SINCE Saturday, the social media, the local radio stations, television and all national newspapers have been awash with reports of tragic road accidents involving public transport and private vehicles in which 12 people were killed.
The head-on collision on Saturday night between the Pathfinder luxury coach and a coal-laden heavy haulage truck hogged the limelight as it left six dead.
The coach, which had about 66 people on board including prominent sports personalities, hit a stray cow, resulting in it encroaching into the lane of the haulage truck. The rest they say is history.
Less than 24 hours later, a male cyclist was tragically knocked down by a car which was overtaking another near Mzingwane High School in Esigodini.
On the same day two people lost their lives near Mawabeni when their car collided with a kombi. The previous Friday, three people believed to be Malawian citizens died on the spot when their kombi overturned near Mbembesi.
Various reasons have been proffered for the four separate accidents, among them stray animals along the highways, unfit vehicles, speeding and lack of driving experience.
There is a general consensus among regular users of the Bulawayo-Harare Highway that the place where the Pathfinder bus met its fate has become a black spot with locals interviewed by this newspaper on Sunday saying more than nine accidents involving stray cattle had occurred there this year alone.
It’s prudent to mention that these nine incidents only include accidents that had fatalities, otherwise many others went unreported or were not witnessed as they mostly occur in the dead of the night.
A driver who plies the Bulawayo-Harare Road charged that the highway has been turned into a “kraal” where you find goats, sheep and cattle.
There have been wide choruses from motorists and the generality of the population to the government to fence off the roads.
“There are many plots and settlements close to the road on that route, particularly between Ntabazinduna and Shangani. This is where you find a large concentration of cattle and donkeys grazing along the road with no one in sight and in such scenarios, the animal can dart into the road at any moment instantly causing an accident,” said a driver who spoke to by Southern Eye on Monday.
This newspaper stated on Monday that the Pathfinder tragedy could have been avoided if the government cracked down on villagers and other newly-resettled farmers who vandalise the fences bordering the highways.
It is shocking the government has not uttered a word since the loss of 12 citizens within a space of four days.
The deafening silence smacks of gross arrogance and insensitivity from the authorities charged with ensuring safety of road users.
A statement from the responsible officials would suffice to show the State has its citizens at heart.