Ministry and Local Government and the Mayor in the City of Harare Bernard Manyenyeni seem to be washing their hands off the decision to ban commuter omnibuses (combis) from the capital city’s Central Business District (CBD).
The two authorities are clashing as they point fingers at each other towards the ban that was meant to decongest the CBD increasing transport fairs for the citizens who are living below the poverty datum line.
“The project by the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing with the Joint Operation Committee of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces to decongest the Central Business District of Harare with the removal or re-location of kombi mini-buses commenced in earnest today,” said Manyenyeni in a Facebook post.
In contrary to Manyenyeni the Local Governance Minister, Honorable July Moyo said, “The Ministry of Local Government, public Works and Housing, in it’s capacity as the authority in charge of the administration of the Urban Council Act [Chapter 29:50] regrets the hurried decision taken by the Harare City Council to immediately ban commuter omnibuses and kombies from entering the Central Business District without first providing a viable and inexpensive alternative for the commuting public to use.”
Manyenyeni who is pointing fingers at the Ministry urged the affected people to exercise restraint in handling any inconvenience faced.
“I have received generally negative feedback in these first 8 hours of this project. It has created many unintended outcomes and inconveniences to the general public of Harare. In particular the issue of distances from drop-off points and the additional bus shuttle costs to a hard-pressed community.” said the Mayor.
“We are also alive to possible resistance by kombi drivers and the general inconvenience of this planned model. We are concerned and urge the Ministry to suspend the Operation until revised or modified to remove the problems encountered so far.”
“As the policy makers we would want to be more involved in any future plans for projects of this nature within Harare. We look forward to an immediate suspension of this exercise.” the Mayor continued.
The Minister, who reversed the ban said that the action to move the combies out of the CBD are not in the interest of the inhabitants of the council area and the Harare Metropolitan.
Moyo also said that the lifting of the ban does not cover unregistered vehicles engaged in commuter services such as “mushikashikas“.
“Equally, the directive does not condone other illegal activities such as vending in undesignated place, littering and illegal money changing. These must keep off the streets as required by law.”
“As the responsible Minister, I apologies to all Harare Residents, Residents of the Harare Metropolitan Province and our valued visitors for the disruptions and inconveniences already suffered,” Local Government Minister went on.
Although the two authorities responsible for the well being of Harare and residents, the Harare City Council had earlier on stated that it is embarking on operation restore legacy, where vendors and transport operators would be removed from the city to bring back sanity.
The government has always supported the removal of street businesses as the police takes action in chasing after the informal sector.