WASHINGTON DC —
There were running battles between commuter omnibus drivers and police in Chitungwiza on Tuesday as the drivers resisted the recently introduced hefty traffic fines.
Touts clashed with suspected Zanu PF youths who were trying to force kombi drivers to abandon a work stoppage claiming that the fines of up to $100 were too steep and promoting corruption in the police force.
Efforts to get comment from the police were fruitless as they were not responding to calls made by Studio 7.
Ward 12 Zengeza councilor Rangarirai Mutingwende said the situation is tense with most kombi drivers now in hiding fearing reprisals from the police.
"Most residents started running away fearing for their lives after riot police started throwing teargas to disperse the crowds. We understand there are some people who were injured during the clashes but we have no confirmation of the numbers," said Mutingwende.
Chitungwiza resident, George Javha, added that the clashes stopped him from going to Harare to sell various wares, which will result in him failing to raise money to pay school fees for his children.
"I am heartbroken because I was hoping to work today in order to put together money to pay school fees for my children who return to school next week," said Javha.
Javha urged the government to resolve the issue of the hefty traffic fines urgently saying it was adversely affecting most residents who operate businesses in the nation's capital city, Harare.
He said the few commuter omnibuses ferrying clients are now charging exorbitant fares, which are cutting into their profits.
"I am very upset by these high commuter omnibus charges as it is stopping me from conducting business. I cannot afford to pay the $1 to $2 that they are asking for as I am used to paying 50 cents daily so that I don't erode my profits," said Javha.
There were reports of looting in some areas following the clashes but these could not be independently verified.