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Zimbabwe's poor road infrastructure blamed for traffic accidents

by Staff reporter
29 Dec 2023 at 20:51hrs | Views
One of the primary causes of accidents in Zimbabwe is attributed to the poor condition of the country's roads, making safe driving challenging and contributing to an increased accident rate.

Recent police statistics revealed that between December 15 and December 27, 2023, 92 people lost their lives in 1 195 traffic incidents, with 464 individuals sustaining injuries nationwide.

Although police primarily attribute accidents to human error, the Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) contends that the poor state of roads also plays a significant role, and they urge law enforcement to anticipate further incidents.

"Now with regards to accidents, I was reading a report from the chairman of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Transport. He reported that there is a 90 percent backlog on repairs of roads.  Our roads are in such a state that they are not usable," said Benny Moyo, BPRA Secretary for Education at an engagement between residents and police recently.

Moyo observed that while most roads were impassable, those who needed to travel to their rural homes for the holiday season had no alternative but to use them.

"Residents want to travel in Hwange but that road is not usable. We have residents in Bulawayo who have homes in Tsholotsho but that road is not usable. The state of our roads is such that they are prone to cause accidents," he claimed.

Moyo added that the Treasury's insufficient budget for the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development Works was also a source of concern for citizens and taxpayers.

"According to the report (by the Chairman of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Transport), the government has allocated the country just over $1 million when the Ministry would have required over $9 million or so to that effect. If the roads are at a 90 percent backlog of repairs then, we should anticipate there would be many accidents and therefore more problems in the roads," said the BPRA official.

"The Nkayi Road is not navigable, it has been like that for donkey years yet there are residents of Bulawayo who want to travel to Nkayi. Police must anticipate more accidents there because it is not that the car would be road unworthy, it is because the roads are not usable."

According to the BPRA official, the "grim state of affairs on the roads" was compounded by the "fact" that emergency services that supplement services when accidents occur were also incapacitated.

"There was a report recently where a doctor was involved in an accident and died because our emergency response services are poor. These emergency services can't cope either because we don't have the facilities to cope with the kind of emergencies we have," Moyo said.

"I'm talking as residents, we are taxpayers and we expect our roads to be usable. We are motorists, we pay to the Zimbabwe National Road Administration (ZINARA) and expect that money to be ploughed back into our roads so that they are usable."

Bulawayo North Member of Parliament Minenhle Gumede also weighed in and said that the Treasury must release adequate funds to responsible authorities to rehabilitate the road network.

"Councils both in urban and rural areas need adequate funds to fix the roads, which have worsened overuse and now face more damage with the rains. On the same note, we encourage drivers to exercise caution on the roads as we cannot afford to lose more people on our roads. The current number of fatalities is cause for concern because it reveals that we have a high percentage of road fatalities in Zimbabwe," Gumede said in an interview with CITE.

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