By Daniel Phiri
MDC-N says government especially the Ministry of Health and Child Care (MoHCC) are to blame for the accident which killed about 21 health workers along Tsholotsho-Sipepa Road on Saturday.
The deceased people were part of a 69 team of malaria campaigners and environmental health technicians who were travelling in a MoHCC Nissan UD truck on their way to start spraying in Tsholotsho after finishing Binga, Nkayi and Lupane.
In a statement, MDC-N Matabeleland North Chairperson Leonard Mhlanga said his party was moved by the disaster considering the fact that the victims were on their way to do national duty.
“The MDC is deeply saddened by the deaths of twenty-one (21) members of the Matabeleland North Malaria Control team who died in a fatal road traffic accident while being ferried to work in an overloaded government truck along the Tsholotsho – Sipepa road, on Saturday afternoon.
“We convey our deepest condolences to the bereaved families in the Lupane – Tsholotsho communities. We pray they are able to find peace and comfort in the Lord during this difficult time. We also extend our sympathies to the injured workers, wishing them a speedy recovery.
“MDC is convinced that this tragedy could have been avoided had it not been for gross negligence on the part of the Ministry of Health. Allowing a drunk driver to get behind the wheel and overloading the truck with both people and heavy goods shows gross incompetence and how little government values human life,” he said.
Mhlanga added that declaring the incident a national disaster was not good enough as many families have lost breadwinners and relatives and therefore there is the need for financial compensation by the government.
“We are therefore not moved by the declaration of a national disaster by the government, we demand justice for the victims. We call for financial compensation to all the affected families who in one swoop have lost hardworking men and women, breadwinners, parents and loved ones,” said Mhlanga.
The Welshman Ncube led opposition party also took the opportunity to “remind the general public and motorists to practice extreme caution on the roads, particularly as we approach the festive season to avoid unnecessary loss of life.
“Most importantly we appeal to the government to urgently attend to the bad state of our roads which have become death traps for motorists,” the party said.