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Holiday Season Death Toll on Zimbabwean Roads Surges to 68

  • Ntungamili Nkomo
  • Jonga Kandemiiri

Police say they have launched an enforcement blitz targeting errant motorists, in particular transport operators who flout the rules of the road, and impounding vehicles determined to be unsafe

The number of people who have perished in Zimbabwean road accidents since the onset of the holiday season has risen to 68, authorities said Tuesday.

The toll climbed from 63 late Sunday to 68 Monday following a number of accidents across the country. Last year the holiday death toll exceeded 80.

In the worst accident this festive season, seven people died Thursday in Harare, the capital, when a commuter omnibus ran head-on into a stationary truck.

Police have launched an enforcement blitz targeting transport operators who flout road rules. They are also impounding vehicles determined to be unsafe.

Bulawayo police spokesman Mandlenkosi Moyo told VOA Studio 7 reporter Ntungamili Nkomo that authorities are now pulling out all stops to minimize casualties.

"In Bulawayo we want to make sure we bring down the number of accidents and casualties that occured here last year," Moyo said.

Elsewhere, sources who traveled the country’s main roads said they were surprised to see military police manning roadblocks with the Zimbabwe Republic Police. They said they saw at least two armed soldiers at every roadblock.

The Movement for Democratic Change formation of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai earlier this month condemned the recent deployment of soldiers in most parts of country saying they were being deployed to instill fear among villagers before elections.

Activist Sydney Chisi, president of the Youth Initiative for Democracy in Zimbabwe, confirmed seeing armed soldiers at a roadblock. But he told VOA reporter Jonga Jandemiiri that he was not sure whether the soldiers had been assigned to that duty for political reasons or simply to monitor police accused of demanding bribes.

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