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Commuter omnibus turf wars simmer

by Staff reporter
30 Nov 2023 at 06:54hrs | Views
A TURF war is brewing in Harare's commuter omnibus industry as rival factions battle for control of lucrative routes amid fears that the tension could degenerate into bloody clashes.

Senior police officials at Harare Central Police Station have been sucked into kombi wars following accusations that they were taking sides with some associations after receiving bribes.

On Monday, NewsDay witnessed several Greater Harare Association for Commuter Omnibus Operators (GHACO) affiliated kombis picking passengers at corner Samora Machel and Chinhoyi Street while a police truck from Provincial Reaction Team was parked just adjacent to them.

Other commuter omnibuses were being chased away.

"GHACO is paying a protection fee per week to the police," said a disgruntled transport operator.

Several kombis from other transport associations have been impounded and are being kept at Milton Park Police Station.

"They want to dominate all routes in Harare and they are intimidating other operators," said the source.

However, GHACO chairperson Richard Katsvairo refuted the claims that they are bribing the police.

"For the record, we don't pay anyone but rely on our compliance and follow road rules and regulations," he said.

He said GHACO vehicles were required to operate from designated ranks and that all members must adhere to the organisation's code of ethics and conduct.

"We, therefore, encourage anyone to report to us or enforce (sic) any GHACO branded vehicle found operating at places you mentioned so that we professionally deal with the member operator and his crew in terms of our code of ethics and conduct," Katsvairo said.

He said the organisation displayed contact numbers on its vehicles for that purpose.

Zimbabwe Passenger Association's Tafadzwa Goliati said the turf wars were putting the lives of passengers in danger.

"The government needs to take this seriously. The lives of passengers are at stake. Passengers should be aware of their surroundings and avoid getting on kombis that are overcrowded or in poor condition," said Goliati.

Source - newsday