New Era (Windhoek)

Namibia: Safety On the Roads Takes More Than Just Hoping and Praying

ACCORDING to statistics from the Motor Vehicle Accident (MVA) Fund, already 502 lives have been lost on Namibian national roads so far this year.

With the festive season, and its attendant rush only just about to begin in all earnest, surely one cannot but be alarmed at the thought and possibility that this figure is to increase, as much as one hopes and pray that this does not become the case.

But as much as hoping and praying is natural, when it comes to safety on the roads, and the prevention of the road death toll, surely we can do much more than just pray and hope.

In preparation for the expected and given increased activities on our roads during the impending festive season, the MVA Fund and its partners have already launched the Xupifa Eemwenyo (Save Lives) road safety campaign.

This is a campaign that goes back to 2005 when it was launched. Despite the campaign, accidents on our roads still have been alarming, irrespective of any season.

This is not to say that the MVA and company's campaign has not been fruitful. Indeed, it has been! If there is anyone out there who may feel and think that Xupifa Eemwenyo campaign has not been successful, he or she needs to ask self what the situation may have been had it not been for this campaign? I am sure all of us shall agree worse than worse.

But the pertinent question to ask or ponder is not whether the campaign has been successful or not.

The fact of the matter is that MVA and partners are only a few elements in the whole chain of those who have been doing, or should do their utmost, to ensure that our roads are safe for ourselves, our loved ones as well as fellow road users and their loved ones.

But at the same time in this chain there are also those who still have to bring their due to this important campaign. Worse, some of them have been and again this festive season are going to be part of the problem society, fronted by the MVA and partners, has been and is trying to lessen.

It is in particular the latter group, the one that may be described not necessarily as the problematic element, but for a lack of a better word the ignorant and/or indifferent one.

Needless to say, as long as within this campaign chain a significant part thereof does not only remain on the fringes of the campaign, but the very culprit and the actual nemesis of the road safety campaign, the successes all of us duly expect from the campaign shall remain average if not minimal.

Thus, as we embark on yet another festive season, and with prospects of it turning into yet a dark one instead of a joyous and happy one, the issue of the successfulness of the campaign should be thrown right back into the faces of the missing link, that is those who have been showing themselves to be indifferent and ignorant to the campaign at best, and derelict, hazardous and calamitous to it at worst.

Because the success of the campaign does not only hinge on those who are already expending every cent, time and energy to ensure its success but depends as much on those who at times have been indifferent and unhelpful to it at best, and at worse who have been debilitating it by undoing its gains by causing more accidents through their carelessness and sheer negligence.

Thus, if the question as to whether Xupifa Eemwenyo has been successful and/or is to be successful, is to be realistically and truthfully answered, it is only left to the missing link in the chain to not only bear responsibility for its absence, indifference and ignorance but most importantly to also bear accountability for its deconstructive engagement in the campaign by being responsible for more accidents, while others are doing their utmost to minimise them.

Therefore, every one us as road users, whether motorists, drivers, passengers and/or pedestrians, must this festive season search our own souls deep down and ask ourselves what have we been contributing over all these years since the inception of Xupifa Eemwenyo, to make it a success that all of us would want it to be?

But given the conspicuous absence and constructive contribution of some to this campaign, as we approach yet another festive season, they cannot but seriously engage in introspection as to how they can own up to their dereliction of duty all these years?

Through their indifference, ignorance and wanton acts of negligence hundreds of precious lives haven been lost, loved ones deprived of their loved ones and the country forced to spend millions of Namibian dollars that could otherwise have been expended better.

As if this is not enough, the country continues to spend on those made invalid by accidents, and many a home has been left without able breadwinners, being condemned thus to lives of poverty and squalour.

It is not too late for the culprits to repent. But the best repentance at this hour as we approach another festive season can be no more or less than bringing their due to the campaign by simply being responsible road users?

Because whether Xupifa Eemwenyo becomes successful hinges on the commitment of each one of us towards defensive and responsible road use!

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