A Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) operation targetting all vehicles with no registration plates or Temporary Identification Cards (TICs) left scores of commuters in Bulawayo stranded as Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (ZUPCO) buses are woefully inadequate.
Some of the unregistered vehicles were operating as unlicensed taxis (mushikashika), providing intra-city transport for desperate commuters but police claim a lot of crimes are being committed by people using such vehicles.
ZRP, in conjunction with Vehicle Inspection Department (VID) and Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) officials, has intensified the crackdown on all unregistered vehicles.
In Bulawayo, a number of vehicles with no number plates were being impounded during the operation in the city centre.
The police teams were moving around in a police truck, highway patrol car and several motorbikes and also mounted roadblocks along major roads. Nancy Moyo, a commuter from Pumula told NewZimbabwe.com:
Today, I could not get into town very early because transport was scarce. I left home around 7 am but I only get to town around 9 am.
All the mushikashikas (unregistered vehicles) which normally pick up commuters during peak hours were not operating today.
The few ZUPCO buses could not cope up with a large number of commuters.
Mafios Nkomo, from Bellevue suburb, bemoaned delays at a roadblock along Plumtree road. He said:
I boarded a Honda Fit in Bellevue this morning. We were delayed for almost an hour at a police checkpoint on our way to town.
Police were screening all vehicles including buses. All those without proper documentation and number plates were impounded on the spot.