The MDC-T party on Saturday snubbed the Africa Road Safety Day commemorations held at Mkoba Stadium as Zanu PF seized the opportunity and turned the event into a rally.
by Stephen Chadenga
Zanu PF supporters, mostly youths who were clad in party regalia, were allegedly bussed from various districts in the Midlands province to attend the event.
Most of them could be seen pulling down old posters of MDC-T rallies at the stadium gate, as they turned the day into a Zanu PF event.
Mkoba MP Amos Chibaya (MDC-T), who had been invited to the event by the Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe, made a U-turn at the stadium entrance and reportedly went back home.
Chibaya said he was surprised to find out that a non-political event in his constituency had been hi-jacked by the ruling party.
“As MP of the area, I got an invitation to the event and decided to honour that invitation,” Chibaya said.
“But I got the shock of my life when I went to the event, only to discover that thousands of Zanu PF supporters in party regalia had filled the stadium. I decided to go back home.”
An unconfirmed report indicated that an MDC-T supporter was assaulted by youths at Mkoba 6 shopping centre for entering a bar full of Zanu PF activists.
Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who was guest of honour, arrived at the venue later in the day, as youths from his party had turned Mkoba 6 and surrounding areas into a Zanu PF zone.
In his address, Mnangagwa said there was need for deterrent sentences for errant road users.
He called for custodial sentences for serious traffic offences.
“Deterrent penalties must be meted out to errant road users,” Mnangagwa said.
“If stock theft courts a minimum sentence of seven years imprisonment, why should a killer-driver be fined a mere $100 and get away with murder?”
Latest statistics show that five people die as a result of road accidents, while 38 persons are injured every day.
A total of 1 692 people were killed on the roads last year and the country, which has a vehicle population of about one million, records an average of 2 000 deaths every year.
Mnangagwa said road safety should be inculcated into the school curriculum and that people should be educated on the issue from village to national level.