Harare City Council has vowed to intensify an operation to clear the CBD of illegal passenger pick-up points, popularly known as “mushikashika” to restore order and sanity on the streets.
The city’s acting corporate communications manager Mr Michael Chideme said council would not relent in its efforts to enforce city by-laws and warned that those who break the law should suffer the consequences.
“We will continue with our policing activities,” he said. “We have started on a good note in terms of policing. We are going to intensify (our operations against mushikashika) to ensure that we bring order to the city and smiles on the majority of Harare residents who want order in the city,” he said.
Last week a 10-year-old girl was knocked down and injured by a speeding commuter omnibus in the city, while seven municipal police officers were hospitalised following brutal attacks with weapons by touts and kombi crews resisting the council’s bid to rid Harare of unruly drivers and unregistered taxis.
The officers were attacked while enforcing traffic by-laws to clear “mushikashika” along Julius Nyerere Way.
Mr Chideme said officers who were injured during skirmishes between municipal police and errant commuter omnibus on Sunday and hospitalised at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals were out of danger.
Greater Harare Association of Commuter Operators secretary-general Mr Ngoni Katsvairo said council should engage other stakeholders like passengers in dealing with mushikashika.
“Council should engage stakeholders such as associations, the Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe Republic Police to sustainably eradicate mushikashika and end corruption between operators and touts on one hand and law enforcers on the other,” he said.
“A holistic approach and laws that deal with all involved in the illegal mushikashika activities like touts, passengers and drivers is needed. Council must not punish operators only while leaving other players unpunished if these operations are not to be viewed as fundraising gimmicks that do not proffer lasting solutions.”
Mr Katsvairo said sustained publicity targeting passengers about the dangers of using pirate taxis and kombis was of paramount importance.
Touts and drivers who were arrested in the city’s operation last week have since appeared in court.
Police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba said then police would deal ruthlessly with kombi crews who cause chaos and endanger the lives of innocent people in the city.