Harare City Council distances itself from the Kombi ban

By Patricia Mashiri

The Harare City Council has distanced itself from the ban of kombis in the CBD and the violent shoot out by the polite late yesterday which led to the death of two civilians at the Seke Road Flyover.

The Harare Deputy Mayor, Enock Mupamawonde, said the Ministry of Local Government gave a directive based on the 100 days work programme which included banning of kombis in the CBD.

In following the ministry’s order the Harare City Council implimentated the directive and after receiving complaints of the problems commuters were facing due to the ban.

“The Mayor issued a plea to the ministry detailing the suffering of the people around 12pm and pleading for quick action to rescind the government ban. The minister of Local government at 3pm responded by rescinding his earlier government directive banning kombis from the CBD.

“We as council sang to thank the minister for seeing sense in what the mayor pleaded for on behalf of the people. We regret loss of life and property during this unwarranted, premature, hurried, unreseached and unconsulted government decision,” Mupamawonde said.

The Deputy Mayor vowed that the council would not be part of any Murambatsvina phases and promise remains committed to cleaning the City with the human face approach.

Thabani Moyo, a represantative from Crisis Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC) said their organisations condemned in the strongest sense, the inappropriate and violent law enforcement process which resulted in the death of unidentified civilians as police tried to forcefully enforce an ill-timed ban of commuter omnibuses in Harare’s CBD.

The violation of human rights was seen when three journalists who were on duty were attacked.

“The Coalition also condemns the violation of the right to access to information and the right to freedom of expression as gathered by the CiZC indicate that three journalists on duty and a civil society leader were attacked by the police,” Moyo said.

The CiZC was opposing any decision to decongest the city without meaningful stakeholder consultations, clear plans and adequate budgets to ensure the smooth running of the operations.

“We urge government, through local authorities to conduct wide stakeholder consultations prior to any decision that the government intends to make.The local government ministry and the army must respect the devolution of power to local authorities as provided for by the Constitution of Zimbabwe,” Moyo said.

The Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) said it was ready to engage with the local authorities to find a humane and sustainable solution to the problem of congestion. CHRA believes that the solution can not come at the cost of the vulnerable people who use kombis.

“CHRA demands that the government must respect, promote and uphold the constitution and there should be proper consultations with the people for any change which is for the good.”