MUTARE - A special parliamentary committee yesterday launched a
countrywide fact-finding mission on the ban of left-hand vehicles to
vitriolic attacks from businessmen in Mutare at the inaugural public
Businesspeople in Mutare told the Parliamentary portfolio committee on
Transport and Infrastructural Development chaired by Blessing
Chebundo, MP for Kwekwe Central, that banning left-hand driven
vehicles and second hand cars more than five years old was irrational
and catastrophic to the economy.
The committee was in the eastern border city to launch a nationwide
mission to consult the public on the controversial move.
Businesspeople who attended the meeting, some who have heavily
invested in left-hand driven haulage trucks, said the government had
failed to show evidence that left-hand driven vehicles were to blame
for most of the carnage on the nation’s roads.
The government has given until end of June as the cut-off date for the
continued use of left-hand vehicles on the country’s roads blaming the
vehicles for a number of accidents experienced in recent years.
But haulage operators in the city advised the government to revamp the
road system in the country, which they said left a lot to be desired.
Hlanganiso Matangaidze, who runs a fleet of trucks plying the Sadc
region, noted that instead of banning the use of the left-hand
vehicles, the government should concentrate on dualising and improving
the road network throughout the country.
“The cause of accidents has nothing to do with these vehicles as
stated by the government. Banning the importation of such vehicles
would be catastrophic for the economy of Zimbabwe,” he said.
Matangaidze said the ban on vehicles that were five years old was
ill-conceived since these were the only vehicles affordable to many
Zimbabweans. He said the ban would reduce the rest of the population
to being public transport users making private vehicles a preserve of
The businessman advised the committee to wait until the economy was
fully revived and when such companies as Quest Motor Corporation and
Willowvale Mazda Motor Industries began to function.
Another Mutare entrepreneur, Fungai Simango said he could not see the
rationale behind the proposed ban as Zimbabwe was yet to fully recover
from its decade-long economic collapse.
He said locally assembled vehicles were expensive and not readily available.
“Second-hand vehicles imported from Japan are creating employment for
the people as most of these vehicles are being used as taxis by the
people. Banning them is the same as condemning people to destitution
without offering them an alternative,” said Simango.
Misheck Chesa, who runs a transport business, implored the government
to consult people first before coming up with legislation which is
misplaced from the wishes and desires of the nation.
“The problem with these accidents being blamed on left-hand driven
trucks lies with the bad state of the roads that are potholed. One
does not require a rocket scientist to establish that. Work on the
roads and that’s all,” said Chesa.
Chebundo said his committee would take the consultations to Masvingo,
Bulawayo and Harare having kicked off in Mutare yesterday.
“We will present these finding to Parliament and eventually to Cabinet
so they can see for themselves what the people’s thoughts are on the
proposed ban,” said Chebundo, who was accompanied by other members of
the committee, Edward Raradza, Ordo Nyakudanga, Ailess Baloyi, Luke
Mushore, Gift Dzirutwe and Zvanyanya Dongo.