Kombis, a ride to hell

HARARE - A kombi trip from any of the suburbs surrounding Harare’s Central Business District, is surely a gut-wrenching experience.

And it exposes how kombi crews have total disregard for human life — they certainly don’t care about loss of lives due to accidents.

Not only do the kombis play music at a disturbingly loud volume but they also overspeed and display recklessness at alarming levels which leaves even adrenaline junkies shaken.

Kombi crews certainly work like thugs and are so rude, people are scared of them.

Yesterday, I deliberately took kombi rides to and from Mbare, Warren Park and Borrowdale and the problems seem to be the same.

A ride from Mbare’s Stodart Complex rank to town, is not only bumpy due to the pothole-riddled roads but when negotiating curves, even the stomach turns slightly.

At the corner of Chatima and Ardbennie roads, many accidents have occurred and it has become a black spot but  kombi crews continue to disregard the dangers of their actions while behind the wheel.

One could smell alcohol on the breath of the driver who really looked like he was under-age to be driving a public vehicle.

Public vehicles are supposed to be driven by someone above 25 years old, with a valid driver’s licence and defensive driving certificate, but on our roads, brutal thugs without documentation are allowed to drive.

They have reduced kombis to weapons of mass destruction and blood-spilling machines.

Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe spokesperson Enerst Muchena told the Daily News on Sunday, the Highway Code(a manual on how to drive safely) will in the future  include specific rules for public service vehicles to adhere to.

This reporter also witnessed a  dark-coloured juice bottle being suspiciously passed between the Mbare kombi driver and an unknown passenger sitting “paKadoma” (the makeshift seat behind the driver) as one woman sitting in the kombi quietly hissed and nodded her head from side to side in utter disapproval.

“Havana kana basa kuti mune vanhu mumota mavo. Kwavari mafunnies chete. Vanoda kuti tivatore serious sei ivo vachiita chi***** chakadai,” (They clearly do not care that there are passengers in their vehicle. To them it is all fun and games. How can we take them seriously when they act in such an uncouth manner)” she said.

Another man interjected saying “vanhu tanzwa nekuparara paroad nekuti vana varikusiiwa vaine hupenyu hwevanhu” (young men are being left to be custodians of people’s lives in kombis).

On another trip to Warren Park 1, I found myself in another kombi playing very loud music.

The kombi was full. I was seated near the door, and another man embarked  and together with the conductor it made it two people dangling from the sliding door.

Those who wanted to be dropped off at the Harare Agricultural Showgrounds bus stop had to scream at the top of their voices to be heard because of the loud music bellowing from the kombi’s powerful speakers.

After dropping off the passengers, one had to reboard the kombi fast as the conductor hurriedly yelled at the passengers “action vabereki” (faster) to avoid being overtaken by other kombis on the same route.

As we approached a police check point after the bus stop, the kombi driver sped off without checking if there were no other vehicles to give way to.

The trip to Warren Park 1 would have been a simulation of a ride on a tractor, on a pot hole-ridden rural dust road at high speed.

While on the way back the driver was a little more cautious though constantly stating that “kune shura rasara” (there are a lot of people) still in Warren Park, who needed to be picked up.

Ultimately all kombis have one thing in common — their need for speed while packed with passengers.


Comments (2)

Your article makes for interesting reading, because you highlight the dangers of riding in these things. Elsewhere on this site, there is an article about how the ministry of roads will take "stern action" on kombis that do not comply with the Roads Act. The problem is that its all talk and no action. The Ministry should ensure that Harare Municipal Police earn their salaries by helping to detain any vehicles that are endangering the lives of other road users. Remember, kombis are not the only problem. We have drivers buying their licences from the VID, private cars earning money by ferrying people to town, and a police force which is focussed on gathering bribes from drivers at roadblocks.

dr cool - 5 June 2014

Sebenzisani imidududu njenge Nigeria sekwehlule lokhu lina lifunde kangaka bantu be Halale kkkkkkkk The same Devil that we have lived with for three decades is the same one osese Halale special now Kwa kombi yavunduka sure sure running over people

Nqwa - 7 June 2014

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