Desmond Munemo, H-Metro Reporter
A number of banned privately-owned commuter omnibuses (kombis) in Harare are being converted into vegetables and groceries vending vehicles after reportedly failing to meet the Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (Zupco) franchise prerequisites.
H-Metro has established that several kombis lying idle owing to the Covid-19 lockdown ban are being turned into market buses as foodstuffs are being sold around shopping centres and road-sides despite government’s calls allowing them to operate under the Zupco franchise.
The development is fast becoming the order of the lockdown as private motorists have of late overfilled road-sides selling farm produce and groceries in their car boots.
Amos Meda, a former omnibus conductor now selling groceries in one of the kombis he used to operate in, told H-Metro that the owner agreed to convert the bus while waiting for potential buyers.
“This is what has become of us after the ban and we are doing anything to make some money.
“We have to make use of the kombis because they cannot be idle until they lose value.
“This kombi used to ply Kambuzuma-Central Business District route and taitora mari but it’s now history.
“We tried to go for the Zupco franchise deal but ma kombi edu asakara.
“Murungu takatomupa idea akati itai so long tichi chengeta simbi yake and munhu aribho,” explained Meda.
Luke Meza, a motorists selling oranges and tomatoes along Sherwood Drive in Harare said he has taken up selling of farm produce on the roadside as extra income source.
“I have my formal job already but I just have to get myself busy since I have been home throughout the lockdown period.
“Of course, this is a serious business which I am making a bit of money from, we could be getting salary cuts and some will be laid off, so this is another way of staying afloat in terms of income,” he said.