The weekend death toll from accidents on Zimbabwe's crumbling highways has risen to six, including officials of two of the political parties sharing power in the Harare national unity government.
ZANU-PF Central Committee Member Alice Nkomo and two members of her family were killed when the Toyota Hilux in which they were traveling was sideswiped by a Mazda 5 overtaking them.
ZANU-PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo confirmed Nkomo’s death on a highway near Bulawayo.
Also on Saturday night, On three officials of the MDC formation headed by Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara were killed on a highway between Zvishavane and Shurugwi in Midlands province on their way from one political meeting to another.
MDC Secretary for Agriculture Renson Gasela, National Disciplinary Committee Chairman Lyson Mlambo and Women’s Assembly Chairwoman for Midlands South Ntombizodzwa Gumbo died when their vehicle ran into a front-end loader on the roadway in foggy conditions.
Mutambara MDC spokesman Edwin Mushoriwa told VOA Studio 7 reporter Jonga Kandemiiri that funerals for the deceased will await the return of family members who are outside the country.
Observers blamed the rising number of deadly highway accidents in the country on poor road conditions more than human error, though that appeared to be a factor in at least one of the accidents this weekend.
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition spokesman Sidney Chisi said most highways are in poor condition and need to be widened to four lanes for greater safety.
During the recent Easter holiday alone, some 310 accidents in the country claimed 94 lives.
Carelessness also contributed. Sources familiar with the road where the MDC officials died said construction firms had left equipment parked on the roadway without warning triangles in the approach.
Chisi said that the government has not invested enough in road improvements.