By Staff Reporter
MDC Alliance has condemned a recent government decision to effect a 100 percent hike on Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (ZUPCO) bus fares, saying the move was both elitist and discriminatory to the poor.
The public transporter increased fares from $16 to $30 for conventional buses and $32 to $60 for kombis.
In a statement Wednesday, MDC Alliance secretary for transport and logistics, Settlement Chikwinya said the move exposed corrupt business moguls he accused of using their proximity to some influential government officials to further their business interests at the expense of suffering masses.
He said while government’s lockdown measures were necessary to curb the further spread of Covid-19, tough policies such as the hiking of fares affected the poor.
“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,” said the Kwekwe lawmaker.
“The continued monopoly of ZUPCO in public transport systems 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 ZUPCO 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.
“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 said.
Chikwinya further said such behaviour by authorities must be resisted by the consumers.
He called for opening up of the transport sector to allow for participation of other registered operators as well as a competitive free market in the transport system that allows market forces to determine fares to be established.
“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 fares. This goes to show that the fares are just out of reach to the ordinary,” he said.