By Staff Reporter
Richard Katsvairo, the Chairperson of commuter omnibus operator’s organisation Greater Harare Association for Commuter Omnibus (GHACO), stands accused of creating chaos along routes in Chitungwiza, Sunningdale, Epworth, and Hatfield.
The deployment of the Police Reaction Group (PRG) in these areas has raised concerns as it reportedly torments both operators and passengers, jeopardizing lives particularly along Julius Nyerere and Seke Fly Over.
Over the past three days, PRG has been consistently present in these Southern routes, drawing criticism from transport operators.
One operator expressed concern about the frequent presence of PRG, stating, “The PRG is coming every day as if there is no Police Traffic in Harare. They lack reflectors, putting their own lives in danger.”
Transport operators are accusing Katsvairo of allegedly bribing senior police officers at Harare Central Police Station to deploy PRG against those who have resisted joining Ghaco.
One operator emphasized their right to choose their association, stating, “We are being punished for refusing to join Ghaco. We have the right to join an association of our choice.”
The conflict arose with the introduction of various associations. Some operators believe that individuals should be allowed to operate their vehicles freely.
A concerned operator questioned Katsvairo’s employment and urged that every kombi operator with proper papers should be allowed to operate without interference.
“Where is Katsvairo employed? This kombi association wars are putting lives of passengers at risk and vabereki are being dropped around Arcadia area. Every Kombi operator who has proper papers should just be allowed to operate,” he said.
A Mahwindi for ED tout named Tindo revealed the impact of kombi wars on his livelihood, mentioning his recent arrest.
“Recently, I was arrested and spent two days at Waterfalls Police Station. We survive on loading commuter buses and this is affecting us,” he said.
Passengers are also suffering the consequences of these conflicts lamenting that kombis are dropping passengers far from their intended destinations.
“We are old and sick. They are dropping us far because of their kombi wars and as passengers we are the one being punished,” said an elderly woman from Chitungwiza
Other operators are calling on Police Commissioner Godwin Matanga to investigate the situation. They questioned the denial by police spokesperson Paul Nyathi regarding impounded motor vehicles at Harare Central Police and claimed that operators are being coerced into testifying against others in exchange for the release of impounded vehicles, which they argue violates their constitutional rights.
“The police boss should know that we are being forced to testify against Benjie and Longerz in exchange of our impounded vehicles being released. This is an infringement of our constitutional right. We won’t stop until the police act.
“We trust that the President his Excellency Emmerson Mnangagwa, the police chiefs including Matanga and Harare Prop Wonder Tembo and JOC will visit this matter and help us to operate as individuals. This issue of associations is causing havoc, depriving people of their rights and a cancer to ordinary civilians,” said the operator