NATIONAL Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) general manager Retired Air Commodore Mike Karakadzai died yesterday morning after the car he was travelling in hit a stray animal in Shangani.
Report by Staff Reporters
Karakadzai (56) was travelling from Harare to Bulawayo. He died upon admission at Mater Dei Hospital in Bulawayo.
Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) spokesperson, Senior Assistant commissioner Charity Charamba, said the accident occurred on Monday night at around 11pm.
“I can confirm that Karakadzai died upon admission at Mater Dei Hospital in Bulawayo after hitting a stray animal in Shangani,” she said. “The accident occurred at 11pm, but I am not sure exactly what time he passed away.”
Reports from the scene indicate that after hitting the stray animal, Karakadzai’s car swerved into the right lane, leading to his car being crashed by an oncoming haulage truck.
NRZ board chairman Kotsho Dube said the accident occurred at the Shangani flyover bridge.
“The NRZ community is deeply saddened by his departure, as we lost a manager and strategist par excellence,” Dube said in a statement.
Karakadzai joined the NRZ on November 1, 2005.
“(He) immensely contributed to the revitalisation of the organisation at a time when it was beset with many challenges, which led to the closure of many industries in Zimbabwe,” Dube said.
Dube said the death of Karakadzai “at this time, has left a void, as his managerial acumen was immensely needed to steer the organisation from murky waters to fruition and operational fluidity”.
Karakadzai is on record complaining that while government was investing in the maintenance of the road network throughout the country, it was not availing funds for the railway infrastructure.
NRZ, during its heyday, was the employer of choice, but over the last decade has been haunted by a restive labour force owing to its failure to pay salaries. Employees are owed up to 10 months in salary arrears.
Although the country’s rail network was once the hub of Southern Africa, it had deteriorated to such an extent that in 2010 the United Nations recommended its closure.
Karakadzai is survived by his wife Sylvia and five children.