Trevor JL Saruwaka (MDC Spokesperson for Manicaland Province has said his party learnt with a heavy heart and commiserates with the bereaved families over the loss of life sue to an accident that occurred along the Harare-Mutare Highway in Rusape yesterday.
“It is with a heavy heart that we make this statement after the needless loss of life on our roads due to human negligence. Firstly, our condolences go the families of the deceased. We also wish speedy and complete recoveries to those injured in the accident. Our prayers are with you.
“Secondly, we take this opportunity to remind the motoring public that *life is sacred* and we call upon all those charged with transporting passengers to exercise extreme caution. It is regrettable that some buses have a notorious reputation of over-speeding and sadly our traffic police seem to be condoning the practice,” Saruwaka said.
The legislator said the MDC was calling on the police details to enforce traffic laws including speed limits so that in the event of an accident the impact is reduced.
“We also call upon the public to become active citizens in matters to do with their safety. People should not keep quiet like sheep to the slaughter when drivers race against each other, overtake on blind rises and at bends, straddle continuous lines and perform other reckless acts on the roads. Let us voice our concerns at that particular time and not wait to discuss or complain later.
“Regrettably, in the few cases when someone stands up against the dangerous acts it is the endangered passengers who rebuke fellow passengers to keep quiet. Instead of supporting the voice of reason those unhappy with the reckless speeds are either told off or are encouraged to disembark. That is wrong. Let us be responsible.”
Saruwaka called upon the government to consider the some recommendations to increase the safety of our passengers. These include:
1. Speed governors limiting to 80km/hr be installed on all buses to ensure they stick to the speed limits displayed at the back of all passenger vehicles and heavy trucks.
2. Make defensive driving mandatory to ALL drivers and not limit the requirement to public transporters only
3. Invest in our road infrastructure to eliminate potholes, widen roads, put up visible road signage and road markings
4. Install cameras to monitor speed. These should complement traffic police.
5. Encourage civic education and activism in demanding drivers adhere to speed limits and safe driving.
6. Stiffer penalties must be visited upon the transport operators and drivers who are proven guilty of negligence.
He added that life is not replaceable, is sacred and must be preserved by everyone and all stakeholders all the time. Bishow Parajuli, the UN Resident Coordinator for Zimbabwe said the United Nations team is extremely saddened by the Rusape accident and the loss of lives.
“Our deepest condolences go to the loved ones for the loss of lives and our prayers are for the speedy recovery of those injured,” Parajuli said on microblogging site, Twitter.