Mnangagwa blames road carnage on sanctions

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Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa

JUSTICE, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs minister Emmerson Mnangagwa has blamed sanctions imposed on President Robert Mugabe and his inner circle for the upsurge in the number of fatal road accidents.

VENERANDA LANGA
SENIOR PARLIAMENTARY REPORTER

Mnangangwa, also leader of government business in Parliament, was responding to a question by Masvingo senator Misheck Marava during debate in the Senate last week.

Marava had said conventional minibuses and ex-Japanese vehicles — mainly Ipsums and Noahs — being used as public transport vehicles were to blame for the high number of deaths on the country’s roads.

“Last year his (Mnangagwa) ministry issued a statement banning the operations of these small vehicles and this led to their disappearance from our roads,” he said.

“Has there been a change of policy with regards licensing and operations of these vehicles?”
However, Mnangagwa said the sanctions by the United States, European Union and other Western countries were to blame for the carnage.

“You will realise honourable senator that we now have something like 14 years of sanctions,” the minister said.

“We have gone through that period without infrastructure development in our country as a result of the constraints resulting from sanctions.”

He said the improved economic situation had seen the government step up the rehabilitation of the road infrastructure.

“Those who come from Bulawayo know that a lot of progress has been made by the Transport ministry on the construction of the road from Plumtree-Bulawayo-Gweru and now to Harare,” Mnangagwa said.

“That has now improved the state of the road, as well as widening the roads in our country.”

He said the government had already approved schemes to do the same for several other major highways including the Beitbridge-Masvingo, Harare-Chirundu, Mutare-Harare, Bulawayo-Victoria Falls and Harare-Chirundu roads.

“We do not think that the question of issuing of licences is at the core of the accidents on our roads,” he said.

“We believe that there has been a growth from the economy in terms of motor vehicles on our roads without a corresponding expansion of infrastructure to accommodate the growth of that volume of traffic on our roads.”

Mnangagwa said traffic legislation was necessary to improve the quality of driving on the roads.

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