|A cow crosses the Masvingo-Beitbridge Road in Mwenezi|
…3-month-old baby survives dies as mother dies in recent accident
MWENEZI - A three-month-old baby boy miraculously survived a horrific car accident which tragically claimed the life of his mother right the spot after the vehicle by which they were traveling hit a cow along the Masvingo-Beitbridge highway.
The accident occurred on December 01 at Mateke turnoff along the Mwenezi district stretch of the Masvingo-Beitbridge highway. It claimed the life of Ulita Mpofu but her baby boy was spared, and he was pulled from the vehicle wreckage with no scratch.
The accident was responded to by Rutenga traffic police, with some sources saying Omac Guzha, the driver of the 3.5-tonne truck which was traveling towards Rutenga from Beitbridge with seven passengers on board, was to blame for the tragedy.
Guzha, who survived the accident with minor injuries, said he rammed into a herd of cattle right in the middle of the road just after a haulage truck which was coming from the opposite direction had beamed its headlamps into his face.
"One passenger got seriously injured with the rest of us escaping with minor injuries. The mother of a 3-month-old boy is the one who died on the spot but the baby survived. My eyesight had been affected when the driver of the oncoming truck flashed his headlamps into my face.
“He did not even give me any danger signal of what was immediately ahead of me. I did my level best to avoid hitting the cattle but I still crashed into one of them and the vehicle veered off the road," said Guzha.
He denied accusations that he had acted recklessness on the road and that he was over-speeding when the accident occurred.
TellZim News contacted Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe (TSCZ) acting director of operations Ernest Muchena to get his views on road safety this festive season.
Muchena acknowledged that the Masvingo-Beitbridge highway, especially the Chivi-Mwenezi stretch, has experienced some of the worst road traffic accidents caused by both human error and the presence of livestock on the road.
"Since Zimbabwe is a cattle country, we urge drivers to exercise extreme caution when driving this festive season and ever after. Villagers and farmers who live along the highway are urged to pen their cattle every day and make sure they do not allow them to be on the road.
“Under the country’s road traffic regulations, it is an offence for people to let their domestic animals stray along roads such as the Beitbridge-Masvingo highway," said Muchena.
Carcasses of domestic animals hit by vehicles are not an uncommon sight on this road which has over the years created orphans, widows and widowers.
Many of the accident occur during the night or in the rain when visibility is low, making it difficult for speeding drivers to control their vehicles in face of imminent danger, and to minimise the impact of accidents.
Some farmers who live close to the highway feel that there is need for greater road traffic law enforcement along the highway.
"As farmers, we take part of the blame for the stray animals that cause accidents along the road but we also feel that law enforcement is not adequate. Those responsible for enforcing the law seem to be sleeping on duty and we feel more could be done to improve road safety,” said local farmer Juliet Moyo.
She said culprits almost always seem to know how to navigate their way out of trouble as police officers were more than eager to let them go if bribes were paid.