Burnt kombi owner speaks out

The owner of one of the two commuter omnibuses which were burnt to shells, Wednesday, following fierce clashes with the police in Bulawayo’s city centre says he is devastated as the vehicle was his only source of income.

The 37-year-old Louis Tshuma of Lobengula West told CITE in an interview yesterday that he purchased the vehicle using a bank loan and he was still in the process of repaying the loan.

Tshuma said he was called to the scene by his driver and found his black and white Toyota Hiace in flames along Herbert Chitepo Street and Fifth Avenue.

“This was my only kombi. I took a bank loan in 2014 and I am in the last year of paying back the loan. I am just speechless,” the visibly shaken Tshuma told CITE.

“I was called by my driver to the scene. I am actually still in a state of shock as it is. The thing is I can’t even ask my driver questions like what really happened because he is also in a state of shock, if you saw the video, he actually escaped the teargas, I have to wait for him to be calm down before we can talk.” 

The government banned privately-owned commuter omnibuses last year after the country declared a nationwide lockdown in an effort to curb the spread of Covid-19.

However, Tshuma says he could not afford to park his vehicle as he is the breadwinner in his family and has to provide for them.

He added that he was yet to receive official communication from the police concerning the incident.

“I am still waiting for official communication from the police because at the moment they haven’t said anything to me. My driver is the one who was told to report to the police today (Thursday) but when he got there, they told him the police handling the case went to court,” said Tshuma. 

“If the police contact me, I will take it from there but if they are quiet there is nothing I can do. Right now, they are saying they are investigating so I can’t fight a losing battle because the way they are putting their facts is not straight, they have so many contradicting facts.”

He said his vehicle was taken to Rose Camp, “For what reason I don’t know, they said they are investigating, so I don’t know whether taking the car to Rose Camp is still part of the investigation.” 

“I am still waiting for them to contact me after the investigation, then I will take it from there because at the moment I don’t even have a clue to what transpired,” said Tshuma. 

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