President mourns crash victims •Accident declared national disaster •Coffins, transport for bereaved families

President Mugabe

President Mugabe

Herald Reporters—
President Mugabe has expressed grief over the loss of 31 lives in a road traffic accident involving a bus and a commuter omnibus near Kwekwe along the Harare-Bulawayo highway on Thursday.The accident has been declared a national disaster and Government, through the Civil Protection Unit (CPU), has pledged to meet all funeral expenses. In a statement yesterday, the President said: “It is not easy to fathom, let alone to accept that such a big number of people could perish on our roads in circumstances that otherwise could have been avoidable.

“This needless carnage yet again reminds us of the high cost exerted on precious innocent lives by reckless decisions attributable to our drivers and motorists. “Indeed, it underlines the haplessness of the commuter who literally hands over his or her life to the driver. Sadly, it is not always that our road users realise the heavy responsibility they carry on the road.”

President Mugabe said the current wet spell had created treacherous conditions on the roads, requiring that drivers and motorists exercise maximum care and responsibility.

The same wet conditions, he added, enjoined owners of vehicles, especially those catering for the commuting public, to ensure that their vehicles were roadworthy. “Our bleeding hearts reach out to the families, which lost their loved ones in this tragic disaster,” he said.

“On behalf of the Zanu-PF Government and on my own behalf, I wish to extend our condolences to the families of the deceased as well as wish a speedy recovery to all those injured in the accident.”

When The Herald visited the accident scene, one of the country’s worst bus disasters, yesterday, police had just discovered a hand and a head that were dismembered from the bodies.

Fifteen bodies have been positively identified so far.

Speaking at the accident site, head of the inter-ministerial committee on national disasters and Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister Saviour Kasukuwere said the President had authorised the declaration of the accident as a national disaster.

Minister Kasukuwere said Government would provide coffins, transport and meet other funeral expenses. Government would release $300 for each bereaved family, while Fochez Logistics that owns the bus will supply $129 for each of the affected 31 families.

The Insurance Council of Zimbabwe pledged to meet medical bills for the injured to the tune of $10 000 and pay private mortuaries to be used. The Kwekwe District Administrator’s office would coordinate the assistance.

Said Minister Kasukuwere: “President Mugabe has authorised that this tragic incident be declared a national disaster. Government will mobilise resources to assist the bereaved families with transport to take their relatives’ bodies to their respective areas of burial as well as supplying coffins and food for the funerals,” he said.

Briefing Minister Kasukuwere, Police Officer Commanding Midlands Province Senior Assistant Commissioner Abigail Moyo, said the accident could have been avoided if the driver of the Mercedes Benz Sprinter, Bhekithemba Tshuma, had reduced speed and pulled off to the left to avoid impact.

“The death toll has risen to 31 after one more patient whose condition was critical, died at Gweru Provincial Hospital. We feel that the accident could have been avoided if the driver of the Mercedes Benz Sprinter had exercised caution considering that the driver of the bus struggled to control the bus for close to 300 metres.

“Police had a torrid time identifying the victims because some of the bodies were decapitated while others had missing body parts that include hands and legs which were scattered all over the place,” she said.

Snr Asst Comm Moyo said the bus, which was Harare-bound had 60 passengers on board.

“The roof of the Mercedes Benz Sprinter was ripped off as a result of the impact and 10 people died on the spot while 18 others from the bus died on the spot. Three others who were aboard the Mercedes Benz Sprinter died in hospital. Fifteen bodies have so far been identified while 16 others are yet to be positively identified by relatives.

“Some victims have been treated and discharged but only eight, three of whom are still at Kwekwe District Hospital, one at Gweru Provincial Hospital and four others whose conditions are very critical have been referred to Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals,” she said.

Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa also sent his condolence message to the bereaved families. “I was deeply saddened to hear about the road traffic accident that occurred 20km outside Kwekwe, which resulted in the death of 31 people and left many injured,” VP Mnangagwa wrote in his condolences message.

“As Vice President of the Republic of Zimbabwe and on behalf of the entire Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, and on my own behalf, I extend heartfelt condolences to the families, loved ones, and all the people of Zimbabwe for this tragic occurrence. In this hour of grief, I wish you all fortitude.”

VP Mnangagwa said the accident would drive responsible authorities to develop and implement watertight measures to prevent the continued road carnage on the country’s roads.

“The country and indeed Midlands Province is deeply saddened by the simultaneous loss of so many lives. This accident gives impetus to the responsible authorities to develop and implement more stringent strategies to prevent the continuing road carnage on the country’s roads.”

“Our thoughts are with all the bereaved families and we pray that the Lord grants them comfort, and strength in the wake of this calamitous loss.” He wished the injured, a quick recovery.

Mr Terry Mapfoche, owner of Fochez bus said: “No one looks forward to that happening, but all we can say is we are deeply sorry for the loss of lives and may the families of the victims find it in their hearts to forgive us,” he said.

“We decided to pay this money ($4 000) because you know with these insurance companies, it takes up to two or three months for the processes to be finished, and we felt we should help now in terms of burial and funeral arrangements.”

He expressed gratitude towards the Government for helping them in assisting the victims’ families. “We want to thank the Government with the help they are giving us. They are providing $300 per each person and also coffins. This move is really appreciated considering some people did not have policies,’’ said Mr Mapfoche.

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  • mt darwin

    Ko vakafira kuhondo vausina kumbobva wakataura nezvavo, kana kuunganidza vabereki vavo muchitaurawo navo kuti zvichafambiswa sei nhaiwe Mugabe Robert.

    • Max Chiks

      You need help …… Seriously! You don’t need to have bad blood simply because you come from the same area as the deposed VP

    • Andrew

      A letter to his excellence (A President of the Republic of Zimbabwe)

      Guys I think in some cases we are missing the actual point here. The roads in Zimbabwe were made by the whites long back with a life span of 20 years and they were suppose to be resurfaced or replaced about 18 years ago, but look Mr President, we may try to runaway from the truth but I think to some extend you also bear the blame for the loss of all those lives. You never repaired roads nor replaced them. Its only 2012 when you decided to resurface the roads, but lets consider the state of the roads.

      Yes the traffic owners should play their role, but we need combined efforts starting from the passengers, the drivers, the vehicle owners, the regulatory officers and also the government including the president himself. Guys lets look at the state of the roads, the quality and sizes as well considering the rate at which traffic is increasing in Zimbabwe.

      The major highways should have been widened and dualised about 15 years ago, but nobody cared about them. I don’t blame you Mr president, l respect you big time, but think about what I have just said.

      You keep deploying police officers on roads, but that doesnt work. Even if you put 100 road blocks in one highway, Harare-Bulawayo, it helps but to a lesser extend or even worsen the situation because the police will delay people and the driver will have to over-speed to compensate for the time lost in road blocks. I am being technical here so please lets look at all possible factors that might be causing these road problems.

      If the roads were wide enough to accommodate the traffic volumes we have at the present day in Zimbabwe and road quality enhanced, there is no need for so many police offers being deployed in roads.

      So I may not blame the drivers and the company owners alone for the loss of all these souls at once, but l question the state of the roads and the responsible ministries. How many years of independence, how many minerals do we mine in Zim including the recent diamond struggle and what have benefited from them. Please don’t come to us telling us to vote for you. 36 years we have had you as our president, but look at where you have brought the nation to, and the lives we losing each day in those roads, the lives we lost due to cholera out-break as a result of poor sanitary services. And now you want Grace to be the president or any other Zanu PF member to be the president.

      Ndapota vakuru wenyika, handisi kukutukai kana kukupai mhosva, but befor you point fingers at whats happening today think about how it built for all these years of negligence, only to manifest today.

      And the people of your part are busy fighting for power and killing each other for presidential posts, and they are not even worried about the majority of Zimbabwe. Please sorry we need leaders with people at heart. Not who let people built and later to have their homes destroyed, not a gvt which let people die of hunger.

      Please remember what you did to the people of the rural communities in Zimbabwe, towards the votes you gave them some torches and cups…does that make sense to you? Do they pay fees with torches, do they eat torches?

      Ah Mr president I dont think you have people at heart. We need a democratic Zimbabwe now.



  • theheraldonline

    Good thoughts Tinoda. We also strongly suggest that our drivers change their attitudes on the road. The police can only do so much. But you, what role are you playing? What about me, what role am I playing? Until when shall we blame the many road blocks by police on the roads? To what extent are individuals playing their roles on our roads? Just sharing our thoughts over and above your good suggestions above. It’s sad that we keep losing lives.

    • Rawboy

      I concur. The vast majority of road accidents the world over are due to human error and that is a fact.

      People taking chances, not thinking twice of paying a bribe for a blind eye be turned against a unroadworthy defective vehicle ,driving too fast for the prevailing conditions and scant regard for other road users.

      Human nature for you hey!

  • Rawboy

    With all due respect clevino.The condition of the road not an issue in this particular case was it ?

  • Hameno

    May their souls rest in peace

  • Rawboy

    Care to elaborate why you think ndapenga?
    And there is a ? at the end of my comment just in case you missed it!

  • SimonPetere

    Brilliant idea but the government in place have no time for that …..busy ruining the country

  • Emru Kunanti

    Is this a movie script or what?

    • Tinoda Runyararo

      wish it was….true story