Transport Minister faces scrutiny as fatal road accidents plague Zimbabwe


HARARE – In a bid to shed light on the disconcerting surge of fatal road accidents gripping Zimbabwe, Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister, Felix Mhona has been summoned by Parliament to account for the alarming state of affairs.

Felix Mhona Transport Minister Summoned by Parliament over road traffic accidents In Zimbabwe
Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Felix Mhona [Image: NewsDay]

This comes in the wake of a series of tragic road incidents, most notably along the treacherous Bulawayo-Beitbridge Highway and the perilous Masvingo-Beitbridge Highway, where 22 and nine lives were tragically claimed, respectively.

Minister Mhona is expected not only to elucidate the reasons behind these heart-wrenching events but also to address the concerns surrounding the mishandling of the deceased’s remains in the case of the Bulawayo-Beitbridge Highway accident, which claimed the lives of 22 individuals.

The disheartening reality unfolded as more than 30 lives were abruptly snuffed out in just a few harrowing days.

Among the devastating incidents, six souls were tragically lost in a fateful road collision in Mwenezi, while Chipinge witnessed the untimely demise of three innocent lives under similar circumstances.

A mere 24 hours later, the nation recoiled in collective shock as news reverberated of a catastrophic collision between a South Africa-bound Toyota Quantum minibus and a formidable truck, resulting in the heartrending loss of 22 more lives.

Recognizing the urgency of the matter, Mberengwa West legislator, Tafanana Zhou, representing ZANU PF, raised the issue as a matter of national interest in the National Assembly.

Minister Zhou beseeched Minister Mhona to issue a comprehensive ministerial statement, unveiling the government’s plans to curb the devastating road carnage that threatens to mar the upcoming festive season.

“Mr. Speaker Sir, the specter of road accidents looms ominously over our nation, and as we approach the joyous festive season, it Is incumbent upon us to receive a ministerial statement that outlines the government's unwavering commitment to vanquish this peril on our roads,” Zhou said.

He further emphasized the importance of demonstrating utmost respect for the departed by ensuring the dignified handling of their remains.

Zhou added, “Moreover, it is imperative that we honor the memory of those who have tragically perished by treating their remains with the reverence they deserve. Thus, I humbly beseech the honorable minister to present a ministerial statement that elucidates the reasons behind the absence of body bags for the deceased.”

Responding to the urgent plea, The Speaker of the National Assembly, Jacob Mudenda, urged the ZANU PF chief whip to engage Minister Mhona promptly, ensuring that the comprehensive ministerial statement is prepared and presented to the nation no later than the 28th of November.

In the preceding week, Mhona told Senators about the formulation of a road accident fund, an initiative aimed at alleviating the immense financial burden thrust upon the national treasury in the aftermath of such catastrophic incidents.

When pressed on this matter during a recent session last week Mhona reassured the nation of his ministry’s commitment to establishing the much-needed road accident fund.

“We are not merely paying lip service to this pressing issue. We are actively engaged in the process of advocating for a road accident fund within the hallowed halls of this esteemed House and National Assembly. This fund will serve as a bulwark against the financial strain currently afflicting our national treasury, enabling us to extend support to the dependents of the victims and ensure a dignified farewell to the departed,” Mhona said.

Minister Mhona further underscored the far-reaching significance of the proposed fund, stating, “Indeed, this fund will alleviate the tremendous burden currently bearing down upon us. 

“It will go above and beyond, addressing the concerns voiced by our citizens. Whether it be covering expenses or providing for the dependents of the fallen, our ministry is resolute in benchmarking ourselves against our neighboring nations and adopting the best practices to tackle this critical issue head-on.”

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