President mourns 43 crash victims

A tow truck recovers the wreckage of a King Lion bus that veered off the road and hit a tree on Wednesday night, killing 43 people in Nyamakate, Hurungwe. — (Picture by Walter Nyamukondiwa)

A tow truck recovers the wreckage of a King Lion bus that veered off the road and hit a tree on Wednesday night, killing 43 people in Nyamakate, Hurungwe. — (Picture by Walter Nyamukondiwa)

Herald Reporters—
PRESIDENT Mugabe last night expressed shock and sadness at the tragic loss of lives in the horror bus crash that claimed 43 lives and injured 33 others along the Harare-Chirundu Highway on Wednesday night. In a statement issued in New York where he is attending the inaugural High-Level UN Conference on the Implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14, President Mugabe wished the injured a speedy recovery.

“It is with great shock and sadness that I learned this morning about the tragic bus accident last night along the Harare-Chirundu highway that has claimed about 43 lives and injured many others. The senseless loss of so many innocent lives in circumstances that could otherwise have been avoidable is heart-rending and most regrettable,” President Mugabe said.

“The nation mourns with the families of the deceased and extends its prayers for the speedy recovery of those injured in this bus disaster.

“On behalf of Government and the people of Zimbabwe, my family and indeed on my own behalf, I wish to extend my sincere condolences to the affected families on the loss of their beloved ones.

‘‘May they derive comfort from the knowledge that the entire nation bereaves with them during this, their darkest hour of grief. May the dear souls of those lost in this terrible tragedy rest in eternal peace,” President Mugabe said.

Acting President Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday said Government was working on arrangements to declare state of disaster.

The driver of the King Lion bus — who died on the spot — lost control of the vehicle at the 257km peg, near Nyamakate shops at around 10pm on Wednesday on the way to Zambia.

The bus veered off the road before ramming into a big tree several metres away in the bush, killing 42 people on the spot.

This comes after another accident in April this year involving a Proliner bus killed 21 people, some burnt beyond recognition, when it was sideswiped by a haulage truck at Nyamatikiti River near Chaka Business Centre in Chirumanzu.

Addressing the National Assembly in Harare yesterday, Acting President Mnangagwa said a team led by a Government minister and senior Government officials had been deployed to the scene of the accident to have a full appreciation of the situation.

“With a heavy heart, I confirm the death of about 43 people. We have dispatched Government ministers to assess the situation and we are preparing how Government can assist upon declaring the accident a national disaster by the President,” said Acting President Mnangagwa.

He was responding to enquiries from Kuwadzana East legislator Mr Nelson Chamisa (MDC-T) on what Government was doing about the accident.

In statement last night, the Acting President said Government was saddened by the sudden loss of 43 lives.

“I learnt with deep grief of the tragic loss of 43 lives in a road traffic accident involving a Lusaka-bound bus which occurred after Karoi.

“That such a huge loss of precious lives comes soon after a spate of similar traffic accidents along our roads enjoins all stakeholders, principally public transport operators and other road users, to introspect on their scheduling decisions, and conduct and behaviours while in transit. Whatever limitations there might be on our infrastructure, specifically on the state of our roads, clearly these limitations by themselves need not preordain a tragic fate on innocent and trusting commuters,” Cde Mnangagwa said.

“There is a lot which owners and users of vehicles, as well as those mandated to enforce traffic laws, can do to avert such tragic disasters whose result is needless loss of lives, physical injury and incapacitation. Time and time again the police have discouraged road users, especially public transport operators, from embarking on night travel as well as chasing after profits without due regard to the safety of their patrons,” he said.

He said Government would be forced to protect the travelling public by imposing strict schedules and discipline on the roads.

“The first principle in business must surely be to uphold the sanctify of life. On behalf of His Excellency the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, Cde R.G Mugabe, who is away on an international fixture, may I express Government sympathies to families which have lost their beloved ones,” he said.

“In so doing, may I also wish speedy recovery to all those hurt in this latest incident. Government will soon announce appropriate measures meant to bring some relief and assistance to affected families in their hour of deep grief and bereavement.”

Police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba said 19 of the accident victims had been identified and called on people who had relatives on board the ill-fated bus to come and identify the bodies.

“The Zimbabwe Republic Police would like to confirm a fatal road traffic accident involving a King Lion bus which was travelling from Harare to Lusaka, Zambia, which occurred along Harare-Chirundu at the 257km peg near Nyamakate shops, Karoi.

“On approaching the 257km peg, the driver failed to negotiate a curve and the bus veered off the road and rammed into a big tree, killing the driver on the spot together with 42 other passengers,” she said.

“Due to the impact of the crash, some of the passengers’ seats were dislodged and thrown to the front of the bus. Thirty passengers were injured, five seriously and have since been transferred to Harare for further management. Twenty-five are receiving treatment at Chinhoyi and Karoi hospitals in a stable condition.”

The bodies of the deceased were taken to Chinhoyi Provincial Hospital mortuary for post-mortem.

“The ZRP is investigating the traffic accident and more details will be availed in due course,” Snr Asst Comm Charamba said.

Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister Cde Saviour Kasukuwere said Government would assist the bereaved families.

“Government will certainly, after his Excellency (President Mugabe) gives his authorization, proceed to declare a state of disaster,” said Cde Kasukuwere.

“This will entail mobilization of resources from Government to assist in the repatriation of those who have lost their lives to the various areas and also ensure that those in hospital are looked after and treated.”

He described the accident as a tragedy, coming hard on the heels of another accident in Masvingo, which claimed the lives of 30 passengers.
Government, he said, was taking measures to reduce road carnage, including dualisation of the Beitbridge-Harare-Chirundu Highway.

Government said transport operators had chipped in with comprehensive insurance to cover burial and medical expenses.

Cde Kasukuwere said discussions led by President Mugabe in Cancun, Mexico, identified road accidents as a major cause of death globally.

He said drivers should exercise caution on the roads to avoid such tragedies while calling on transport operators to put in place measures to monitor their drivers.

More than 80 percent of the accidents have been attributed to human error.

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  • xyz

    Mr President you can express shock and sadness but this accident is a serious indictment of your government incompetence. 83 students from Regina Coeli died in 1991 due to a speeding bus accident. 26 years later people are still dying due to speeding buses. What has your government done in the past 26 years to curtail such accidents? We want leadership that takes actions not just speak empty words.

    • Moe_Scyslack2

      Because of corruption by ZRP you may not be shocked kuti this bus with all its defects went through 20 roadblocks vachingonzi pindai as long as vapa mapurisa $, they don’t care about enforcement.

  • Godfrey Gwembere

    May their souls rest in peace.

  • Tarubva Chibva

    May all the affected find strength to shoulder the consequences of having an INCOMPETENT GOVERNMENT

    Firstly, Mr Kasukuwere, repatriation relates to movement to one’s own country of origin. Indications so far are that the deceased and injured are Zimbabweans who were going to Lusaka to hoard/buy goods for resale.

    Secondly, we have to dissect the real problem. (i) Had people been gainfully employed they wouldn’t have crammed a bus to go to Zambia to procure stuff for resale.? (ii) if corruption had been rooted out in the early days of Zimbabwe the bus driver could have been arrested before Hurungwe (iii) if the road was properly dualised and well lit the driver could have easily avoided the accident

    All the above point to incompetences that have been allowed by none other than Jongwe himself. With a Transport Minister in Joram Gumbo who has the audacity to say to a Parliamentary portfolio committee “I am not TB Joshua ” what do you expect?

    Unfortunately, this failing team will find its way back into Government just because someone in MDC-T is either discouraging voters by claiming that ZANU PF is already rigging the 2018 elections or someone thinks he will be too busy to go and register to vote and make time to actually vote against this blatant failure

    • Cde Jairos Tapfuma

      You are sick from the “blame-game” disease. Are you trying to tell me that even in the USA the police there has the capacity to monitor each and every motor vehicle on the road and arrest instantly any offending motorists? This accident from reports shows that the driver was just irresponsible. Not so serious was the behaviour by passengers, who only waited for some of them to die to tell us that the driver was overspeeding…and then what? The same happens with hoards of kombi passengers in Harare who cheer unlicensed drivers running away from police only to blame the latter in the event of accidents. Until or unless passengers assert authority over public transport drivers – we will continue to lose lives on the road.

      ZRP should actually increase road-blocks. What should be reviewed are the nature of the road blocks and not their number. Why negotiate with criminals on the road? Munopera kufa muchingoti dualization dualization as if it is the road that drivers a vehicle. Drivers must be held accountable and only then will we see responsible behaviour on our roads.

      • Tarubva Chibva

        Cde Jairos, there’s technology to deter offences e.g. Video cams linked to local police. Police can monitor the long stretch from Beitbridge to Chirundu with the correct will and competencies. The stolen $15bn could have easily been used to erect, as a minimum,a barricade to prevent vehicles overshooting the bend!

        Unfortunately you are suffering from RURALISATION AND BACKWARDNESS as dished out by One Centre of Power and his friends.

        It’s ZRP, ZANU PF, related organizations and One Centre of Power’s failures. This is not a blame game but pointing out FAILURES

        KWAYEDZA, SMELL THE COFFEE

      • Sipambi_263

        “Drivers must be held accountable and only then will we see responsible behaviour on our roads.” Full stop! 10/10

      • Dr Who?

        We are not sick from the “blame game” disease we are sick of the disease of carnage on our roads. I don’t know about the USA but I hold all my international licences as in heavy duty and “transport en commun” (means bus drivers) and I’ve done plenty driving between western europe ports and Turkey and down through Spain into Morroco, Algeria Tunisia. All heavy goods or public transport vehicles are fitted with “tachometers” which give a print out on a disc of every moment of your day. The Police, in their not infrequent road blocks, check your disque (and invite you to blow up a baloon). I agree whole-heartedly when you say that “what should be reviewed is the nature of the roadblocks”. Comming back to base I do blame our securo kleptocracy for creating massive insecurity throughout the land.

  • Gotszman

    Shame. Cant even know what to say.May their dear souls rest in peace and may those injured receive God’s grace and healing.

  • Zarura Zimbabgwe

    Mourning from where?!

  • tazvi sosa

    Tineurombo zvikuru, may their souls rest in peace

  • Sipambi_263

    By the way, such tragedies cannot be solved by dualisation, but by responsible driving by everyone, not just public transport drivers. Every time I am on the road I witness lots of “accidents looking for a place to happen” and this is not caused by infrastructure.

  • Tom Toms

    Very sad to lose innocent lives.

    Bad roads, bad drivers, corrupt police, corrupt VID, Bad governance. This is the result, you must not be surprised.

  • tazvi sosa

    to the government of zimbabwe, my proposal to this is to come up with traffic monitoring technologies eg the satelite tracker to be employed specifically for these long distance buses. the tracking system should be able to monitor the speed of travel per each bus. Any deviation to speed limits the tracking system should log a regflag which the report should be transmitted to either the owners, ministry, police and the possible corrective measures to be taken. I think these technologies will help to deter and detect any ulterior behaviour coz truely speaking, until when should we continue to wrecklessly loose our lives. I dont see any sense of the driver of the bus speeding when he only knows that the Chirundu border will be open the following morning, why. so sad.

    • Tarubva Chibva

      Good idea

    • Son

      True, they can also employ a system whereby they put check points in every town. the system will check time of travelling between two adjacent towns. there should be a schedule indicating approximate time it should take to travel between these two town, say at 80 km/h., and anything less than this, the bus driver should be punished.

  • Mafingei Nyamwanza

    May the souls of those departed Rest In peace. I think one of the problems is that drivers know that at night there are no police controls , no road blocks and no speed controls ! We should have police on duty even after 5pm !!

  • Ngirozi ye hondo

    may their souls REST IN PEACE, government should implement speed governing on these long distance buses

  • Mkandawire

    It’s a sad day for Zimbabwe because we are a family even though we entertain different political views……..may their families be comforted in Jesus Christ and may this be the renewal of commitments to the cause of rebuilding this country……….we have witnessed 37 years of dead action, big beautiful words which are as empty as ever….the speed with which roads are fixed when the zanu pf candidate is holding a rally should have been implemented everywhere…countrywide…..but kukasaitwa rally kwenyu munogara nemaroad anemakomba for 37 years

    kukafa vanhu munochinja Highway code instead of fixing the road……its like changing a pen because you didnt understand the question…

  • Tarubva Chibva

    Deter means exactly that and not “tell”.

    You have the burden of defending incompetence. That one Centre of Power of Failure is being awaited to make a decision on what assistance the affected must get. You call that rightly as RULING. We need LEADERSHIP. And not carrying the power away when you have appointed an Acting Centre of Power/President.

    Yes, be in the RURAL and watch your ** in the bushes! When you have been brainwashed to think you are worthless and deserve to live on the periphery of modern life you continue to say ” …… muchatongwa muchida musingadi……..”

  • Tarubva Chibva

    You are right about me being drawn into political emotions.

    The problem with these failures is that they want to infect the next generation of leaders with toxic ideologies including blaming imaginary enemies.

  • Haiwawo

    Be careful so-called comrade lest you publicly declare your ignorance. Basic knowledge of fleet management systems will guide you on how technology can track and regulate vehicles remotely which help when unsafe driving is detected. Don’t defend the indefensible.

  • xyz

    Technology does force drivers to behave. I have experience in the transport sector. Tracking gadgets can be fitted which measure how the driver is driving e.g. speeding, harsh braking speed, fuel consumption etc. Any driver who exceeds the speed limit is disciplined, drive cams report to the command centre as soon as the driver starts violating set standards. In this case as soon as the driver started speeding it would have rang alarm bells at the command centre. If drivers know that they are being monitored and disciplinary action would be taken they normally behave except for a few hot headed ones. However, this technology does cost money and not many transporters can afford it.

  • NGODZA

    King Lion should have their operators licence revoked immediately

  • Sipambi_263

    “…drivers must be responsible the moment they seat (sit) behind the wheel, for police can only enforce a law which must be observed even in their absence.” I am proud to be a Zimbabwean!

  • Madaliso

    This is sad indeed. My grandmother knows the owner of the buses , it’s a lady , business woman. My grandmother was supposed to travel to Zambia on Wednesday and she uses the lion buses but she postponed the trip to Monday. This scared me , idk what would have happened. Something is wrong with these king lion coaches . I hope they take them off our roads. Rest in peace to all those who perished

  • Moe_Scyslack2

    How do they enforce speed limit genius? ZRP are busy mounting a million roadblocks to extort money only to abandon them as soon as their pockets are full. Speed limits are enforced with highway patrol cars kwete roadblock every 5km

    • MkanyaGP

      A governor, or speed limiter, is a device used to measure and regulate the speed of a machine, such as an engine. It costs as little as R500

  • Sylvester

    43 families just lost their breadwinners.

    MAY THEIR DEAR SOULS REST IN ETERNAL PEACE

  • chirandu wekuzaka

    yes that technology can assist immediate apprehension of drivers over speeding , been to china for quite some time ,that’s the way they do ….its 21st century bos

  • mimy

    zvinorwadza izvi! saka zvoreva kuti ranga rine more than 75 passengers mapurisa itai serious shuwa nebasa renyu nemwoyo unoda basa kwete wekukara mari tiri povho tirikukuonai zvedu zvamurikuita muroad umu zvakawanda tinemeso uye tinofungawo zvamunotiwona kudai izvi. Iyo nyaya ye spot fine iyi ndoyanetsa mari ngaibhadharirwe kuma office ehurumende imbovarambidzai mapurisa ava kubata cash paroad tione.Ini ndorwadziwa zvangu nezvandoona muroad bhazi riri overload kungobhadharisa fine why vasingaburutse vanhu kuti mawandisa why mapurisa imimi?

  • Tarubva Chibva

    Hahahaha, Eish. Hasha dzanga dzawanda?

    Ma Cde edu aya!

    If there wasn’t CORRUPTION from early days of Demobilization Funds in the 80s all child soldiers, (like many Cdes surviving today), could have gone for Post Trauma Therapy.