By Andrew Kunambura
IN July last year, Transport and Infrastructure Development Minister, Jorum Gumbo, was reassuring in his update on the dualisation of the Beitbridge-Harare-Chirundu highway.
“Things are definitely moving,” he said during a press briefing.
“The contractor and the financier are in the country and they are working on an implementation plan which they will present to us when we begin our meetings with them this week.”
He was speaking soon after sealing a 25-year long US$3 billion Build-Operate-Transfer deal for the construction of the highway, one of southern Africa’s busiest.
The deal was signed between government and a contractor, Chinese firm China Harbour Engineering Company Ltd (CHEC).
The project is being financed by an Austrian firm, Geiger International.
Gumbo’s highly optimistic speech gave the impression that work on the expansion of the road was, at the time, only a few weeks away from commencing; but 10 months later — and still counting — nothing has happened.
The road, which is narrow and characterised by dangerous potholes, has been a political pedestal for successive transport ministers for a long time as it has become a death highway due to the accidents occurring almost daily.
From Nicholas Goche to Obert Mpofu and now Gumbo, every minister has spoken of imminent site-works that have never been.
Only in February this year, Gumbo said President Robert Mugabe would officially launch the dualisation of the road by mid-March, while the actual construction work would start before the country’s Independence Day commemorations held on Tuesday last week.
The dates have since come and gone without any of the events taking place. Neither has there been any further feedback on a project that would have undoubtedly raised the profile of the ZANU-PF government’s much-celebrated Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation economic blueprint that promised the creation of two million jobs and conducive conditions for both local and foreign investments.
And, as if to remind the powers that be that expansion of the highway is now long overdue, a horrific accident took place along the trunk road last month.
If anything was needed to stir the consciences of those in charge of the project, it should surely be the gruesome images of charred remains of passengers who perished when a South Africa bound cross-border bus side-swiped a haulage truck — now a familiar phenomenon on the road — and veered off the road before bursting into flames near Mvuma, killing 31 people.
Their bodies were burnt beyond recognition.
The accident happened not very far away from the scene of a similar crash involving another bus which ploughed into a truck and caught fire and killed 50 people in 2001.
Yet another bus killed 37 people and injured 48 others when it hit a truck along the same road and overturned before landing on its side.
Last year, another bus collided with a haulage truck 45 kilometres outside Beitbridge town, killing 12 and injuring many others.
These are just a few examples of the deadly crashes that could have been avoided had government expedited the dualisation of the road.
As things stand, many more lives are going to be lost as the region and Africa now top global statistics of road fatalities and injuries.
According to a 2015 World Health Organisation Global Burden of Disease and Injury study, southern Africa is increasingly becoming the most dangerous region to drive on earth.
While road deaths and injuries in sub-Saharan Africa increased by 13 percent between 1990 and 2013, they increased 35 percent in southern Africa during the same period.
In general, Africa tops the world on road fatalities at 26,6 percent, a figure which is three times higher than that of Europe — at 9,3 percent — where there are 40 000 more vehicles per every 100 000 people than Africa.
It is undoubted that the Beitbridge-Harare-Chirundu highway is making a significant contribution to these statistics as a major artery into Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries such as Zambia, Malawi and the Democratic Republic of Congo that rely on it for both cargo and human movement.
Besides the fact that the highway is too narrow to accommodate the heavy traffic flow, the road has long passed its lifespan and is now riddled with huge potholes and sharp edges that make driving an absolute nightmare.
It was designed to last 20 years but, like many other 1970s Rhodesian-era roads, it has been allowed to outlive its span threefold. Critics indicate that they are baffled by the fact that a road of such commercial significance, which is said to carry between 1 000 and 5 000 vehicles daily, is allowed to rot to that extent.
Unusually heavy rains that mercilessly battered the country during the just ended rainfall season further exacerbated the bad state of the road.
That it has been probably the worst maintained major road in the country and yet by far the busiest speaks volumes about State bureaucrats’ commitment to seeing it through its teething stages.
That the country stands to lose considerable business if government continues to dawdle on the project at a time when regional players are busy planning the construction of a trunk road which skirts Zimbabwe, running through Botswana, does not seem to be a good reason to jolt the country into action. Despite having earlier expressed optimism, Gumbo is now not even sure when the project would start. In an interview with this newspaper, he said the project would not be rushed.
Such is the approach to the dualisation project, which has been on the planning table for nearly two decades.
A legal wrangle erupted between government and a consortium of local contractors, ZimHighways, which could not implement the project for over a decade due to an poor economic environment that culminated in a hyperinflationary crisis which ended with dollarization in 2009.
Government revoked the agreement in 2013 after persuading the consortium to withdraw their court case for an undisclosed settlement.
ZimHighways, comprising 14 construction firms that included Murray & Roberts Zimbabwe (now Masimba Holdings), Costain Africa (now ZCL Holdings which is under judicial management), Kuchi Building Construction, Tarcon, Bitumen Construction Services (Bitcon), Joina Development Company and Southland Engineers, is once again reportedly coming back to haunt government by demanding a share of the spoils.
During the decade leading to 2013, the project could not take off amid accusations and counter-accusations between government and the consortium.
Government claimed the consortium lacked the financial wherewithal to do the job, while the consortium claimed that some senior government officials were demanding bribes for them to facilitate the project.
The wrangle only ended in September 2015 when government struck an obscure deal with the consortium, under which it withdrew the case leading to the current arrangement being formulated.
Nonetheless, there has not been any meaningful progress.
The delay has also been very costly, with the project’s cost now hitting US$2,7 billion from the US$984 million quoted in 2002.
Being a signatory to the SADC protocol on transport, communication and meteorology, Zimbabwe is under pressure to not only rehabilitate its roads, but also modernise them.
In terms of that protocol, Zimbabwe agreed to assist in developing an adequate road network that supports the region’s socio-economic growth.
The network needs to provide access to major centres, ports, and harbours, while minimising road transport costs and impacts to the environment.
According to the protocol, roads affect all aspects of development in the region.
“Businesses depend on effective roads for transporting their goods, industry relies on roads for delivery of equipment, and people require roads for travel between home, workplaces, and elsewhere in the region,” the regional body said in a communiqué issued after a regional conference held in Bulawayo last year.
But despite all those commitments government has remained lethargic.
There were reports recently of squabbles on the project, with the Chinese contractor reportedly unwilling to cede the 40 percent stake reserved for local contractors.
This is the same emotive project that was subject of the long running legal wrangle between government and ZimHighways.
Apr 28 2017 | Posted in Construction
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By Olasunkanmi Akoni, Wahab Abdullah and Olayinka Latona
Lagos lawyer and human rights activist, Femi Falana, SAN, has expressed concerns over the intractable traffic gridlock along Mile2 – Apapa Oshodi Expressway, saying it was high time the government found permanent solution.
Falana, recommended that Lagos State Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode could deploy part of the state’s soaring Internal Generated Revenue, IGR, towards finding a permanent solution to the traffic problem in the axis.
The radical lawyer, as fondly called, made the remarks yesterday, while delivering a lecture on libel and defamation to Vanguard editorial staff at the newspaper’s headquarters in Apapa, Lagos.
Falana, who was billed to start his lecture at noon, got to Vanguard Headquarters one hour after because of the terrible traffic.
The Petroleum Tanker Drivers, PTD, Union, had severally attributed the traffic gridlock in the area to the continued decay of infrastructure as well as neglect of the deplorable road in the axis by federal and state governments.
According to Falana: “The Lagos State government said its Internally Generated Revenue IGR has risen to N26 billion per month. Where is the value for the increased IGR?
“I offer to take legal action if you (Vanguard media) so wish.
“On my way to this place, I experienced the serious traffic on the road and I just imagined if there was a fire outbreak, you might just imagine what would happen.
“Nigeria is the only country in the world where you can block a road just because you want to pray.
“Let us do something about your road (Mile 2-Apapa Expressway).”
Cautions on dangerous social media reports
Falana, who also commented on the recklessness of some online media called on media professionals to pursue excellence in the practice.
He said: “The media profession is very important to the socio-political development of every society. The journalists did more than any professional, group during the colonial days and the era of the military to save our democracy.
“Your job is now being made more difficult by the recklessness of the guys operating in the social media.
“It is your fault – the Newspapers Proprietors Association of Nigeria, NPAN, Nigeria Guild of Editors, NGE, Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ – have failed to sit down, go back to the drawing board and check the recklessness of these guys in ensuring that dangerous materials are not published.
“For me, anybody that is going to publish anything using online channel, should have a registered website and we must be able to trace them. Technology has gone beyond anybody just writing down anything as website. The NUJ and other relevant bodies must go beyond their personal interest to protect all of us because we are all potential victims.”
He also spoke on the recklessness of some newspaper columnists, saying some of them are hate preachers. For example, if 200 people die in certain circumstances and some columnists quote 800.
“Our country is in such a state that people can riot over anything, if your publication fuels riot, that could be very dangerous.
“Nobody dies a natural death in Nigeria, it is either the person was killed by the political opponent and before you know it, riots will erupt, such as happened recently in Ede, Osun State.
“Vanguard as a very reputable organisation must show the way, do away with people who can put you in trouble. Many of those who signed indemnity for you cannot pay when the need arises. You have to be careful because those who signed indemnity cannot pay if you are sued.
“As a reporter or editor, if you are in doubt about any publication, leave out,” he said.
Vanguard lawyer on libel, defamation
Earlier, Vanguard Legal Services Manager, Mr. Michael Ozah said: “Our freedom of expression ends where the right to integrity and good reputation of others begins.”
Describing defamation as an occupational hazard for publishers and journalists which is capable of eroding the economic base of a media house, Ozah in his presentation urged journalists to be wary of what they publish, including the source of their stories.
Apr 27 2017 | Posted in Transportation
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By Iddy Mwema
Tanzania Traffic Police Commander Mohamed Mpinga has appealed on establishment of ‘Safety Clubs’ in schools in order to reduce, if not to end, death and injuries caused by accidents among schoolchildren.
Speaking with teachers and other road safety stakeholders shortly after handover certificates to school teachers who attended a two-month road safety training in Dar es Salaam yesterday, Commander Mpinga said road safety clubs were as important as other academic and environment conversation clubs.
“Fatal accidents are arising due to lack of education among our children while crossing the roads. I would like to call on all who participated in this training to use what you learned and establish safety road clubs in your schools to save lives of school-children,” said the Chief of Traffic Police.
Commander Mpinga, however, came short of detailed statistics, only emphasizing that the campaigns were important and should be rolled across the entire nation.
According to him, the road safety campaign in schools faces a number of challenges including lack of equipment and funds, urging various stakeholders to see the importance of funding such campaigns to save lives of schoolchildren.
Altogether, 945 teachers received road safety signs education during the two-month programme that was jointly organized by the Automobile Association of Tanzania (AAT), Federation Internationale de Automobile (FIA) and Michelin International.
AAT President, Mr Nizar Jivani advised on introduction of road safety curriculum from primary schools, adding that they decided to educate teachers so that more students could be reached. “The concept of training teachers is to make sure more school children are benefited with the education.
If you train a student it might end to that student alone, but if you train a teacher, more than hundreds students who will be benefited from the road safety education,” he noted.
AAT Chief Executive Officer (CEO), who is also ‘Safer School Road Sign Education for School Children’ campaign director, Mr Yusuf Ghor said they decided to carry out the training after studies they conducted confirmed out that school children were exposed to many road dangers.
“We planned to train 650 teachers in 24 schools but due to a huge number of requests, we covered only 51 schools. From where we recruited the 945 teachers,” he revealed. Schools that participated in the training were given road safety signs brochures, books, fliers and other teaching support materials.
Chinese Footwear Firm Sets Solid Foothold Into Africa
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Apr 25 2017 | Posted in Transportation
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Photo: Pius Maundu/The Nation
The Mombasa-bound bus after the collision at Kambu in Makueni County on Tuesday, April 25, 2017.
By Pius Maundu
Twenty six people have died while several have been injured after bus collided with a tanker at Kambu along the Nairobi-Mombasa highway, Kibwezi OCPD Leonard Kimaiyo says.
The bus, belonging to Buscar company, was headed to Mombasa from Nairobi when the crash happened.
Police said the driver of the bus was overtaking another vehicle at Kalulu bridge when he saw an oncoming truck.
As he tried to return the bus back to its lane, it collided with the truck.
The bus landed in a ditch but the truck remained on the road, police said.
The driver of the truck and his turn boy were seriously injured.
The injured were rushed to Makindu Sub-County Hospital and the Kibwezi Amref hospital.
Additional reporting by Stella Cherono
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At Least 24 Die In Mombasa-Nairobi Road Accident
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Apr 25 2017 | Posted in Transportation
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President Jacob Zuma has expressed deep sadness and shock on the passing on of twenty pupils this afternoon during a horrific minibus taxi accident in Bronkhorstspruit, outside Pretoria.
The school children perished when their minibus taxi collided head-on with a truck and caught fire on the R25 between Verena and Bronkhorstpruit.
“This is a sad and painful tragedy, taking place just when the country is coming to terms with a number of lives that have been lost during the Easter weekend. On behalf of government and all South Africans we extend our heartfelt condolences to families of the leaners, relatives and friends. May their souls rest in peace.
We further call on law enforcement authorities to swiftly investigate the causes of this horrifying accident that has claimed so much young lives. We also call on all road users in the country to be more vigilant and adhere to the road rules and take safety precautions seriously to avoid unnecessary loss of life,” the President Zuma said.
President Zuma wishes all who were injured during an accident a speedy recovery.
Issued by: The Presidency
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Apr 24 2017 | Posted in Transportation
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RESOURCE: More Lives Lost on the Roads This Easterpress release
Release of the 2017 preliminary Easter road safety figures by the Minister of Transport Mr Joe Maswanganyi
Deputy Minister Sindisiwe Chikunga
North West MEC for Community Safety & Transport Management, Dr. Mpho Motlhabane,
Limpopo MEC for Transport, Safety and Security, Ms Nandi Ndalane
Mpumalanga MEC for Community Safety, Security and Liaison, Mr Pat Ngomane
Gauteng MEC for Community Safety, Ms Sizakele Nkosi -Malobane,
Western Cape MEC for Transport and Public Works, Mr Donald Grant
RTMC Board Chairman, Mr Zola Majavu
Members of the RTMC board and other Boards present
Acting Director General, Mr Mathabatha Mokonyama
Deputy Director General, Mr Chris Hlabisa
RTMC CEO, Advocate Makhosini Msibi
CEOs of other Transport Entities
Division: Visible Policing, Brigadier EH Mahlabane
Heads of Departments
Officials from the three spheres of government and entities
Members of the media
Ladies and gentlemen
It is fitting and appropriate on an occasion like this, when we have come together to reflect on the tragic events that took place on our roads, that we take a moment of silence as a show of respect to those who have lost their lives. Can I ask that we all stand up and observe a moment of silence. Thank you.
Ladies and gentlemen, as the Department of Transport and all our road entities, we view road safety as a daily issue which we address through our dedicated 365 day program which is sustainable and consistent. The programme is structured to align with the United National Decade of Action for Road Safety Global Plan and the objectives of the Millennium Development Goals.
This Easter period saw a remarkable increase in the number of vehicles on our roads. The total number of registered vehicles on the 31st of March 2017 stood at 12 047 404 compared to 11 818 124 in the same period in 2016. The number of registered drivers had increase by 507 002 presenting a new total of 12 283 777.
A total of 174 253 vehicles were stopped and checked with the intention to remove un-roadworthy vehicles from our roads in all provinces.
Human factor still remains a causal factor for most of the crashes during this Easter period. As we all know, this can be avoidable if we all prioritise road safety and use our roads responsibly.
Our statistics indicates that people who died on the roads this Easter were passengers at 50% followed by pedestrians at 24.5%, drivers at 19,8% and cyclists at 5.7%.
The vehicle types that made a high contribution to fatal crashes were motorcars and LDV’s with contributions of 49% and 20% respectively. Minibus type vehicles contributed 7.6% and busses 1.1% which indicates that most of the passengers who died were travelling in motorcars.
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Huge Increase in Easter Road DeathsEaster Road Death Toll Increases By 51%
Most fatal crashes happened in the after-hours of the day, especially from 18:00 to 22:00 to the early hours. About 34% of the daily crashes happened between 18:00 to 22:00. However, other peaks were recorded between 01:00 – 02:00, 06:00 – 7:00 – 8:00 and 11:00 – 12:00.In total the number of fatalities increased by 79 (51%) from 156 over the same period the previous year to 235 this year. However this year’s fatalities are still significantly lower than the 333 fatalities recorded in 2015.Our preliminary report shows that many people who died on our roads were victims of hit and run incidents, jaywalking or motorists who were driving at speeds that were too high for circumstances.The report illustrates a new pattern in which crashes shifted from the identified historical hotspots into new routes and build-up areas on times that previously did not have a high number of crashes.Very glaringly, most crashes and fatalities happened in residential areas and remote areas and very interestingly from 23h00 mid night until 05h00 in the morning. This new phenomenon requires of us to spread our wings jointly informed by uniform working norms and standards.Our statistics show that fatalities increased in all provinces with exception of Free State:Free State recorded a 27% decline in fatalities from 11 fatalities in 2016 to only 8 this year.The other provinces recorded the following performance:Eastern Cape: recorded a 17% increase in fatalities from 24 fatalities in 2016 to 27 this year.Limpopo: recorded a 30 % increase in fatalities from 23 fatalities in 2016 to 30 this year.Mpumalanga: recorded a 33% increase in fatalities from 21 fatalities in 2016 to 28 this year.The highest increases have been recorded for the following provinces:Northern Cape: an increase of 7 (175%) from 4 to11;KwaZulu-Natal: an increase of 31 (111%) from 28 to 59;Gauteng: an increase of 14 (58%) from 24 to 38;Western Cape: an increase of 8 (57%) from 14 to 22; andNorth West: an increase of 4 (50%) from 8 to 12During this Easter period 61 340 motorists were charged with various offences including failing to wear seatbelts, use of cell phones while driving, speeding and overloading. More than 2 800 motorist were arrested for drunken driving, inconsiderate, reckless and negligent driving, possession of false document and driving without licences and public driver’s permits.Seven motorists were detained for driving at excessive speeds above 160 km an hour on 120 km zone. These included a motorist who was arrested on N6 in Reddersburg in the Free State driving at 227 km an hour while another was caught driving at 225 km an hour on the N1 in Pretoria. These are examples of the worst among the worst motorist who have no regard for road rules and the risk they pose to other motorists who obey the rules of the road.Our courts will show them no mercy and will give them the harshest penalties permissible.Ladies and gentlemen, to ensure that there are severe consequences for the road rule offenders, we are at an advance stage in negotiations with the Department of Justice to finalise the introduction of minimum sentences for negligent and reckless driving. This is done in order to seek the reclassify drunken driving from a Schedule 3, which is less severe to a more severe Schedule 5 offence to ensure that those who negligently cause crashes on the roads do not get bail easily and spend time behind bars.The Department of Transport published amendments to the National Road Traffic Regulations in November last year aimed at regulating the transportation of persons in the load bay of light delivery vehicles for reward. The regulations will come into effect next month in May 2017 and they will assist in the reduction of the number of passengers dying in collisions.Amongst the overarching intervention is the approval of the National Road Safety Strategy 2016-2030 by Cabinet. This addresses the challenges and gaps identified by the Department on the implementation of the previous road safety strategies.Equally important, we have started a Parliamentary process led by the Portfolio Committee on Transport (PCoT) to extensively consult on the AARTO Amendment Bill which will introduce a demerits intended to improve the conduct and behaviour of drivers on the roads. We call upon all relevant stakeholders to participate in making submissions to the PCoT.Building on the previous and recent experiences, the Department will continue to improve its enforcement policies and strategies, and upscale public road safety education and awareness campaigns, which is our key component and driver of our road safety strategy. We do so informed by the fact that road traffic injuries are a global problem affecting all sectors of the society and that they are a growing public health and social development problem. The burden also impacts heavily on our health system and social welfare where more and more people rely on our social security net for survival.If all road users prioritise road safety, the resources that government spends unwittingly on accidents amounting 147 Billion Rands annually, which is equal to 3.4% of the country’s GDP. Over and above this figure the Road Accident Fund spends R33 Billion annually on payments of claims, which could be redirected to other government priorities which will go miles to address the triple challenges of employment, poverty and inequalities, thereby assisting us to increase the pace to achieve government radical socio-economic transformation.Ladies and gentlemen, despite these grim statistics, it is important to note that thousands of travellers obeyed the rules of the road and reached their destinations safety. I would like to commend those who co-operated with our law enforcement officers, travelled within acceptable speed limits, wore their seatbelts and avoided alcohol.We must always remember that improving road safety is a long term project that requires the active participation of all citizens and interested formations.Although law enforcement did everything to plan for a safer Easter period and authorities deployed their resources on the roads, ultimately the responsibility for safety rests on the shoulders of all of us as road users. I therefore call on all citizens to exercise this responsibility to make South African roads safe.I thank you.Issued by: Department of Transport
Apr 21 2017 | Posted in Transportation
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By Jeremiah Wakaya
Nairobi — The Motorist Association of Kenya wants the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) to upscale the release of statistics on road carnage to once in a week.
Association Chairperson Peter Murimi told Capital FM News on Friday that provision of data on causes of accidents is key to promoting road safety and boost enforcement of safety rules.
“We are supposed to have accident statistics released periodically because this is what guides the enforcement. Right now we’re yet to receive statistics of even 2016 and the transport agency is yet to give reasons why we have not received these statistics,” Murimi said.
According to Murimi, the failure to release analytical data on causes of accidents has significantly led to an upsurge in road crashes, “a situation that can be deterred if motorists received weekly data.”
“We’re worried because there’s a lot of careless driving in urban centers and yet enforcement officers are on very safe highways doing speed checks while they’re neglecting very dangerous driving happening in urban centres,” he said.
Murimi said there is need for monitoring of key roads where road violations go unreported to ensure that safety of road users is safeguarded.
He noted that while the focus may be on motorists, pedestrians also violate road regulations hence causing accidents.
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Apr 21 2017 | Posted in Transportation
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By Perez Rumanzi
Ntungamo — Ntungamo Municipal Council officials have cited poor workmanship on Kaguta Road and want some sections of the road reconstructed.
The Mayor of Ntungamo Municipality, Mr Jacob Kafureka, the town clerk, Mr Christopher Ahimbisibwe, and councillors said some sections of the road were constructed in a way that makes some parts of the town inaccessible while others are not compatible with the town plan.
Works on the 1.3 kilometre Kaguta Road are part of Ntungamo-Mirama Hills road construction project contracted to Zhongmei Construction Company.
“When you look at the way the road has been done, it makes doing business in the town difficult yet our aim is to facilitate this in the most easy and convenient way,” said Mr Ahimbisibwe.
He was speaking at a meeting between officials from Ntungamo council, Uganda National Roads Authority (Unra) and Zhongmei Construction Company at the Municipal Council Hall on Wednesday.
The meeting was called after a section of the councillors petitioned the executive director of Unra over the road’s poor design and workmanship.
The council authorities want roundabouts fixed at the Mirama Hills Road and Kaguta-Mbarara Road junctions. Mr Elias Kakyafu, the Kyamate ward councillor, said without a roundabout and widening of the road at the Mirama Hill Road junction, there will be a rise in accidents.
Mr Kafureka blamed the poor workmanship on Unra saying several earlier pleas by council officials to meet them and the contractor over the matter fell on deaf ears. He said the meeting has come when the work is almost complete.
The Unra project engineer, Mr Paddy Ahimbisibwe, however, said most of the demands by the council were not captured in the original contract and the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).
However, the municipal authorities said they have never signed a MoU with the contractor and neither did they know that there was such a requirement.
The public relations officer of Zhongmei, Ms Dorris Amutuheire, said the contractor followed technical drawings of the road, and that it will only be redone when the contract has been reviewed.
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Apr 21 2017 | Posted in Transportation
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By Charles Lwanga
A driver died after his bus rammed into a lorry along the Malindi-Kilifi road on Wednesday night.
Malindi police boss Matawa Muchangi said four passengers were injured and rushed to hospital. The driver died on the spot.
“The bus was carrying 45 passengers and the driver was speeding when he rammed into a lorry,” said Mr Muchangi.
An eye witness said the lorry had stopped on the road after it was involved in an accident with a tuk tuk.
“The lorry and tuk tuk drivers were waiting for traffic police when the second accident happened,” Josephat Ng’ang’a said.
Benson Orombo, the conductor of the bus, said the driver was overtaking a lorry when an oncoming lorry blocked the way causing the driver to hit the stalled lorry.
About 40 passengers cancelled their journey to Nairobi following the accident.
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Apr 20 2017 | Posted in Transportation
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Photo: Daily News
Speed Limit road sign (file photo).
By Faustine Kapama
The Controller and Auditor General (CAG), Prof Mussa Assad, has accused the Tanzania National Roads Agency (TANROADS) of misusing 309.7m/- that had been allocated for erection of signs for people with disabilities in eight regions of Tanzania Mainland.
“Despite TANROADS having allocated 309.7m/- in the year 2015/2016 for erection of signs for people with disabilities in the eight visited regions, only about 15 per cent of required disability signs was installed,” the CAG pointed out in his performance report on management of roads furniture.
The CAG conducted interviews with TANROADS regional offices from Dar es Salaam, Coast Region, Dodoma, Tanga, Morogoro, Iringa, Mbeya and Mtwara regions and discovered that some of the funds for disability signs were used for other activities.
For example, he noted, the Mbeya regional office used the funds for road safety activities and procurement of traffic control signal facility which was installed at Mafiat junction.
He said that Mtwara regional office did not install any disability sign despite receiving 21.460m/-in the financial year 2015/2016 for such purpose. Similarly, other regions also reallocated the received safety funds for other maintenance activities. As a result, disability signs were not installed as budgeted for.
“This shows that the regional offices are not keen on attending to issues related to road safety and in particular to road furniture. Out of 718 required signs for people with disabilities, only 106 were installed, which equals to 14.8 per cent of the required signs,” the CAG stated in the report.
He further noted that Iringa Region was ranking high on compliance as they installed 100 per cent of the requirement. However, he said, the audit noted that TANROADS has no information for other regions on installation of disability signs. For example, in Dodoma Region, four disability signs were installed in urban area, but the same was not shown in TANROADS data.
TANROADS was supposed to conduct needs assessment to identify the actual demand of disability signs for each region before disbursing the funds. However, the CAG noted, TANROADS allocated funds for financial year 2015/2016 without considering the regional needs. He said that Iringa Region was given 33m/- for installation of 30 signs while Morogoro Region was given 43.3m/- for installation of 504 signs.
“Most of these regions did not plan and establish need for disability sign. Therefore, the given funds were not adequately spent. TANROADS disbursed funds for procuring disability signs based on the coverage of road networks of each region,” he said.
In addition to the missing roads furniture, the audit by the CAG also observed roads furniture with poor visibility along Morogoro-Dodoma, Dodoma- Iringa, TANZAM Highway (Igawa-Mbeya) and Mbeya- Lwanjilo-Chunya roads.
“Road signs and markings were not easily seen from a distance during day and night. This is because the materials used were not reflective. Also, the guard rails lacked reflective plates. Further, the audit observed that improper location impaired the visibility of road furniture,” he said.
For example, he noted, along Dodoma-Iringa road at GAPCO filling station (Iringa town) and Mbeya-Lwanjilo-Chunya road some zebra crossings were located at sharp bends. Since the pre-opening inspections and safety audits were carried out and highlighted the issues of visibility, the shortfalls should have been dealt with before the roads were handed over to TANROADS.
Also, on Lindi to Mtwara section of Kilwa Road, the audit observed several signs were not visible due to obstruction by long grass and tree leaves. This is a result of inadequate inspections and lack of routine maintenance. Poor visibility of road furniture contributes to road crashes.
The CAG further noted that in Tanzania, most of the road furniture are old, dilapidated and some are not of required standard. This, he said, has to some extent contributed to an increase in road accidents.
Apr 20 2017 | Posted in Tanzania
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