Media reports show that the 2012/2013 festive season has broken records for being the bloodiest ever for Zimbabwe. According to statistics, close to 1 100 accidents were recorded, claiming 200 lives and injuring 894 others.
I have just been reading statistics on the global cost of road traffic accidents and I discovered that the world loses almost US$230 billion each year due to reckless behaviour on the roads.
This is not small change.
It is money that can transform nations. I actually wonder how much Zimbabwe lost due to the 1 094 road traffic accidents, but if we consider the value we invest into the vehicles plus the loss of productive lives going into 2013, I believe the figure is not cheap change either.
Perhaps, in terms of the carnage statistics, this is also an important issue we should consider as a wake-up call.
My question and maybe shared by many others is: Will we ever see an end to all this pain and suffering on our roads or we just wait to be another painful statistic?
The encouraging thing, however, is that we all have enough fight left in us to ensure that we prevent road carnage and more so, what is also encouraging is that the number of organisations, including Mimosa Mining Company, geared to spearhead the fight against road carnage, is on the increase.
This is a clear sign that this is a serious issue and anyone who chooses to ignore it might actually be doing so at their own peril. Over the last couple of weeks, I have received numerous correspondences from organisations that are involved in the fight against road carnage.
However, the two that stood out for me are the Professional Drivers' Association of Zimbabwe and an organisation called Traffic Free Flow. I would like to hail Mr Albert Sibanda (Professional Drivers' Association of Zimbabwe) and Mr Wellington Mugumbate (Traffic Free Flow) and their respective teams for the sterling efforts they are putting towards cleaning up our streets of any danger when we travel.
I will admit that I was impressed to hear of an association representing professional drivers. Not only does this ensure professionalism within the transport sector, but I believe this can also go a long way into protecting passengers in their travels.
In my telephone conversation with Mr Sibanda, he highlighted that from his association's point of view, they are interested in the "Let's Go Zero Campaign" running beyond just the scope of the festive season and I quickly highlighted that the initiative is actually structured as a long-term initiative because accidents happen everyday.
Mr Sibanda, who is a former Zupco bus driver and a transport operator himself, said the association was started following a realisation that Zimbabwe's roads have become a mess and unprofessionally managed.
He and a few transport operators decided to mobilise other drivers to realise the importance of their job in protecting and saving lives on the roads. The association, which is an umbrella body for all professional drivers, represents truck drivers, bus drivers, taxi drivers, commercial drivers, train drivers, motorcyclists and the construction drivers.
Traffic Free Flow, on the other hand, is a private sector initiative that seeks to complement the activities of the Zimbabwe Republic Police and the Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe and other stakeholders.
Wellington and his team have very interesting ideas on decongesting busy road intersections, protecting pedestrians particularly children at crossing points and generally encouraging safe practices on our roads.
As an all-stakeholder initiative the "Let's Go Zero" drive is keen to work with organisations such as Professional Drivers' Association of Zimbabwe and Traffic Free Flow and also encourages other individuals, groups, organisations, associations, churches and Government departments that are committed to the fight against road carnage, to join the campaign.
During the launch of the campaign in October last year, a number of guests committed to fight harm at the workplace, on the roads and in our daily lives.
Mimosa invites the rest of the country to make this campaign a success.
Till next week, God bless Zimbabwe.