by Garikai Mafirakureva
Zimbabwe’s main opposition, MDC Alliance has condemned the recently government approved 100% Zupco bus fare increase as anti-poor.
The opposition party said the move was clear testimony that the government continued to turn a blind eye on the plight of the poor majority, especially in COVID-19 times.
In a statement, Mbizo MP Settlement Chikwinya, who is the party’s national secretary for transport and logistics, said powerful corrupt business moguls were using the government as a conduit to further their business interests while the poor continued to suffer.
Chikwinya said while the lockdown measures, introduced through Statutory Instrument 10 of 2021, to curb the spread of COVID-19 were necessary, the specific targeting of sectors providing a living for the poor left many vulnerable, with those in the informal sector being the most affected.
“The government continues in its quest to bury the poor while alive by putting in place more anti-poor policies such as the recent doubling of all Zupco fares,” Chikwinya said.
“The continued monopoly of Zupco in the public transport system provides fertile ground for corrupt practices between well-known business moguls who are connected to the echelons of power who have a tendency of supplying government with buses bought at some questionable prices.
“The same business moguls literally control the fuel supply system and they first forced government to increase fuel prices unjustifiably and now the increase in Zupco fares is a result of the domino effect of fuel price increase.”
He added: “It is sad that during these times when business has been adversely affected, government investment vehicles operating in the mining fields in minerals like diamonds, gold and platinum should be releasing relief funds to cushion the suffering masses, but again, the same business moguls have taken over control of these government portfolios and as expected money is not finding its way to benefiting the public.”
He added that such insensitive and uncaring behaviour by the government should be resisted by consumers. He called for the opening up of the transport sector to allow for participation of other registered vehicles, competition in the transport sector that allows market forces to determine fares.
“The MDC Alliance sadly observes that uniformed civil servants are now resorting to putting on their uniforms even when off duty in an attempt to avoid paying Zupco bus fares. This goes to show that the fares are out of reach of the ordinary.”
l Follow Garikai on Twitter