17 January 2013

Zimbabwe: Take Heed of Safety Messages, Road Users Urged

GOVERNMENT has urged road users to take heed of road safety messages as most accidents that occur on the roads are caused by human error and can be avoided. Transport, Communication and

Infrastructure Development Minister Nicholas Goche said it was most disheartening that many accidents were caused by human error.

He said this in a speech read on his behalf by the ministry's principal director, Engineer Eric Gumbi, during the launch of the road safety campaign video and unveiling of road safety ambassadors.

The videos, "Musatyaire Makadhakwa" and "Tsaona", were done by gospel artistes Pastor Charles Charamba and his wife Olivia Charamba and the Apostolic Faith Mission in Zimbabwe respectively.

Government through the Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe has appointed four road safety ambassadors -- Pastor Charamba, Amai Charamba and soccer legends George Shaya and David Mandigora - who are expected to convey traffic awareness campaigns to all road users in a bid to reduce road carnage.

Minister Goche said it was disturbing to witness so much wanton destruction of innocent lives and property.

"According to the Zimbabwe Republic Police, 1 476 accidents resulting in 228 deaths were recorded from December 15 2012 to January 8 this year, compared to 1 399 accidents and 118 deaths last year during the same period," he said.

"Yes the number of motor vehicles has gone up compared to last year, but to have the number of deaths going up by 100 percent is both shocking and unacceptable. What is most disheartening is that most of the accidents are caused by human error and hence avoidable," he said.

He said road safety should not be left to Government alone.

"The concept of road safety ambassadors was mooted as a way of enhancing communication in the Decade of Action for Road Safety. Sadc countries and indeed the whole world have begun unveiling their own ambassadors, who will carry on their roles on a voluntary basis, " he said.

He said these ambassadors would play a critical role in the race to reverse the plight on the roads.

TSCZ managing director Mr Obios Chinyere, who is United Nations focal point for the Decade of Action for Road Safety, said despite the many campaigns on road safety, the number of accidents continue to rise.

Pastor Charamba said they came up with the song as a concept to preserve human life. "We needed to echo the voice of Government arms such as Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe, ZRP and also the media," he said.

Amai Charamba applauded Government for being given the opportunity and said it was her hope that safety would prevail on the roads.

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