This ac­ci­dent could have been avoided

The Manica Post - - Comment & Feedback -

THE fa­tal road ac­ci­dent that killed two coun­cil work­ers near 22 Miles along the Mutare-Masvingo High­way makes sad read­ing. News of the tragic in­ci­dent which oc­curred close to 40km away from the city cen­tre shocked many as it was un­ex­pected.

We mourn with fam­i­lies that lost their loved ones and we pray that they find com­fort in these dif­fi­cult mo­ments.

Coun­cil promised to play its part and help the be­reaved fam­i­lies bury the de­ceased with the re­spect and hon­our they de­serve.

As we mourn the de­parted and have high hopes for a brighter fu­ture, we should take lessons from the events lead­ing to the tragic in­ci­dent.

Life is pre­cious, we only live once. There­fore, it should be pre­served and pro­tected.

Those who sur­vived the crash have vivid mem­o­ries of what ac­tu­ally tran­spired to war­rant a high speed chase of that mag­ni­tude.

But the ques­tion on every­one’s lips is: Was it nec­es­sary for the coun­cil tow truck to chase the com­muter om­nibus that far?

Get­ting out of the city’s area of ju­ris­dic­tion all in the name of want­ing to ef­fect an ar­rest?

We do not con­done the al­leged mis­de­meanours the kombi driver could have done. We are strongly against re­ac­tionary ac­tiv­i­ties that en­dan­ger lives.

Had the coun­cil cops did the honourable and aborted the dan­ger­ous cat-and-mouse game, their two col­leagues could be liv­ing hap­pily with their fam­i­lies today.

We are told that the tow truck chased the kombi that far be­cause they wanted to res­cue their col­league who had been ‘kid­napped’ by the kombi crew.

Those con­ver­sant with the go­ings-on at bus ter­mini re­vealed that the traf­fic en­force­ment of­fi­cers who will be clad in civil­ian at­tire sneak into a kombi they find flout­ing traf­fic reg­u­la­tions. They pre­tend to be gen­uine com- muters and once in­side the kombi they tell the crew that they are un­der ar­rest.

More of­ten than not, the kombi driv­ers speed off with the ar­rest­ing of­fi­cer in­side and this they term ‘kid­nap­ping’.

Yes, their col­league could have been ‘kid­napped’ but that did not war­rant a dan­ger­ous high speed chase. Spare a thought for other road users who will be at the mercy of the speed­ing ve­hi­cles.

There was no way those well known kombi crews were go­ing to harm the coun­cil em­ployee. One way or the other, that ‘kid­napped’ of­fi­cer was even­tu­ally go­ing to find him­self home with­out the tow truck in hot pur­suit.

We hope that the city’s traf­fic en­force­ment of­fi­cers take a leaf from how the ZRP traf­fic po­lice of­fi­cers are now be­hav­ing un­der the new po­lit­i­cal dis­pen­sa­tion.

Traf­fic cops who were no­to­ri­ous for throw­ing spikes and chas­ing af­ter kom­bis are now a be­haved lot. They are now tam­ing the traf­fic jun­gle pro­fes­sion­ally by valu­ing the lives of pas­sen­gers.

All ve­hi­cles have num­ber plates and flee­ing mo­torists will even­tu­ally be ap­pre­hended if the regis­tra­tion num­bers are taken down and fol­low ups made.

In­stead of sneak­ing into kom­bis in a bid to make ar­rests, why can’t they sim­ply clamp the ve­hi­cles? A clamped ve­hi­cle is not dan­ger­ous be­cause it can’t drive off.

The cat-and-mouse game is dan­ger­ous. What if the fully loaded flee­ing kombi had over­turned with more than 20 pas­sen­gers on board? The in­ci­dent could have been big­ger than we can imag­ine.

It is not dis­putable that the kombi driver could have acted un­law­fully and is equally to blame for evad­ing ar­rest, but the re­ac­tion from the coun­cil cops is ques­tion­able.

The duty of these cops is to de-con­gest the city and bring or­der. This movie style traf­fic en­force­ment ap­proach is highly dan­ger­ous.

Let’s value life.

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