A MOB of Zanu PF youths yesterday invaded Gweru’s biggest long distance bus terminus, Kudzanayi, and took over revenue collection from council officials.
Kudzanayi bus terminus finance supervisor Nicodemus Hakunavanhu told Southern Eye that the shock troops, numbering about 14, arrived around 5am and closed the entrance.
“I was inside the clock-room, located at the entrance of the terminus, when the gangsters arrived. They then informed our security officers at the boom gate that they were Zanu PF youths, and had been tasked by their bosses to collect money from buses entering the rank.
“I went to attend to them and asked for official letters authorising their operation, but they said they did not have any such papers. They said we should just comply with what they had said,” Hakunavanhu said.
He said the youths, armed with machetes, came from as far as Kwekwe and started charging $3 for Sprinter vehicles, $2 for commuter omnibuses and $5 for buses, which was half the fares being charged by council.
“Rank marshals started resisting the collection, as the youths did not have receipt books. Commotion ensued until I called my bosses to come and intervene.
That is when the group went to Town House (Gweru City Council officces) as the situation was about to turn chaotic,” Hakunavanhu said.
Deputy mayor Cleopas Shiri confirmed the development.
He said Gweru MP Brian Dube, chamber secretary Douglas Chikwekwe and Chiundura MP Livingston Chimina accompanied him to the rank to calm the situation.
“The incident was unfortunate and we are right now trying to see what available options are there for us to solve the problem,” he said.
Chimina said the Zanu PF youths claimed that they were untouchable.
“Those are thugs who deserve to be arrested and thrown into jail. As people’s representatives in Gweru, we are going to resist any attempts by these criminals to reap where they did not sow,” he said.
Mayor Josiah Makombe said: “I condemn what the Zanu PF youths did and I am in the process of preparing for a Press conference where I will give a statement soon.”
Dube called on the police to arrest the youths for extortion. The council has since made a report at Gweru Central Police Station.
Zanu PF Midlands spokesperson Cornelia Mupereri professed ignorance of the development.
“I am actually hearing it from you for the first time. Let me do a check from within the party and if I get the information, I will issue a detailed comment,” he said
Acting Midlands police spokesperson Assistant Inspector Ethel Mukwende was not reachable on her mobile phone.