Mugabe escort accident riles police
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The accident the third in a fortnight occurred along the Robert Mugabe Highway in Zvimba when Mugabe was heading for Harare on Sunday.
Police said the commuter omnibus driver failed to observe a signal to pull off the road and make way for the motorcade.
Senior Assistant Commissioner commanding traffic Martin Chari told journalists in Harare that the kombi was probably speeding and failed to avoid the approaching police vehicle.
Unconfirmed sources claimed the death toll in Mugabeâ€™s motorcade accident had since risen to three, but police spokesperson Oliver Mandipaka said he was not aware of the development.
"Accidents involving commuter omnibuses particularly kombis, are increasing at an alarming rate," Chari said.
"People are injured and others die in these accidents besides the inevitable loss of property.
"It appears the passenger-carrying service providers have sacrificed the value of life and treated it as a commodity for quick monetory returns."
Chari said most of the accidents were caused by recklessness, speeding and total disregard for vehicle road worthiness.
He said overloading was the biggest problem on the countryâ€™s roads.
Since March, a total of 46 people had died in accidents involving commuter omnibuses, most of them overloaded and speeding, according to the police.
"As the police, we are not going to put up with this unnecessary loss of life," he said.
"A raft of strategies have been put in place to ensure that all passenger-carrying vehicles are compliant with the Road Traffic and Road Motor Transportation Acts and regulations," Chari said.
Operations targeting passenger vehicles would be to check on overloading and road worthiness.
Speed traps would also be increased, he said.
Police had purchased breathalyser equipment and would soon start testing drivers on the roads.
"Any driver found to be driving under the influence of alcohol will be detained," Chari said.
Chari pleaded with the travelling public to bear with the police on the delays that they were bound to encounter as a result of the roadblocks.
He also urged travellers to make the right choice by avoiding vehicles that were unroadworthy.
Chari said there would be more and permanent police presence on the roads, despite calls by many people, including parliamentarians for a reduction in roadblocks which they said served no purpose other than delaying travellers.
"We also encourage the public to report corrupt activities by the police. We donâ€™t want corruption in our ranks," he added.
In the past, police have launched several operations on kombis but there were widespread concerns over corruption within the police force.
Chari also said the countryâ€™s poor condition of the roads was no longer coping with the large volumes of vehicles and urged motorists to exercise caution.
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