Police intensify operation against mushikashika Police officers alert members of the public not to board mushikashika during an awareness campaign at the Boka rank in Harare South yesterday

Ivan Zhakata

Herald Correspondent

UNREGISTERED vehicles and illegal taxis commonly known as mushikashika are flourishing in ever large numbers and some are disrupting traffic by not pulling into parking places or otherwise getting off the road when picking up or dropping off passengers.

Passengers are being picked up and dropped at undesignated points, causing traffic congestion on main roads during peak hours.

Yesterday Zimbabwe Republic Police intensified the blitz against mushikashika operators while at the same time raising awareness about the dangers of boarding unregistered vehicles.

The police were yesterday arresting mushikashika operators in Harare, impounding their vehicles and also encouraging passengers to board registered public vehicles at registered points. At the area around the Mbudzi flyover interchange site, police spokesperson for Harare Metropolitan Province Inspector Luckmore Chakanza said the operation was aimed at restoring order in the city.

“We are doing an operation that is called “No to Mushikashika” and our officers are on the ground arresting mushikashika operators and impounding their vehicles,” he said.

“We are encouraging members of the public not to use mushikashika vehicles. Normally mushikashika vehicles are unregistered, unroadworthy and some of them are being used by armed robbers.

“We have been receiving reports where members of the public are robbed and some woman are being raped which has become a cause for concern.

“As police, we are discouraging people from using those vehicles, they must use registered public service vehicles because they are licenced to carry passengers. In the event of an accident, passengers of registered vehicles can be compensated.”

Zimbabwe Passenger Transporters Organisation (ZPTO) chairman Dr Sam Nanhanga said the operation of mushikashika needed to be stopped for the safety of the public.

“Mushikashika operation is illegal and they are not allowed to ferry passengers. As bus operators, we bought a number of buses that have entered this country to alleviate transport challenges. We believe that we now have enough buses to cater for the passengers across the country,” he said.

Dr Nanhanga also bemoaned foreign vehicles that are ferrying passengers at undesignated places, competing with mushikashika

“We, Zimbabwean operators are not allowed to ferry passengers when operating outside the country but foreign-registered buses and cars pick up passengers at undesignated places and some would compete with us in this country. .”

Travellers yesterday also raised concern over the harassment they are facing on daily bases.

“I wanted to board a bus to Masvingo and I was advised by the police not to board mushikashika as they were robbing people. The police also told us that in case of an accident, we will not be compensated so we must board registered buses which are safe and easy to track,” said Mr Fredrick Dube.

Another passenger Mr Terence Mugadza who was travelling to Mvuma said he was also advised by the police not to board illegal taxis as he risked being robbed.

“The police have advised us that mushikashika was robbing people and we must board registered vehicles at designated ranks,” he said.

Mr Never Mutasa also expressed concern over the robberies that are happening to passengers after boarding mushikashika.

“We are being robbed by private vehicles . This is very sad and people should desist from boarding these vehicles and board registered and labelled buses as they are safe,” he said.

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