SUNDAY’S horror crash, which claimed 26 lives and left 45 people injured along the Harare-Nyamapanda highway, has been declared a State of Disaster, paving the way for bereaved families to receive State assistance for burial of the victims. This was disclosed by Acting President Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday.
Twenty-four of the victims died on the spot, one on the way to hospital and the other at Parirenyatwa Hospital yesterday, bringing the death toll to 26.
Offering his condolences in a statement yesterday, Cde Mnangagwa urged other people to join hands with the Government and extend support to the bereaved families.
“Following consultations, Government has decided to declare the Harare-Nyamapanda accident a State of Disaster, a move that should see Government extending support to the affected families by way of sharing burial responsibilities,” he said.
“I urge citizens, groups and communities of goodwill to join hands with Government in extending any kind of support to the affected families, so the late departed are given a befitting send off.”
The affected families will receive a coffin, $200 each and transport from the Government.
“On behalf of the Government, His Excellency the President, and my own behalf, I wish to express deep condolences to all families who lost their loved ones in a tragic accident involving two buses, which occurred yesterday at the 35km-peg along Harare-Nyamapanda Highway,” said Cde Mnangagwa.
“What compounds this tragedy which has already claimed about 25 lives so far is that it comes hard on the heels of yet another one on Mupfure Bridge in Mashonaland Central which claimed the lives of two Roman Catholic priests at the weekend.
“The whole nation joins all the bereaved families in their hour of deep grief. Equally Government wishes all those who sustained injuries in the accident a speedy recovery.”
Cde Mnangagwa urged road users to exercise extreme caution on the road bearing in mind that public transport should not be a danger to human lives.
Chief police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba yesterday said they had managed to identify 16 of the deceased.
They are the Zupco bus driver Nyasha Matika (45) of Belvedere, Pioneer bus driver Lovejoy Chabota (45), Munashe Mudzengerere (17) of Mbare, Tawengwa Matyora (10) and Fortunate Kuyere (9) both of Kadyamusungwa Village, Mutoko, Movert Chikata (six) of Bwanya Village, Lucia Chabata (12), Agness Sakurangana (26) of Katsvairo Village in Chief Nyachoma’s area and Tafadzwa Chinyama (12) of Johane Village in Mutoko.
The others are Tanaka Chinyama (seven), Tashinga Chinyama (seven), Nyaradzo Chihowa (32), Silvester Mudzengerere (14) of Mbare, Belinda Mutize (18) of Unit N, Seke, Lydia Nyakabawu (17) of number 216 Herbert Chitepo, Avenues, Harare and Patrick Mupemi (30) of number D13, ZRP Masasa Camp, Harare.
“The other 10 deceased persons have not yet been identified,” said Snr Asst Comm Charamba. “The Zimbabwe Republic Police is, therefore, appealing to relatives who may be missing their relatives to check with the police at Parirenyatwa police post.”
The Zupco bus heading for Mutoko and the Pioneer bus travelling to Harare side-swiped along the Harare-Nyamapanda highway on Sunday morning.
Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Dr Obert Mpofu and Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister Dr Ignatius Chombo yesterday visited 13 of the injured who are still admitted at Parirenyatwa Hospital.
Dr Chombo said he was grateful that several people from Mutoko, including Mutoko East legislator Cde Ricky Mawere were assisting the family members.
Dr Mpofu said it was sad when the country’s major roads had become death traps.
“It is very clear that there is urgent need by Government to repair and widen roads,” he said. “It is also necessary to adjust speed limits to suit the conditions of our roads until the roads have been widened.
“As Government we are concerned with the accident and we bereave with the families.”
Parirenyatwa Hospital officials said they received 50 people injured from the accident, but 37 of them had since been treated and discharged.
Three of the 13 still admitted at the hospital were in a critical condition yesterday, while the others, including a two-year-old girl, who sustained injuries and bruises all over their bodies were in a stable condition, but still in a state of shock.
The two-year-old girl, Tawananyasha Chinyama was travelling with her two sisters and a brother who all died in the accident.
According to officials at the hospital, the girl was admitted as an unknown person until her father Mr Vengai Chinyama pitched up.
Mr Oswald Mazarura (50) who is based in South Africa and had come to Harare to collect his passport said he was seated near the Zupco bus’ door when the accident occurred.
A sombre mood gripped Parirenyatwa Hospital mortuary yesterday as relatives of the deceased swarmed the facility to identify their relatives.
Pioneer Coaches yesterday expressed sadness at the accident.
‘’We are deeply saddened by this tragic loss and extend our heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families and friends. We also wish the injured a speedy recovery,” said the bus company.