Good job

HARARE - After a tumultuous week, an uneasy calm has returned to Harare’s ranks following deadly clashes between soldiers and touts controlling the stations.

Before the Zimbabwean police netted about 500 suspected members of the cult-like Chipangano group, extortion and macabre beatings were the order of the day at city termini.

In self-appointed role and excessive reign of terror, the group was in virtual control of the public transport system, but thanks to the police’s swift action order has been somehow restored.

In this rare feat, we join the commuting public and groups like Amnesty International in commending Augustine Chihuri’s men for stamping out this gang.

However, we also urge the law enforcement agencies to exercise caution and restraint and ensure members of the public are not caught up in the blitz or crackdown.

Like so many issues in Zimbabwe, the taxi business is rooted in the political and economic chaos, if not distortions, of Zanu PF’s bad politics where forceful minorities have unfettered access to resources and opportunities.

This is why groups like Chipangano have thrived.

And at a time industry players are also trying to beat colonial legacies, and the hangover of pre-dollarisation chaos, the country’s taxi industry was now faced or confronted by another debilitating force: vigilante group-led harassment.

With these transport operators helping so many of us — filling the void of an efficient state-backed public transport system — that defiant spirit, which got the industry through the dark days of hyperinflation — must be supported in a positive way.

Therefore, reports that Chipangano and other lunatic fringes were regrouping and keen to resume turf war must be dealt with or monitored with the keenest of eyes by the police.

Frankly, Zimbabweans are tired of this militia’s unprovoked aggression and the country’s law enforcement agencies must continue to put pressure on this group to reform, and clean up its act.

In that vein, reports that the head of this sect Jim Kunaka has been put under surveillance or police watch are encouraging to say the least.

Vigilance and more vigilance is key to forestall any planned comebacks by this notorious group or any other outlaws who may fancy the idea of joining the fray.

In other words, the crackdown against these extortionists must be sustained and kombi drivers — who are essentially home-grown investors — be allowed to get on with their business of ferrying people to and from their homes or workplaces.

While we would like to say a job well done to the drivers of the operation against Chipangano and other anarchists, one hopes that this level of policing and attentiveness will be extended to other facets of Zimbabwe’s social life.

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