Home » General » Time We Considered Phasing Out Kombis

ACQ5160 was a partially registered Public Service Vehicle, kombi in local jargon, registered to and criminally operated by one Fortune Ganha of New Zengeza, and unlawfully driven by the now deceased Musiiwa Chanengeta (28).

It is innocuous to suggest that after the unforgettable, painful infamy of Monday May 19, this particular, now-mangled kombi wreck has created much national alarm and despondency – it may well return the unintended, positive consequence of making it a game changer. Hopefully, even a massive class lawsuit against the illicit operator and the sleeping-on-duty authorities is justly on its way.

In 2014, news travels fast.

The said crash, occurring at about 11am on the said day, was literally, in the next few minutes, starring on WhatsApp and other social networking platforms that have revolutionised communications by dramatically speeding it up, at little cost even.

By the end of that Monday, many Zimbabweans were absolutely livid about the avoidable crash. Voluminous harsh words were aimed at various lethargic authorities.

It is incredible that on the social platforms, most voices quickly blamed traffic police.

Their argument is that it is unthinkable that the deceased driver, somehow dexterously avoided, for months on end, several traffic checkpoints common on Seke Road.

Surely, at some point, some cop discovered something amiss but decided to turn a blind eye for reasons open to conjecture.

ACQ5160 did not have valid passenger insurance, dishearteningly meaning the deceased’s survivors and the injured may never enjoy compensation.

Worst of all, this kombi guy drove on a mere waiting pass, easy evidence of a newly licensed driver!

Aityaira nechibepa akamirira rezenisi raakatora zuro uno here vakomana!

He might as well have used his hospital card to drive unmolested by officialdom!

The Road Motor Transportation Act demands that a public service vehicle driver be aged 25, at a minimum, and hold at least four vital requirements: the driver’s licence proper, the retest certificate, the defensive driving qualification, and a medical endorsement. Additionally, his equipment should have an operator’s licence, a certificate of fitness, a route authority, passenger insurance and a current licence disc, etc.

We now know that the killer driver and the bus owner had scant papers, multiplying the unprecedented outpouring of anger and grief.

Traffic Friday hereby exercises the democratic right to unrestricted speech and joins the widespread emotional outburst!

In this instance, the question is whether kombis still deserve to be the mass-mover of choice in Zimbabwe.

In other words, should we not actively consider phasing out kombis as Zimbabwe’s preferred public transport? Surely, kombis have outlived their function additionally traffic police have failed or were just reluctant to fittingly deal with the deadly menace.

I boldly suggest to the foremost licensing authority, the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development, that 2015, December 31 could be a reasonable date by which we could have weaned ourselves of the long-running kombi heartache.

Or do we go for natural selection and ensure we (I do not know how exactly) flood popular bus routes with modern metro buses handled by mature drivers, dealing the ostracised kombis a natural death. What other workable, safer options, if any really, do we have?

Sadly the dithering public does not seem to know exactly where they stand. One minute they are supporting kombis and lambasting traffic police and in the next it’s vice-versa! The police bear the legal responsibility to monitor traffic, so in spite of their miniscule efforts, my support for them is 100 percent.

Our differences solely lie in the policing methods.

I aocate a giant leap to the present, from the 80s, where they remain embedded.

Of course, the endemic traffic cop corruption is detestable.

Kombi notoriety has been on everyone’s mouth but with apparently no solution in sight.

Harare City is clueless regarding the kombi killers.

As for the actionsinactions of traffic police, please be your own judge.

My good friends at the Ministry of Transport, the kombi registration authorities, frankly, do not seem to care much, as little if ever any blame goes their way the poor traffic police bear the brunt of it all!

These three agencies of government, altogether wielding tremendous authority, seemingly never rendezvous at any level to effect a lasting solution to the kombi insanity.

The older generation misses the era of metro buses that were time-tabled. In the period when driver-police running battles were unheard of!

We have taken backward steps as a nation by subjecting ourselves to the dirty kombi crews and foul-mouthed touts that routinely ill-treat passengers. Worst of all, we have completely failed as a nation, to subject the kombis to control.

ACQ5160, like many kombis before, has murdered innocent passengers in a road traffic crash, but it is business as usual.

Should they feel like, the two most powerful relevant authorities in Commissioner-General of Police Augustine Chihuri and Transport Minister Obert Mpofu will, at the click of a finger, bring this typical African madness to a screeching halt.

Thus far, they seemingly couldn’t be bothered.

Rest in Peace:

Police have announced the deceased passengers from the killer kombi accident, listed here in descending order of age: Tsikirai Matambo (84), Menus Chinyoka (64), Violet Taruvinga (40), Tendai Mukoti (32), Chikondowa Foward (30), Reuben Chikafu (30), Award Chipunza (26), Grace Gomani (26) and her daughter Judith Chari (7). May their souls rest in peace.

Name and shame…

Shame on you Fortune Ganha of New Zengeza, a heartless operator who negligently unleashed terrorism onto our roads with your uninsured kombi and fake driver.

Ten people have painfully paid with their once-off lives for trusting that your kombi was legally on the road and lawfully driven.

Of course, you knew that your driver was a crazed speeder, over-loader and not licensed to ferry passengers. Because you were rolling in the bucks, you chose to look the other side. Consequently, your money now comes “oiled” by the blood of no less than nine trusting flesh-and-blood human beings, killed by you and your phony driver.

I am quite sure the Minister of Transport has already responsibly withdrawn your operator’s licence. Your dishonourable name must never be linked with a PSV vehicle in any form. Of course, you Fortune Ganha are this week’s champion buffoon “Rombe Resvondo Rino”!

It’s a Friday let’s keep the driving ‘happy, happy!’

Gerald Maguranyanga moderates Road Safety Africa, on www.facebook.comRoadSafetyAfrica, an interactive community page that solicits ideas to curb road traffic accidents in Zimbabwe and Africa. Feedback: WhatsApp… +263 772205300

Source : The Herald