Friday, October 12, 2007

Chililabombwe residents run amok

Chililabombwe residents run amok
By Gweny Phiri and Vincent Matandiko
Friday October 12, 2007 [04:00]

Scores of Chililabombwe residents on Tuesday ran amok, blocking the Chingola highway in protest over the death of 16 people that died in a road accident on Saturday night. And Zambia’s Ambassador to Japan Godfrey Simasiku yesterday said there was too much disregard for traffic regulations and laws on Zambian roads.

The angry mob, comprising mostly mourners who were attending the burial of two victims of the accident at Kakoso cemetery, blocked the road around midday throwing missiles at trucks which they accused of being responsible for the accidents due to speeding.

However, quick action by police in riot gear restored calm and normal traffic flow resumed while they continued to patrol the district to prevent further unrest.

The burial procession was nonetheless temporally suspended till later in the afternoon as mourners scampered for safety after police officers tear-gassed the area near the graveyard.

Some mourners said they were incensed by the carelessness and speeding of truck drivers travelling between Chingola and Chililabombwe.

The mourners said there was need for strict legislation and constant police patrols along the highway to ensure the truck drivers obeyed traffic rules to avoid similar accidents in future.

More accident victims most of whom are Chililabombwe residents are expected to be buried at Kakoso cemetery this week.

The fatal road accident which resulted in the death of 16 people and leaving several others injured, occurred when a Nissan civilian minibus registration number ACH 4496 fleet number CNC 927, coming from Chingola enroute to Chililabombwe, collided with an oncoming truck.

The truck registration number ABC 5104, trailer number ACH 267 belongs to Farah and Sons Transport of Ndola and the driver has since been arrested and charged with causing death by dangerous driving.

And Ambassador Simasiku said the death of 16 people in an accident on the Copperbelt this week was an act of senseless slaughter.

“More accidents are taking place almost daily. Most of them are caused by either careless or dangerous driving arising from blatant disregard of traffic regulations and laws,” he said.

Ambassador Simasiku said arising from his 10 years service and experience as an honorary road traffic inspector before going to Japan as Ambassador, Zambians should join hands and bring normalcy to the roads.

He said there must be a stop to the carnage.
“It is high time law enforcement resulted into stiffer penalties: fines or imprisonment or both,” he said.

“In Japan causing death by dangerous driving has attracted up to 17 years in jail and where fines were applied up to US $ 450,000. In Japan pedestrians cross when it is green without ever bothering to look at drivers as they know they are safe.”

Ambassador Simasiku said with thousands of vehicles registered every year alongside reckless drivers some of them without driving licences, such accidents would continue.
“I call for a halt to all this madness of people going through red traffic lights, overtaking on continuous line or uphill or blind corners and driving under the influence of alcohol,” he said.

Ambassador Simasiku said in Japan a new law punishes even the passengers for agreeing to be in a vehicle driven by a drunken driver. “Zambians must review the culture of being absorbed into politics everyday,” he said.

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