Zimbabwe: Policies worsening suffering

By Almot Maqolo

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Some of the policies which the government is implementing are worsening the suffering of the people as they are taking away their sources of livelihoods.The advent of Covid-19 and its attendant lockdowns worsened matters as the government took advantage of the situation to reorganize some sectors where chaos had been reigning supreme.

One such sector is the private commuter omnibus sector which has remained banned after the government directed that they should register with the ZUPCO to be allowed passage.Others include bars and restaurants which were identified as potential hotspots for spreading the virus.
While most of these sectors have remained banned, they have devised means of operating illegally in order to earn revenue for the owners and workers who need to put food on the table for their families.

Owners of the commuter omnibuses have complained that the process of registering with ZUPCO is too cumbersome and riddled with corruption while the amounts that they are paid are too little to enable them to break even.As a result most of the vehicles have returned onto the roads illegally where they are playing cat and mouse with the police who they pay bribes to allow passage with passengers crammed inside.

The government provides the buses with fuel and pays a flat rate which the owners have said is not enough to pay workers and buy spares when it breaks down.As a result most of owners have shunned the arrangement, preferring instead to play cat and mouse on profits while endangering commuters in the process.

Other policies which the government has introduced which have closed sources of livelihoods include the recent ban on importation of second hand vehicles which are more than ten years old.
Many people survive on selling second hand vehicles and closing that avenue is killing their source of livelihood.

The government has also forced many people to forego the luxury of owning and driving cars after it increased vehicle licenses and fuel.
Also the recent increase in toll fees will see many people failing to travel to visit relatives and friends particularly during the forthcoming festive season.Analysts say the policies have destroyed the middle class and left the country with only the rich and the poor and no strata in between.

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