GOVERNMENT has tasked Chitungwiza town clerk George Makunde to engage kombi operators on the way forward, following the violence that broke out on Tuesday, as the latter protested against the $100 annual permit fees imposed by the local authority.
BY MOSES MATENGA/SILENCE CHARUMBIRA
Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere told NewsDay yesterday that kombi operators had been ordered to desist from engaging in violent protests, but seek dialogue with council officials.
“I will tell Makunde to talk to them. Ngavaise bhora pasi (they should take it easy),” Kasukuwere said.
Makunde said they had a meeting with the operators yesterday and agreed to put down issues on paper for further discussion until they reached an agreement.
“We agreed that we will set up a meeting again. We met the operators and agreed, then we will look at issues to see where we can agree with them. I told them to go and prepare then come back when they are ready,” he said.
The protests turned violent after Zanu PF youths, believed to have been hired by Chitungwiza council officials, pelted kombi crews with stones, ordering them to drive off council premises, where they had parked their vehicles in protest.
The skirmishes later spread to the residential areas, where angry residents barricaded roads and engaged in running battles with anti-riot police.
Nine people were arrested over the clashes, while several others were injured.
Meanwhile, business was back to normal yesterday with kombi operators, vendors and ordinary residents going about their chores although police maintained a heavy presence in the area.