THE absence of the police in the Central Business District has been described by shop owners as a major setback in their daily business operations.
The chaotic situation has resulted in some vendors going to the extent of selling their products at the entrances of grocery and clothing shops.
H-Metro team toured the CBD where the business community was crying foul over the conduct of vendors
Manager of a local clothing shop, Farai Mauto, said if the police do not take charge of the situation many business will shut down.
“As you can see in this shop there is no one, all our clients are being blocked outside by vendors who are selling the same products we have in here.
“This is really unfair considering that we are paying rentals, paying workers and also our operations are closely monitored by the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority.
“At the end of the day we are the ones who are now losing if the situation remains like this most shops are going to close.
“There was a time when the police force would be deployed in town and those days we were really protected though there were also cases where police officers would receive bribes but the situation was not as bad as it is now,” he said.
Mauto said some shops were now taking some of their products from their shops to sell into the streets.
“The problem I am seeing now is that as a nation we have become used to this situation to the extent that we now see this as normal when in actual fact it’s not.
“It is a shame that we now have a number of business people who are now taking their products into the streets because in the shops no one is coming to buy.
“All this desperation is caused by the fact that the police have taken a back seat on bringing order in the capital,” she said.
. . . Pedestrians on police return
Members of the public yesterday expressed mixed feelings over the call for the Zimbabwe Republic Police to increase visibility in the Central Business District to restore sanity in the capital.
One of the people interviewed by the H-Metro, Joshua Khumalo said the police must return to the streets in order to maintain order.
“The police must come back and do their operations in the streets because their absence made other people feel like they are above the law, yet that’s not it.
“There is a lot of disorder in the city, vendors are everywhere and they are uncontrollable, drunkards urinate wherever they want which is not healthy, so the police must come back in the streets and restore sanity,” said Joshua Khumalo.
Another man Onismus Chiweshe gave a slightly different view on the absence of the police on the streets.
“Yes we want the police to come back but the bad part of police is that they take bribes, if they are bribed then there is no use for them to come back in the streets, so the whole point is that there is need for control in the city especially the traffic sector.
“Kombi drivers are always drunk, beer is now sold even in the ranks at as low as 50cents so drivers wont resist drinking whilst driving, so there is really need for control everywhere,” said Chiweshe.
Diamond Kapiringishi is of the view that police must come back but under conditions.
“They must come back for the sake of order in town but only under one condition, ngavasatora cash there must be an account number where arrested motorists must send the fine to,” he said.
. . . ‘We will engage ZRP again’
Harare City Council is set to engage the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) in a bid to restore sanity in the Central Business District.
A snap survey conducted by H-Metro showed that the absence of the police in the CBD had resulted in rampant vending and violation of traffic laws.
Council spokesperson Michael Chideme said they will soon join hands with the police to restore sanity in town.
“We are engaging the ZRP so that we can work together like we have always done,” said Chideme.
“We greatly value the co-operation of ZRP.
“Their absence is a minor setback that we are working to put behind us.
“We hope for the best in terms of the negotiations.”
Asked when the police should be expected back in town, Chideme referred this publication to ZRP national spokesperson Charity Charamba.
“About the date that the police are to be back in town, you can talk to Charity Charamba,” he said.
. . . Mushikashika accident
MUSHIKASHIKA cars menace yesterday saw two pirate taxis being involved in an accident in the CDB.
The accident involving a Toyota Sienta and a Honda Fit happened at the intersection of at Robert Mugabe Road and Inez Terrace Street.
An eye witness told the H-Metro that both cars were carrying passengers and no one was injured.
“The Toyota Sienta had two passengers whilst the Honda Fit was packed with people,” he said.
Both drivers of the pirate taxis refused to entertain H-Metro.
. . .Taxi drivers cry foul
Taxi drivers are calling for the deployment of police officers at illegal ranks where unlicensed transport operators known as mushika-shika are operating.
The mushika-shikas have taken over in the transport sector leaving taxi drivers in dire strait as they are no-longer getting business.
Taxi drivers told H-Metro that it was now extremely difficult to operate in their line of business with pirate taxis (mushika-shika) all over town.
“Mushika-shika’s are causing a lot of congestion and also taking our customers. We now spend hours waiting for customers that barely come.
“Even if the police were to come back and control the situation it’s really useless because they own those pirate taxis,” said Earnest Mapute.
Asked if the police should come back in the street another taxi driver, Tendai Munzvandi said that it is necessary for the police to control the situation.
“People obviously now prepare mushika-shika because they are cheaper than us.
“We are registered and we have licenses to operate but now we spend all day here doing nothing because all the customers now prefer those pirate cars to us.
“I’m actually thinking of removing my plates and just operate as mushika-shika,” he said.
Munzvandi also added that thieves are now haunting the streets.
“We have a problem, a huge one.
“During the night, thieves come acting as if they want a taxi ride and right in the middle of the journey they bring out a knife and threaten to stab the driver unless they give in to the demands.
“In most cases they demand the car which they then use as a pirate car and start robbing passengers.”
Taxi drivers are calling upon the traffic police to come back and do what they are supposed to do but this time they should do it right and avoid taking bribes.
“We need them not to take bribes from us but help us in our operations.
“They should avoid having several road blocks in one road that’s really not necessary,” said another concerned taxi driver.