By Staff Reporter
The man opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has slammed what it called the “feja feja” policies of the Zanu PF government after thousands of commuters were left stranded, following dramatic fuel price increases that forced kombi operators to withdraw their services.
Commuter omnibus operators are protesting against the fuel price hikes and what they termed unfair competition from state owned Zupco buses which are being heavily subsidized. In Bulawayo for example the three biggest transport associations in the city, issued a statement saying;
“As BUPTA, Tshova Mubaiwa and BCT, we have unanimously agreed on downing tools and suspending operations with effect from wednesday 22 May 2019.
“We cannot afford to offer service to commuters anymore with no returns. The operating environment is no longer sustainable. Owners park your vehicles.
“Let no kombi ferry people to town from Wednesday until we also operate in a business friendly environment. Let us for now give space to the ZUPCOs and see if they will manage all routes on their own.
“Kombi fare was 50c from 2009 to 2018 in Bulawayo, nearly 10 years. If we do not act we will lose these vehicles. We will fail to service them. We are suffering and we must be heard. Let us help each other find lasting solutions. We have suffered. It is enough,” read the statement.
Opposition MDC spokesman Jacob Mafume said “The MDC is concerned with how the transport situation has deteriorated over the past few days due to Zanu PF’s incompetency, inconsistency and inability to make the right decisions.
“A country run through a series of stop gap measures is bound to degenerate into the chaos witnessed last night when commuters all but failed to afford return fares following another reckless decision on fuel. In January of 2019 a fuel price hike sparked unrest, the military State responded with brute force and scores of people lost their lives.
“No lessons were learnt, the Zanu PF government is baking yet another powder cake. Insanity is when a government decides to liberalise supply and yet not deal with the sources of income.
“The government must in totality dumb the RTGS dollar and pay civil servants in US dollars otherwise issues of affordability will just escalate.
“The fuel price increase will certainly drive inflation, in any case it is the second highest in the world, worse than war torn countries like Somalia and Afghanistan.
“The MDC demands an end to the chaos being caused in the fuel industry in protection of cartel interests. The propaganda games around ZUPCO are not working. Its failure to meet demand was exposed yesterday,” Mafume said in a statement seen by Nehanda Radio.