12 March 2017
HARARE – Zimbabweans on Thursday woke up to the terrible news of the
demise of over a dozen family members in a horrific accident that had
occurred the previous night near the National University of Science and
Technology (Nust) in Bulawayo.
Social media went into a frenzy, posting images of the crash, although
details of the accident only began to emerge as the day progressed.
The Daily News carried a story in its Friday edition of the horrendous
crash, which would not have occurred if authorities responsible for the
country’s roads had not been sleeping on the job.
Apparently, a South Africa-registered haulage truck hit a huge pothole,
resulting in its driver losing control of the vehicle which ploughed into
a commuter omnibus that was carrying the body of a deceased relative for
burial in Masvingo.
The crash claimed the lives of 13 relatives – who were travelling for the
funeral – on the spot.
This must be a wake-up call on the part of government to take the poor
state of the country’s roads seriously. The pothole could have been
patched had authorities cared about the public who – routinely and
inevitably – have to use the poor roads.
Everybody is aware that the country received very heavy rains this season,
evidently worsened by Cyclone Dineo that struck Zimbabwe recently, but the
problem of potholes has been there for some time now.
Although citizens have complained about the condition of the roads,
including those in urban areas, the government arm responsible for their
repair has conveniently folded its arms in the face of the dilapidating
The lives that were lost on Wednesday night might not have been lost at
all had government taken necessary steps to get the roads repaired.
Perhaps what complicates the issue more is that the Zimbabwe National
Roads Administration collects money from motorists every day, purportedly
to fund road maintenance. However, there is little evidence that this is
what is happening, judging by the state of the country’s highways.
Government has to quickly stop burying its head in the sand and attend to
these problems. The pothole problem is real and has to be sorted out as a
matter of urgency before more lives are lost.
There is need for the State to afford the families assistance to bury the
departed with dignity, while also extending help to survivors and
dependents of parents who may have perished in the accident.