On Friday, May 6, 2022 aggrieved Zimbabweans will march against the continued shortage of public transport especially in urban areas. This trend has resulted in commuters being charged exorbitant fares as some unregistered private players capitalize on the desperation among commuters while a lot of productive time is being wasted in long queues.
We note with concern the failure by the government to resuscitate the Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (ZUPCO) and provide an efficient and reliable public transport system. In 2021, ZUPCO announced the procurement of 464 ZUPCO buses and it was also announced that a further 1 000 buses will be imported this year.
However, the crisis on the ground has removed doubts that claims of the government procuring the 1 000 buses could be part of a propaganda scheme to mislead the public. The government’s continued monopolization of the public transport system and failure to effectively resuscitate ZUPCO has worsened the plight of commuters in most urban areas in Zimbabwe.
It has to be noted that ZUPCO is among the parastatals that continue to suffer from corruption and mismanagement. Statistics from the Greater Harare Association of Commuter Omnibuses indicate that before March 2020, around 50 000 commuter omnibuses were operating in the country. Following the move by the government to ban private transporters, the number reduced to 1 500 and this is also contributing to the plight of urban commuters.
We join the commuting public in demanding proper resuscitation of the public transport system in Zimbabwe. The government must end its monopoly and allow registered private players into the public transport system.
Resuscitation of the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) is critical as a way of addressing the crisis within the public transport system.