Yesterday, commuters in the eastern border town were stranded after Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (ZUPCO) buses abandoned the daily routes scheduled to transport Zanu Pf supporters welcoming President Emmerson Mnangagwa to the airfield terminal in Mutare.
The party’s first secretary was in town to commission an oxygen and solar power plant established by Verify Engineering (VE) with the help of Indian engineers and the Harare Institute of Technology (HIT).
Despite lockdown restrictions that ban large gatherings, dozens of Mnangagwa supporters were transported by ZUPCO buses, creating serious transportation problems for commuters.
Efforts to get comments from the Mutare ZUPCO depot manager on the daily bus schedule crisis were unsuccessful at the time of publication.
Pirate commuters could only transport people to Mutare Teachers College (MTC) and then walk from Sakubva to town, while private vehicles also offered temporary relief to stranded crowds.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the government has since banned all transport operators not registered with the ZUPCO franchise, creating a monopoly in the sector.
All large gatherings have since been restricted.
Movement for Democratic Change provincial spokesperson David Panganai said development has shown Zanu Pf is only using the Covid 19 pandemic as an excuse to avoid by-elections since the party is bringing people together.
He also criticized the common carrier for openly serving the interests of a political party, when its operations are subsidized by taxpayers.
“It is no surprise that party supporters were driven by bus to the airfield, this is how ZANU PF still operates using state resources to oil their machines. where we say we can’t hold an election yet because of the Corona virus, we have people coming together in droves.
“We have a government that is detached from the people,” he said.
The Zimbabwe Passengers Association (PAZ) also called on the government to end ZUPCO’s monopoly as it was no longer viable.
The local municipality has also suffered losses as the ZUPCO franchise benefits from free parking depriving the city of potential revenue.
The chairman of the business and investment committee, Xavier Upare, told 263chat that ranks that were previously leased to private operators are now used free of charge by the franchise.
Upare said they are unable to bill the parastatal company already operating under a controversial subsidy model, which masks the franchise’s viability issues and its inability to cope with city traffic.
“Our efforts to increase revenue are also failing because of the ZUPCO buses parking for free in the CBD where we were charging commuter operators. So we are losing money as a board because we both charge no matter what. what in the ranks of commuters.
“We have hired a consultant to assess how we can modernize and digitize our parking lot and this exercise will also inform us of the strategic direction to take as well as to determine the real financial impact on the city’s coffers”, he said. he declares.