The Sunday Mail
A few weeks ago, I witnessed a speed chase involving two cars along Sam Nujoma Street that appeared to have begun before Herbert Chitepo Avenue coming towards Kenneth Kaunda, then down that road.
They were cruising with reckless abandon at about 160km per hour if not more, in my estimation. This sent chills down my spine.
I was at the intersection of Sam Nujoma and George Silundika intending to turn into the former.
There are at least six traffic lights on that route, but the two vehicles drove like they were on a highway.
We thank God that at that point there were no cars intending to cross the traffic lights at the intersections.
Any collision would have been fatal. Possibly, other motorists noticed the speed chase by some chance and slowed down or applied emergency brakes.
How on earth the two drivers were at such speeds, of at least 160km per hour, right in the city centre boggles the mind.
It was after 11pm. Were they drunk? Were they on a suicide mission?
I wonder up to this day.
Defensive driving taught me decades ago that we slow down at intersections, even if the traffic light is green, we proceed with caution and that we should drive like we have no right of way.
But I do not think these two even read the Highway Code, every driver’s manual.
There are a trillion cases of dangerous driving experienced on our roads and many people have lost their lives resultantly.
It is against this background that we commend the police for launching a blitz on traffic offenders.
It is unfortunate that this has come with unintended consequences, where commuters now need to fork out more as fares have been increased on most routes and drop-off points are now far from the usual, as kombis and mishikashika evade the police.
This only goes to show the level of truancy that many public transport operators and even private cars have been operating at. The Tom and Jerry game has reached alarming levels over the past fortnight as police and those caught on the wrong side of the law play hide and seek.
Elsewhere in this paper, we carry a story of the statistics recorded so far under the blitz. Indeed thousands have been netted and the hour of reckoning is nigh for more.
I tend to agree with those who are saying that the blitz needs to be more systematic and that these should not be once-off exercises, but that a more sustained approach be adopted where it is commonplace that drivers should not find it easy to go about with unregistered or unfit cars.
Public transporters need to respect commuters as a lifestyle and not just for the duration of the blitz.
Respect comes through the state of vehicle and the manoeuvres made on the road. The levels of dangerous driving on our roads cannot be tolerated a day longer.
Of course, there is a pot pourri of issues around public transport that needs to be addressed to bring sanity to the sector.
Private motorists, on the other hand, should also be responsible citizens and ensure they comply with car registration and other prerequisites before they venture onto the road.
The inconvenience that many complain about as a result of the blitz can easily be avoided by doing the right thing in the first place.
Last week’s instalment on a plea to the mayor of Harare, His Worship Ian Makonde, elicited quite some debate, with the major thread being that the plea on better service delivery should not be confined to Harare but that all mayors and councillors countrywide need to up their game.
Dear Sunday Mail Editor, After reading your open letter “A plea to his worship mayor of Harare”, I felt you wrote this on behalf of every patriotic Zimbabwean. The challenges you raised, together with priority areas needing urgent attention, cannot be overemphasised, more so, your plea to the newly elected mayor to think nationally by putting aside political egoistic tendencies that have been the hallmark of previous mayors and their teams.
May I ask, on behalf of the silent urbanites in all our cities and towns, that you please write and send the same message to all the newly elected mayors in our cities and towns to take note. Perhaps this might open their minds in an endeavour to do what is right and just, the same way the central Government is doing. It is time for all public institutions to do the right thing for the good of our country. Sincerely, Robert Munjanganja, Bulawayo 17 September 2023.
Another reader from Greendale, Harare, wrote: May someone kindly make sure that the new mayor of Harare finds and reads this article you wrote and make it the blueprint to manoeuvre the very challenging term ahead of him. I firmly believe that you have picked on the challenges bedevilling our beloved city and proffered workable profitable solutions that will see Harare get back its Sunshine City status.
Critical areas highlighted such as infrastructural development, health, water, waste management and diplomatic relations are in such a sorry state they need immediate addressing. Let us all put our partisan preferences aside and rally behind our new mayor towards a common cause.
Thank you ma’am for a powerful and insightful article. I always make it a point to read your articles every Sunday and got yet another reminder why.
Tinotenda “The Economist” Chirwa from Victoria Falls wrote: The points put across hold a substantial amount of water in that once placed in the position of power, the mayor ought to remember that it is not a political post but rather a form of civil servitude in which sufficient strides are to be taken to ensure that the city of Harare earns its CAPITAL city status. I believe that with the appointment of the new mayor, the city will act as a bridge between national business and investors — foreign and domestic alike.
As the mayor; much introspection ought to be taken on how the city of Harare can benefit the nation at large.
I believe that the capital city should also act as a smaller version of Zimbabwe in that the rest of Zimbabwe should be able to find representational space within the capital city such that when an outsider gets into the capital city, they should, in turn, have a rough idea of what Zimbabwe is all about in its entirety.
Stewart had this to say: Hello Victoria. This is just to say what an awesome article you wrote in the newspaper titled “A Plea to His Worship Mayor Ian Makore”.
You articulated the valid points clearly and we only hope that our esteemed new mayor will seriously read, consider and implement them for the good of our great city. A valuable contribution. — Stewart.
Another said: It’s me, one of the readers of your comment. Ndanga ndichiverenga cho-kwadi chamanga muchitaura nezvanew mayor. Mataura chokwadi chemazvokwadi. Thumbs up. I have been reading the truth and reality you wrote about the mayor. Indeed, that is the honest truth you put across.
In God I Trust!