BY STAFF REPORTER
LOCAL Government deputy minister Marian Chombo has told Parliament that Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (Zupco) buses could be hired by anyone, including political parties for their functions.
Chombo made the remarks in the National Assembly last Wednesday after she was grilled by MDC Alliance MP Anele Ndebele (Magwegwe) over the alleged commandeering of Zupco buses by Zanu PF to carry party supporters to its campaign rallies.
“Zupco is a monopoly when it comes to provision of urban transport, which is clear that it cannot meet demand for commuters within the urban areas, but it goes on to hire out its limited buses to political parties so that they are able to ferry their supporters to political rallies across the country. Can the minister kindly spell out government’s policy position in respect of Zupco because commuters in urban areas are left stranded,” Ndebele said.
Last month, more than 50 Zupco buses were seen parked at a Zanu PF rally in Marondera which was addressed by Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga, at a time commuters in Harare were without public transport.
“Zupco is a parastatal and we provide transport services. We do not choose which political party to hire out to, and our first and foremost important customer is the commuter and that is when we can hire out our buses,” Chombo said.
“It is not correct to say that we hire out our buses to certain political parties — that is not correct. Anyone can come and hire Zupco buses. First and foremost, before we agree to hire out that bus, we first examine if there is adequate transport for commuters. If there is any area that is disadvantaged, it is regrettable but we hire out transport to any functions. So it is really not that we hire out to specific political parties.”
Chombo said commuters left stranded after Zupco buses have been hired out should approach her offices.
“Nobody reported that we have some commuters that were stranded after the buses were hired,” she said.
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