Chitungwiza council sticks to its guns

Lovemore Meya and Nyemudzai Kakore
Normalcy returned to Chitungwiza yesterday with commuter omnibus operators heeding the call to ferry commuters, while town clerk Mr George Makunde maintained that the new $100 annual operating licence fee will remain in force.

Mr Makunde said those unhappy with the $100 permit should stop operations and wait for town officials to discuss the way forward.

He said this in a meeting convened by council with various stakeholders including commuter omnibus associations at the municipality’s head office.

“There are procedures and protocols to follow. As the town clerk, I do not have the capacity to suspend a resolution made by council to effect a $100 annual operating licence, a fact that the commuter operators conveniently forgot,” he said.

“The licence will remain in force until council convenes a meeting and passes a resolution.

“Discussions on the law will continue and the grievances by commuter omnibus operators will be considered.”

This follows the violence that erupted in the town destroying property worth thousands of dollars.

Rowdy youths and residents pelted kombis and other vehicles shattering windows and vehicles with some of the protestors being injured in the process.

When The Herald visited the town, commuter omnibus operators had restored operations as drivers went about their daily routines of picking up commuters.

Vendors and other business entities that were temporarily closed due to the disturbances also resumed their operations.

Mr Makunde added that if one is in business, they should comply with the city by-laws.

“It does not make sense for a businessperson to complain about a permit which is to be paid yearly, which adds up to $8 monthly.

“The director of finance could possibly introduce quarterly payment plans or to have the price of the permit reduced,” said Mr Makunde.

Commenting on the skirmishes that brought business to a halt in the town, he said the commotion involved a number of issues.

“The cause of yesterday’s turmoil was a mixture of a number of issues. The demonstration was turned into a political issue by others who had their ulterior motives.

“It was infiltrated by people who came from outside and our call to parties involved is for them to end the squabbles in order for commuters omnibus operators to do their duties,” he said.

Mr Makunde said council introduced the permit as they seek to rehabilitate infrastructure which is in a bad state.

The associations said they would comply while waiting for the way forward.

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