Uphold road safety rules, discipline: UN President Mnangagwa welcomes United Nations Secretary General Special Envoy for Road Safety, Mr Jean Todt, at State House in Harare yesterday. — Picture: Innocent Makawa

Zvamaida Murwira Senior Reporter

Visiting United Nations special envoy, Mr Jean Todt has called for every citizen to play a role in ensuring road safety through upholding the law and discipline to ensure a carnage-free environment.

Speaking after meeting President Mnangagwa at State House yesterday, Mr Todt said he apprised the President on global trends, specifically in terms of road safety.

“I met with the President with the UN delegation to speak about what I did in June 2023, to speak about the situation of road safety on the Africa continent and more specifically in Zimbabwe,” said Mr Todt.

In June last year, Mr Todt visited East Africa to advocate for effective implementation of the Global Plan for the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2021-2030, which seeks to halve the number of road traffic fatalities and injuries by 2030.

He said during his stay in Zimbabwe he met several Government Ministers whose portfolio have a bearing on road safety implementation.

“I concluded a visit to Zimbabwe after I had a long discussion with the Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister (Felex Mhona) and other Government Ministers and I rounded off my visit with an engagement with the President of the country. It has been a very inspiring discussion where we discussed this silent pandemic which has to be dealt with,” he said.

Other Ministers he met during his stay include, Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Minister, Kazembe Kazembe, whose portfolio is responsible for law enforcement, Health and Child Care Minister, Dr Douglas Mombeshora, Sports, Recreation, Arts and Culture Minister Kirsty Coventry, among others.

He said one crucial aspect that ought to be done to ensure road safety was education to raise awareness, particularly among younger generations.

“We must educate the younger generation, it is about law enforcement, quality of vehicles, quality of the roads, simple things like wearing safety belts, not drinking and driving, having a proper helmet, not using your mobile phone, respecting the speed (limits) will help to reduce the number of accidents, of course we also need your support (the media) we need the support of everybody. Everyone has a part, motorists, pedestrians, those on the motorbike, so it is the responsibility of everybody to understand and to work better for the good of everyone,” he said.

He said the UN is involved because road safety is part of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Mr Todt said persons have to drive within the stipulated speed limits or face penalties.

Minister Mhona who accompanied Mr Todt to State House paid tribute to President Mnangagwa for his visionary leadership and passion for road safety.

“Let me thank our leader President Mnangagwa who is our visionary leader, who is passionate about road safety issues. The essence of us addressing this matter at the high-level means as a country we are on the right trajectory. I have heard from the special envoy that we have to move with speed to make sure we uphold law enforcement.

“We have good infrastructure, but alas we have a high number of road carnage on our roads. So, these are some of the initiatives we are making as a country to continuously educate our people so that they abide by the regulations on our roads,” he said.

The Government has always been committed to the adoption of international best practices and standards on road safety.

Mr Todt is a former rally driver and ex-chief executive of Formula One team, Ferrari.

Thereafter, he was appointed as Special Advisor to the UN Secretary-General, where he has distinguished himself over the years.

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