YESTERDAY this newspaper broke the news on its popular website just before 8pm about the tragic accident which occured 60km from Bulawayo in which six passengers perished after a Pathfinder luxury coach collided head on with a haulage truck laden with coal.
Scores of passengers are reportedly fighting for their lives at various hospitals dotted around the city, including sports personalities Highlanders Football Club chairperson Peter Dube and Chicken Inn secretary Tavengwa Hara. The luxury coach reportedly hit a stray cow and haulage truck’s coal cargo reportedly “buried” some passengers, almost suffocating them.
Residents living within the vicinity of the accident scene in Jama resettlement area yesterday blamed the Saturday evening tragedy on negligence by fellow residents who steal the bordering paddock fences leading to livestock straying onto the Bulawayo-Harare Highway, risking their lives and those of motorists and other road users.
Concerned residents have, however, suggested that paddocks be fenced off to avoid future carnages. More than nine deadly traffic accidents have occurred on the same spot where six victims of the Pathfinder tragedy lost their lives due to stray animals.
Some residents who spoke to this newspaper alleged there were people in the area who stole the paddocks wire to fulfil their selfish needs, suggesting that strong security was needed.
This newspaper was yesterday inundated with calls from concerned readers who were also adamant the accident could have been avoided if the government came down hard on people who pulled down the fences.
It is an open secret that some of our new farmers have been “stealing” the fencing to use as snares for wildlife while others have pulled down the wires to fence their allocated pieces of land.
We call for deterrent penalties on offending residents, particularly those living on the highways that leave their livestock to roam. The government should also be chided for failing to repair the fences bordering farms and other communities along highways.
Instead of mulling installing urban tollgates, the government should move with speed to repair the fences before more motorists are killed on the roads.
While residents along the country’s highways have blamed people that steal the fences, they should also be held accountable for their stray animals for us to curb the unnecessary carnage on our roads.
The Pathfinder tragedy could have been avoided if responsible authorities had their eye on the ball.