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Passengers musn’t tolerate maniacal kombi drivers

Opinion & Analysis
Once again the nation is mourning the death of accident victims caused by negligent driving after a commuter omnibus rammed into a tree along Seke Road

Once again the nation is mourning the death of accident victims caused by negligent driving after a commuter omnibus rammed into a tree along Seke Road en route to Chitungwiza from Harare on Monday, claiming 10 lives, seven on the spot.

The driver, judging from the damage to the car and eyewitness accounts, was unnecessarily speeding.

In fact, his colleagues testified that he was known for negligence and speeding.

It is a pity that these reckless drivers continue to get away with negligent driving on our roads under the watchful eye of the authorities.

What is more exasperating is that many of these drivers do not have requisite qualifications to drive public vehicles as stipulated by law.

The irony is that they pass through numerous police roadblocks without facing the wrath of the law for flouting traffic regulations.

We are aware, however, that these roadblocks are more of fundraising ventures than law enforcement activities. How else can the police explain the continued stay on our roads of unlicenced public vehicle drivers or inexperienced drivers who are under the legal age at which they are allowed to drive public vehicles?

While we acknowledge the culpability of our law enforcement agents in the carnage on our roads, we also blame passengers who let these kombi drivers drive them to death.

Why should responsible citizens allow someone to speed away from the police endangering their lives in the process? We have witnessed kombis speeding on the wrong side of one-way streets in the central business district with passengers sitting passively as if it were not their lives being toyed with.

It is high time passengers in kombis demanded their right to life by effecting citizen arrests on such errant drivers. Surely 18 people in a kombi cannot fail to effect arrest on a kombi crew of two people.

The police should raise awareness campaigns so that passengers know their rights. People are dying on the roads because they lack knowledge of their rights as passengers.

As a result they are bullied and intimidated by these unqualified public vehicle drivers who should stay away from our roads. It is time that passengers reported bad drivers to the police at numerous roadblocks along our roads.

Passengers also have the right to boycott public transport vehicles driven by lunatics. We are not advocating for violence against kombi crews; we are advocating for responsible action against errant drivers.

Citizens have the right to assist law enforcement agents in apprehending criminals masquerading as drivers of public transport vehicles.

This is the time when for once, police on the roads should work together with passengers to weed out dangerous and unqualified drivers.

Life is precious and we should not allow a few rogue elements to drive innocent passengers to death.