A GROUP of Zanu PF supporters in Kwekwe led by Midlands provincial youth secretary for education, Tapuwa Muto, is allegedly fleecing commuter omnibus operators at the Kwekwe city interchange rank, forcing them to pay a once-off fee of $15 and $4 daily to use the terminus.
BY KUDZI MUCHENJEKWA
Muto, however, denied the allegations, saying the fight for control of the terminus was between touts and commuter omnibus operators. The touts are allegedly linked to a Zanu PF terror group known as Al-Shabaab.
“We are being fleeced of our hard-earned money by these Zanu PF agents. They take $4 from each taxi and $2 from kombis every day from 7am to 6pm, and we are told that this money is given to Muto who then takes his share before taking it to Zanu PF,” said one of the operators, who said they were paying the daily fee out of fear.
Zanu PF has, however, distanced itself from the group and said it was not part to the collections which operators said are threatening to push them out of business.
Zanu PF provincial spokesperson and Kwekwe district head Cornelius Mupereri said it was a cooked up story meant to tarnish the image of the party.
“The story that you are talking about is not true.
The story was once brought up and we went to check the situation on the ground.
There is no money that Zanu PF is collecting,” Mupereri said.
“As far as I can confirm, we went to check out what was happening on the ground and Zanu PF was not collecting money in any ranks.
If you go around our ranks, there are marshals. Some will be wearing Zanu PF regalia and MDC regalia so at the end of the day, people get the wrong impression.
The fee is not even $4, it’s $2,50. What I can tell you is that Zanu PF is not collecting any money from the ranks.”
But Muto confirmed that kombi operators were being fleeced, but denied any link, accusing the MDC Alliance of tarnishing his image.
“I know about the issue. It is about touts and kombi operators; it has nothing to do with Zanu PF,” Muto said.
“I was called and told about the issue when I was in Harare, and I advised that the two groups engage in dialogue, after which the amount was slashed to $3.
There was supposed to be a meeting at the police station between the touts and the kombi operators. I was representing Zanu PF.”
Asked why he was called when he had nothing to do with the scam, he said his party had an interest in those people as they formed their voting constituency.
Council, which runs the city interchange rank, said it had received complaints from operators and would soon launch its own investigations into the allegations.
Deputy mayor Shadreck Tobaiwa said the councillors were waiting to be inducted into office before starting the investigations on the matter.
“Yes, that is the information that we are getting, but I have not yet been able to get solid details.
The only problem is we are yet to be inducted, hence we cannot carry out any investigations, but as soon as we are inducted , I think by tomorrow, then we will get on with the investigations,” he said.