Police spot-on on pirate taxis

HARARE - Zimbabweans must hail current efforts by police to rid the city of the notorious mushika shika. In our sister publication yesterday, we reported that police had impounded 200 pirate taxis in Harare.

We all know how notorious these vehicles — most of which are not registered — have become in the city centre.

Naturally, there is need for thorough vetting before they are released. National police spokesperson senior assistant commissioner Charity Charamba said in Harare on Friday that some of the vehicles were being used for criminal activities in and around the city.

The fact that they are not registered makes them very difficult to trace and therefore they almost always go scot-free.

It is public knowledge that some of Harare’s busiest streets like Jason Moyo Avenue, Robert Mugabe Way, Bank and Leopold Takawira streets have been turned into mini racing tracks as these small cars race for clients, often disregarding road rules. The roads have become a real risk for pedestrians as these vehicles usually create an extra lane to the left.

Charamba also noted that some of these vehicles are used to transport dead bodies in town. Besides the obvious disrespect this shows for the dead, it smacks of wanton disregard of the law.

Police have often embarked on public awareness campaigns where they have routinely warned the travelling public against using these notorious vehicles as a mode of transport.

Admittedly, they offer an important shuttle service, especially between Market Square and the Fourth Street bus terminus but it is the general lawlessness that has become cause for concern.

The police, together with the Harare City Council must not relent in their efforts to clean the city of this menace. The police must also continue to educate the public on the dangers of boarding such vehicles.

They block the city’s roads as they try to outsmart each other and are almost always overloaded.

Perhaps more worrying is the fact that they at times endanger the lives of passengers in their bid to avoid arrest. Even if authorities use spikes to try and stop them they never obey but try to speed away thus endangering innocent people on board as well as unsuspecting pedestrians.

We urge the police to take a decisive stance and ensure these rogue road users are removed from our midst. If the operators are keen to be in business then they should approach the appropriate authorities with properly registered vehicles.

The commuting public must also be discouraged from using these vehicles and the police must take an active role on that as well. For now, we would like to applaud the police for taking action.

Comments (1)

For some reason, you don't seem to see that the very 'efforts' which you applaud, are the course of 'endangering innocent people on board as well as unsuspecting pedestrians' as you point out 'Perhaps more worrying is the fact that they at times endanger the lives of passengers in their bid to avoid arrest. Even if authorities use spikes...' The fact is these taxis are not entirely undesirable, that is why thousands of people use them every day, in spite of the danger! The so called authorities also make only a token attempt at stopping them, and use dangerous, illogical, and ultimately ineffective means like throwing spikes in front of a fleeing vehicle in the middle of a crowded CBD, risking the lives of innocents. These silly efforts are nothing to write home about. They are impounding unregistered vehicles, so what happens to the registered ones? Business as usual! This is not tackling the problem at all, its just another money making excursion, resolving nothing in the end ...

Shumba - 18 January 2016

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