Kombi drivers threaten strike over police extortion


Commuter omnibus drivers plying the Harare-Norton route have threatened to withdraw their services today in protest against what they termed harassment and extortion by traffic police along the Harare-Bulawayo Road.

The operators said each bus was being made to part with an average of $50 a day in bribes.

They said there were five police roadblocks along the 40km stretch and at each point police demanded $5, which adds up to $10 for a round trip.

National traffic police spokesperson Inspector Tigere Chigome yesterday refused to comment on the threatened boycott.

“We don’t know about that and I cannot comment on what I don’t know,” he said.

A commuter omnibus driver who declined to be named said they would park their vehicles in Norton and those who stay in Harare would do the same.

“We are tired,” he said.

“We want the intervention of senior people so that they help us on this issue.”

“It’s better we park our vehicles and resume when there are proper police checkpoints.”

Said another driver: “Maybe if commuters from Norton suffer, we will have a solution to this crisis.”

Norton is home to thousands of workers who commute to the capital city every day.

“They don’t even come to us and search our vehicles,” another driver said.

“They just ask for money and if we don’t comply, they write a ticket for $20 which is unfair to us.”

Last year, a snap survey by the Anti-Corruption Trust (ACT) of Southern Africa ranked the Zimbabwe National Traffic Police as the most corrupt institution in the region.

In a report titled Corruption by Traffic Police Officers and Vehicle Drivers in Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe, the ACT gave details of how Zimbabwe could be losing substantial amounts of revenue to its alleged corrupt traffic police officers.

The report was reportedly sent to Melusi Matshiya, the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs, in November last year.