Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Sata ponders ways of reducing accidents

Sata ponders ways of reducing accidents
By Abigail Chaponda and Darious Kapembwa in Ndola
Tue 12 Feb. 2013, 14:50 CAT

PRESIDENT Michael Sata says he has spent some time thinking about what can be done to reduce road traffic accidents in the country. And President Sata has directed the quick construction of dual carriageways to connect major towns under the government's Link Zambia 8000 road project to avoid further loss of life to road accidents.

Meanwhile, hundreds of Ndola residents yesterday turned up to pay their last respects to victims of the Chibombo Post Bus accident that occurred last Thursday in which 51 people died.

Speaking during a requiem service at the Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in Ndola, President Sata said he was shocked, scared and angered at the unfairness that took fellow citizens.

He said there were no easy answers to the tragic accident in which many people lost their lives.

"…but there are other questions, very important questions that can be answered by looking at the loss of these precious lives," he said. "It is for this reason that I wish to direct the ministries of transport, works, supply and communications as well as home affairs to put in place measures that will help mitigate such tragedies in future."

President Sata said there was need for the Road Transport and Safety Agency (RTSA) and other law enforcement agencies to work closely with motorists and other road users in ensuring that traffic rules and regulations are observed in order to make roads safe for all users.

"Over-speeding and reckless drivers should be firmly charged in accordance with the law; the RTSA and the Zambia Police Service must strictly ensure that road users respect road regulations in order to reduce on accidents. I know that there are plans in the Link Zambia 8000 Project to construct dual carriage roads to link major cities. However, I direct that construction of dual carriage roads to link major cities be considered early," he said.

President Sata urged relatives to the deceased to mourn in a dignified manner as "this was time to beseech the almighty God for strength and spiritual power so that Zambia remains a united nation".

"The government and the people of Zambia share in your loss. My heart and the hearts of the first family pour out to the bereaved families. As we gather here today, still reeling from the tragic death of our children, brothers, sisters and parents; we are shocked, scared and angered at the unfairness that took our dear fellow citizens from us," said a solemn President Sata.

And scores of people lined up the street from the stadium to Mitengo Cemetery on the Ndola-Mufulira road and watched as four police trucks carrying coffins made their way to the cemetery.
Other on-lookers wept as the military convoy moved solemnly while others were seen being taken away.

MMD vice-president for administration Dr Brian Chituwo, Muchinga member of parliament Howard Kunda and MMD Copperbelt province information and publicity secretary Yotam Mtayachalo were also in attendance.

Meanwhile, Postmaster General McPherson Chanda said it was shocking to hear of the accident because the company always took pride as a reliable public transport system.

"As ZAMPOST and its subsidiary the Post Bus Company Limited, we have hitherto prided ourselves in offering a very safe and reliable public passenger transport. We were therefore shocked when this fatal accident happened and horrified when the full scale of the fatalities unfolded. Your excellence, we have, since the day of the accident visited the bereaved as well as injured in hospital," he said.

Chanda assured the bereaved families that ZAMPOST stood and shared in their loss and that the company was interested in the path of recovery for the injured.

A total of 21 victims were buried in Ndola while others were buried in different parts of the country.

After all people laid their wreaths, President Sata thanked opposition leaders that attended the funeral saying: "Thank you for coming. A funeral is not like a wedding that you should wait to be invited."

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