By Paul Nyathi | Local Government Minister Joram Gumbo on Thursday evening took to the skies castigating the MDC-T run City Of Harare Council accusing it of causing confusion in the administration of the public transport system.
Minister Gumbo through blame to the City of Harare for the failed CBD decongestion exercise which saw public transport users being dropped off some three kilometres out of town.
The arrangement which was meant to reduce the number of vehicles entering into the CBD inconvenienced thousands of people who had to walk the stretch into town.
Disgruntled passengers and taxi operators ended up clashing with the police resulting in the death of two people in a shooting incident involving the police.
In a clear publicity stunt, Minister Gumbo immediately removed the blame from government and put it on the City of Harare.
The programme which was monitored by both the army and the police as instructed by government was actually a government initiative which Gumbo himself launched in January this year.
Minister Gumbo’s shock transfer of blame to the City Of Harare has been seen by many as political grand standing ahead of the elections.
Minister Gumbo somewhat forgets he issued a statement on the 19th of January launching the programme.
Full statement issued by Gumbo in January ahead of the launch of the programme on Thursday reads as follows:
PRESS STATEMENT BY THE HONOURABLE MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT, PUBLIC WORKS, HON. J.G. MOYO (MP)
Created: 19 January 2018
Following the unprecedented levels of anarchy obtaining in Zimbabwe’s Urban Local Authorities especially Harare City Council’s Central Business District we are compelled to act before the situation degenerates to even lower levels.
Ladies and Gentlemen, we have noted with dismay that the situation in our CBD has become ungovernable in as far as vending and traffic management is concerned.
The Central Business District is now home to a litany of unhealthy vending activities such as selling of second hand clothes, unregulated vegetable vending, roasting mealie cobs, and money changers amongst other activities. Such activities are anathema and anachronistic of CBD areas of modern cities especially capital cities.
The menace is further exacerbated by the public transport system which has transformed the CBD into a hazardous jungle. Illegal ranks and unregistered public transport such as mushika-shika have become rampant posing great danger to both motorists and pedestrians.
Ladies and gentlemen if this situation is not contained as a matter of urgency, our Urban Centres particularly Harare Central business District will continue to degenerate into an eyesore. The consequences of illegal vending are too ghastly to contemplate.
As Government we cannot continue to fold our hands when the threats of typhoid and cholera have become a reality. These illegal activities in the CBD have virtually become cover for other criminal activities. It is thus critical that we arrest the situation before it explodes. Prevention is better than cure.
In view of this untenable situation let us all declare war on illegal vendors and unregistered public transporters. To the vendors who are operating at undesignated sites including in front of shops and to unregistered public transporters, you are directed to immediately cease forthwith your activities within the next 48 hours, failure of which you have no one but yourselves to blame.
Those who want vending sites should approach their Local Authorities and be properly allocated designated sites. Further take note that there is no other issuing authority besides the Local Authority itself.
To those who have been thriving on selling vending space, you are directed to stop forthwith. Such culprits should be reported to the law enforcement agents who must act, and ACT NOW!
We are also calling upon members of the uniformed forces to come and assist the Local Authorities in bringing sanity in our CBDs. Members of the public are urged to cooperate with all forms of law enforcement agents in an effort to eradicate this vice.
To all the Urban Local Authorities, it is no longer business as usual, I am imploring you to enforce your by-laws without fear or favour with the help of our National Police Force.