FIREBRAND Buhera South MP, Joseph Chinotimba’s one man demonstration in support of pirate taxis in Harare’s CBD Tuesday, has elicited an angry reaction from fellow legislator Jessie Majome, who feels the Zanu PF official was ill-informed about the real meaning of his actions.
“This is really out of line,” Majome said in an interview Wednesday.
“I am concerned, as a female legislator in Harare, about promoting such unlawfulness and illicit activities; its harming women, you know the mayhem that is caused by that whole kombi culture and pirate taxis is causing women to be harassed.
“How do you promote that? We want the streets to be clear and clean, safe and orderly. What is he trying to do? Who has he consulted? Is this Buhera?
“He must go and do that in Buhera. In Buhera, you can do that anywhere. But in these cities there are by-laws.”
The self-styled commander of the February 2000 farm invasions in Zimbabwe took his comics a gear up by staging a one-man demonstration in support of pirate taxis viewed a menace by Harare city council authorities.
Chinotimba, who has declared himself patron of the pirate taxis, argued city fathers were better off patching up the city’s pothole riddled roads than spending time and resources pursuing kombis and pirate taxis.
“…From today onwards, l have declared myself to be the patron of all pirate taxis,” he said.
“If l was the mayor, no one was supposed to be arrested. I would concentrate on resurfacing roads and collecting all the litter around the Central Business District.”
The pirate taxis, often operated by unemployed youths, would see touts clinging onto speeding cars, while ferrying passengers back and forth across the capital.
This has often ignited cat and mouse chases between the pirates and traffic enforcement municipal police who go on to seize the vehicles, only to release them after the owners have paid fines.
As council authorities were still at a loss on how to remedy the situation, Cde Chinoz, as he is affectionately known, emerged, siding strongly with the operators.
But while the former Harare municipality officer became an instant hero among excitable touts on city streets, fellow legislator and Harare West MP, Majome, saw a costly gaffe by an MP she said should ordinarily be siding with authority.
“I recognise his (Chinotimba) freedom of expression yes but as a legislator, he represents a rural constituency and its us urban MPs who are better placed to know what the citizens of Harare want,” Majome said.
“How does an MP stand up and start pushing for the flouting of by-laws! I expected an MP to know that by-laws are a subsidiary legislation that is exercised through parliament.
“It’s cheap populism at the expense of service delivery and the concerns of Harare residents. He is a member of the Parliamentary Committee on local government who goes and cavorts with pirate taxis.”
Majome, an MDC-T official, is among local activists who galvanised a campaign against touts who harass and strip scantily dressed women at the city’s termini.
Although Chinotimba condemned the stripping of women by touts and called for discipline from the lot, Majome felt the bearded Zanu PF loyalist was in fact promoting what he purportedly sought to condemn.