Let’s value the sanctity of life

31 Mar, 2024 - 00:03 0 Views
Let’s value the sanctity of life

The Sunday Mail

ZIMBABWEANS are presently enjoying the festivities that come with the Easter holiday, which began on Friday and ends tomorrow.

The holiday, running for four days, is probably the longest on our calendar.

Although predominantly a Christian holiday, many take the opportunity that Easter presents to make merry and also visit family and friends.

This often unavoidably involves a lot of travel and indulging, if not overindulging.

The frequency of travel, which is also made worse by the country’s burgeoning vehicle population, sometimes leads to a dramatic increase in road traffic accidents.

For example, across the border, in South Africa, we heard the grim news of a bus of pilgrims, some of them from Botswana, which plunged into a ravine on Thursday, killing at least 45 people.

And that Harare’s ever-growing car population is disproportionately higher relative to its modest population does not help.

Official statistics indicate that there are more than 1,2 million cars registered in Harare, which has a population of 2,4 million people, according to the last census.

And some of those two million-plus motorists are not particularly good drivers.

We seem to encounter speed demons and maniacs a bit too often on our roads.

Just last year, 30 people died in 288 road accidents in Zimbabwe during the Easter weekend.

Of all the accidents, 16 were fatal and two involved passenger vehicles in which a total 16 congregants died on their way to prayer meetings.

While the number of fatalities from road accidents declined from 73 in 264 road accidents in 2022, the figure still remains unacceptably high.

One life lost is still one too many.

But most instructively, most of the accidents were attributed to human error, such as overtaking mistakes and speeding, among many other factors.

That we have a significant number of drivers who flagrantly disregard road rules and regulations is also not helpful.

These drivers are not only a danger to themselves but to society as well.

Also, our police officers, although they have been fully deployed for this year’s holiday, still need to be capacitated for them to fully carry out their mandate.

Equipping them with tools such as breathalysers will help to account for delinquent motorists and regulate behaviour.

In his message on the eve of the holiday, Zimbabwe Republic Police Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga said all the right things.

“Police will impound all unroadworthy vehicles and arrest anyone found driving under the influence of alcohol,” he said.

“As Christian worshippers gather at various centres throughout the country to commemorate the Easter holidays, I discourage them from night travelling to minimise road traffic accidents. Church leaders should ensure that the form of transport used by congregations is suitable and secure without compromising road safety.”

But the duty to observe the sanctity of life also extends to the general populace.

It cannot be left to the police alone.

Equally, we also need to be vigilant and keep an eye on our kids to ensure they are not tempted to abuse drugs and substances.

“As schoolchildren undertake social activities during this holiday, parents should guide and properly monitor them to curb cases of drug and substance abuse.

Police officers will patrol residential, industrial and shopping centres to ensure drug peddlers are brought to book,” added Comm-Gen Matanga.

Suffice to say that regulations related to the sale of alcohol and other drugs should also be scrupulously enforced.

We cannot leave anything to change.

What is not often discussed is the penchant for merrymakers to engage in violence, which sometimes results in needless fatalities.

We must put a stop to this.

But critically, we need to rediscover ourselves as a people and rebuild the sense of both community-hood and nationhood.

Children belong to the community and must be raised as such.

Being each other’s keeper means we are duty-bound to respect others.

Bad driving and irresponsible behaviour endanger others.

As the holidays are still on, let us consciously decide to be responsible and stop carnage on our roads.

We can do it!

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