Passengers urged to report reckless drivers

Ephraim Munhuwei

Passengers are being encouraged to report any drivers who violate road regulations in the wake of a tragic road accident that claimed two lives and left several others injured. The incident occurred on Monday, August 7, 2023, at approximately 7:00 AM.

A Zimbabwe Union Passengers Company (ZUPCO) bus, carrying 70 passengers, experienced a tire burst at the 118km peg along the Gokwe-Kwekwe road after Matambo-2km. The driver lost control, causing the bus to veer off the road, collide with a tree, and come to a halt.

The driver sustained severe leg injuries, potentially leading to permanent disability, according to eyewitnesses. Fortunately, all the passengers managed to escape through a window that a police officer, who was also traveling on the bus, had broken. Tragically, one person died at the scene, another passed away after admission to Gokwe District Hospital, 56 passengers were injured to varying degrees, and 12 managed to escape unharmed.

In response, emergency services and local authorities swiftly mobilized to provide assistance. Four critically injured passengers were rushed to Gweru Provincial Hospital, while others received treatment at Gokwe District Hospital, where dedicated medical personnel tirelessly cared for their needs.

The deceased have been identified as Blessing Mazonde, a 31-year-old man from Mapfungautsi Stands, Gokwe Town. The details of the other victim are pending as authorities wait to contact their next of kin.

The incident has shed light on the issue of road safety and the necessity for passengers to report any drivers who violate rules and regulations. Inspector Mahoko, the spokesperson for the Zimbabwe Republic Police in the Midlands Province, emphasized the rights of passengers and the importance of choosing safe modes of transportation, while avoiding illegal operators.

Inspector Mahoko stated, “Passengers have the right to report any driver who violates road rules and regulations. It is their right to select a safe bus for their journey and reach their destination without jeopardizing their safety. We encourage passengers to have the police hotline numbers and contact details of bus owners. Choosing safe modes of transportation is crucial, and passengers should avoid unregistered vehicles, private cars, and illegal operators like Mishikashika to minimize the risk of rape, abduction, robbery, or loss of valuables.”

The aftermath of this accident serves as a sobering reminder of the importance of road safety and vigilance, especially in public transportation vehicles that transport passengers nationwide. It highlights the significance of regular vehicle maintenance, tire inspection, and adherence to road safety regulations to prevent such tragic incidents.

Local authorities and law enforcement agencies have initiated an investigation to determine the cause of the tire failure and subsequent accident. Negligence, mechanical issues, or other factors will be carefully evaluated to prevent similar incidents in the future.

As the community mourns the loss of lives and prays for the recovery of the injured, the incident emphasizes the fragility and unpredictability of accidents. The affected families and survivors will undoubtedly require support and solidarity during this difficult time.

Furthermore, this incident underscores the ongoing need to improve road safety measures, enhance vehicle maintenance practices, and ensure that passengers can travel without fear. The investigation’s findings will help identify the cause of the accident and lead to preventive measures to avoid similar tragedies in the future.

Meanwhile, there has been some controversy surrounding political figures who have taken advantage of the situation for personal gain. Aspiring ZANU PF Councillor Phiri of Ward 3 Njelele Phase One and Two has been criticized on social media for donating food and money to the hospitalized individuals. Some argue that this responsibility should belong to the Member of Parliament (MP), not the local councillor. Phiri defended his actions, stating that it is more important to focus on helping those in need rather than engaging in political arguments and mockery.

Note: The provided story has been edited for clarity, grammar, and coherence.

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