About 134 people have been killed on Zimbabwe’s roads since the festive season started last week.
State-controlled media reports that only 39 people died between December 15 and December 24 last year, though the entire festive period through January 15 saw 147 deaths.
Given the high numbers, police fear that this year’s holiday period may be the deadliest in Zimbabwe’s history.
Deputy Minister of Transport and Roads, Morgan Komichi, said such high level of road crashes is of grave concern.
“The government has to do a lot to make sure that they create dual-carriageways on our roads and also to make sure that the vehicles and buses on these roads are in safe conditions. Our people during the holidays also tend to speed too much and they tend to drink while driving,” Komichi said.
Many also blame the lack of professionalism and corruption by members of the police who are failing to reinforce the law to make sure that people are not drink driving and for failing to carry out thorough road inspections.
Nine police officers were reportedly arrested in Masvingo Province during this period for taking bribes on the roads.
The deputy minister told VOA that while the government has embarked on road maintenance projects in critical areas such as the Harare-Mutare Road, much of the work has not really started because of lack of funds.
He said roads like the Beitbridge-Masvingo-Harare Road are “still very dangerous”, although feasibility studies have already been carried out.
“So we expect to carry out the work in the near future so that we can provide better and safe roads,” said Komichi.
Interview wih Morgan Komichi
According to the United Nations World Health statistics report, road crashes are among the top 10 causes of death worldwide.
As the number of vehicles increases, particularly in developing countries, experts say road crashes will become one of the top 5 causes of death.
As of 2012, the report said road crashes is the 13th
leading cause of death in Zimbabwe.