The publicity of road awareness campaigns is no longer only common during the festive seasons, but is now being done continuously throughout the year. These sentiments were echoed by, the Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe ( TSCZ ) acting Director of Operations Mr Ernest Muchena when he was live on TechMag Tv.
This was in response to the question why the TSCZ only appears in overdrive during Christmas time yet touts are the order of the day, always hanging on ”kombis” also known as ”mushikashikaz” or taxi’s that are ferrying people illegally since only Zupco registered taxi’s are allowed on the road.
The presenter enlightened his guest on the dangers touts bring stating that daily when he travels from home to work he sees these self made conductors hanging for dear life on dangerous vehicle positions endangering the pedestrians, the commuters and every other road user.
Asked on why TSCZ were doing nothing to educate these touts and ”kombi” owners or drivers to desist from endangering everyone they encounter on the road, an emotionally charged but calm Acting Director of Operations said their mandate was to educate and not to change the behaviours of menace drivers or touts and that his council was doing all it can.
He said ” anyone who jumps into these ”mushikashikaz or kombiz ” that are illegal does so at their own peril as…some of them are driven by unlicensed drivers….are not road worthy….no wonder only Zupco designated vehicles must be used for public transport… if public does not take heed they make our roads unsafe…”
According to the official, they are on track in educating millions of road users and issued thousands of defensive driving certificates. In this regard, the record of road fatalities and casualties should decrease substantially to 50 % as they envision if everyone corporates.Mr Muchena cited
”… the need for National political will is critical if we are to attain our target of halving road accident- related deaths to 50 percent. We hope parliamentarians and traditional leadership will take on board such initiatives in the near future.”
Muchena said ”….Road safety is a collective responsibility with benefits to many, including third parties. We must desist from the blame game and unite against road traffic deaths, injury and property damage.
Road traffic crashes also affect everyone directly and or indirectly. It is ,therefore, imperative to continuously include all stakeholders like churches, villages, schools and the private sector, among others in road safety programmes.If we were not doing our part we probably would not have accepted your invitation into the studios…but here we are showing that we do campaigns not only during christmas festivities…you will see us on tv on papers everywhere just as you see me here….”
The TSCZ will continuously engage political and traditional leadership in its awareness campaigns on road safety. Political and traditional leadership also assist in educating community members of the need to protect road infrastructure from vandalism ,theft and more so road carnage which brings utter destruction to our roads contributing to the 3% loss in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Such infrastructure includes road signs and fences, among others. With the new Highway Code already in place, the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development is installing new road signs countrywide and this will go a long way in ensuring road safety. These road signs need to be protected from the monster of vandalism that has been common of late in the country and not only that but the very monster of accidents that can be avoided if we all play our part.