damaging the targeting vehicles while endangering passengers’ lives.
Directors at the VID and Minister for Transport, Obert Mpofu, refused to give clear comments as they all said it was the responsibility of the other to give an interview.
“The VID has an operational duty to clear roads of defective and vehicles ferrying passengers without certificate of fitness,” said Mpofu.
He referred other questions regarding the safeness of the operation to pedestrians to directors at VID. The VID, Mpofu said, has directors who should respond to issues to do with their operations unless they become policy matters.
Joseph Pedzapasi, VID chief inspector, who recently appeared before the Parliamentary Committee on Transport and Infrastructural Development to respond give causes of road accidents, told The Zimbabwean that he had no authority to comment on the ongoing VID kombi chase.
“The best person to respond to your questions would be the permanent secretary and other higher offices. My office is too junior for that,” said Pedzapasi, hinting that VID had a constitutional interest to find out if public transport and other vehicles were fit to ferry passengers.
People in Harare said the VID operation was welcome, but expressed reservations that it was executed in a more dangerous manner by both the ZRP and Municipal police.
“Imagine VID vehicles deliberately crashing into kombis and unlicensed taxis ferrying innocent passengers. Honestly, government and its relevant arms should devise safer methods to tame the traffic jungle in the CBD,” said a resident who chose to be identified as John from Ruwa.
Many CBDs have turned into death traps for pedestrians as the law enforcement agencies continue engaging in cat and mouse games with illegal public transporters.
On August 22 last year, Tsitsi Rwodzi with a child strapped on the back, was knocked dead by a commuter omnibus, Toyota Hiace registration number ACE 0689 along Robson Manyika Road.
In December 2013, a war veteran, Raphael Mbanje from Tafara, was hit and killed by a commuter omnibus whose driver was fleeing from police in Harare at the corner of Chinhoyi and Bank Street.
In another horrific police kombi chase, a young boy was knocked dead by a kombi at Harare’s Copacabana Bus Terminus in April this year. The driver was fleeing from police. The Zimbabwean