By Makanaka Masenyama
SOME touts with suspected links to Zanu PF and MDC are now in control of most parking bays in Harare Central Business District where they are chasing away City Parking marshals and collecting the fees from motorists.
City Parking, the company contracted with the job, confirmed the development, adding they were facing problems with touts in the CBD area who were collecting parking fees from motorists.
City Parking is a private company wholly owned by the Harare City Council.
“We are facing very serious problems with touts around Angwa City, OK (First Street) area, Kwame Nkrumah street, area around former Zimex Mall and all ranking areas for public transport,” Francis Mandaza, City Parking public relations manager told NewZimbabwe.com Thursday.
“These people are claiming parking fees from motorists, but this is pure theft. I am appealing to the police to move in because we do not have jurisdiction to arrest these people.”
Mandaza appeared to distance both Zanu PF and MDC from wide beliefs the touts were from the two major parties.
“It’s people who are taking advantage of politics. If you go to MDC or ZANU PF, they might not even know those people but they know the perception of the public. If you go to Nhaka-Padare Building at the corner of Angwa and George Silundika streets, there are people who claim to be Zanu PF and they take advantage of this. We have experienced this for a long time now,” he said.
“If you observe the trend they are not only in Harare these touts. If you go to other cities and towns, you will experience the same problem.”
Contacted for comment, the MDC deputy secretary general Jameson Timba also distanced his party from such activities saying the touts were criminals and police should arrest them.
“I would like to apologise to anyone who has fallen prey to these thugs hiding under the name of our party. I would like the citizens to be aware and alert the police of such criminals. The only parking which is free is the area which is in front of Harvest House and City Parking knows that,” said Timba.
Efforts to get a comment from Zanu PF’s national spokesperson, Simon Khaya Moyo were unsuccessful.
However, according to a Harare motorist, Stenly Nyakufuya, he has been a victim of the touts who claim to belong to either Zanu PF or MDC and have demanded parking fees from him on several occasions within Harare’s CBD.
“These people are violent and harass motorists if they fail to pay parking fees. I do not know why they are not being arrested. Why is the MDC and ZANU PF allowing this to happen in the capital city?” said Nyakufuya
In 2018, a Harare man, suspected to be a tout, was shot dead following an alleged altercation with a motorist over “parking fees” at the intersection of First Street and Kwame Nkrumah Avenue.