The death of 11 people should not just go as an headline for biased Govt newspaper to sell, that is really sad news which calls for Govt and the rest of us to think of what went wrong and how we can correct it.
Last year, at the end of October, Govt announced that no public service vehicle (PSV) whether passenger or goods, will be allowed to move between 21 and 05:00 hrs effective 27th November 2016. To that effect, Statutory Instrument (SI) 76 of 2016 was passed.
Transport and communications Minister Brian Mushimba said that, the move was due to the increase in PSV accidents, which claimed a lot of lives. A report revealed that 55% of accidents happened at night and 45% during the day.
Undoubtedly, the intention of Govt to reduce on further loss of life on our roads, was good, but it lacked wide consideration and consultation by the PF Govt.
Due to lack of consultation, the SI brought out it’s negative effect on the economy, which has made the PF Govt to revive (SI) 76 of 2016, lifting the ban on night movement of goods transporters or trucks.
In a statement, the Minister of Transport, Brian Mushimba, said that, government with involvement of key stakeholders had evaluated the social and economic impact on the SI 76 and realised that restricting movement of goods trucks had a negative impact on the country’s economy.
The Minister went on to say, the revision will only apply to trucks who will meet some set requirements and does not apply to the bus businesses.
Unfortunately, the minister did not consider the night travelers. Our highways are now full of hitchhikes at night because there are no buses for people who are desperate to catch up with time, but most especially, business people.
People are now resorting to jumping on trucks to get to their intended destinations.
The last accident brings out the desperation and danger our people have been exposed to by this ban of Buses to move at night.
It is reported that, a total number of 53 passengers are believed to have been on the truck that was traveling from Lusaka to Chikanta village in Choma. The truck lost control and overturned whilst descending at Munali hills on the Kafue – Mazabuka road. The accident happened after 20:00 hrs on Thursday July 20, 2017.
While some people would prefer to jump on a truck instead of a bus, due to higher fares on the bus, but, certainly, 53 people would not have been on that truck if the buses were moving at night.
11 people dead while 39 were injured with one female in a critical condition. Among those who died included 3 children.
This is very serious and we might be faced with other more fatalities because there are too many people on the roads looking for transport.
The solution is not in the politicians, but relevant stakeholders who can advise the best way to sort out this shortage of transport at night due to the SI.
Our humble proposal would be that, SI 78 of 2016 controls speed is reinforced to ensue adherence, while SI 80 of 2016 which restricts a driver, either bus or truck, from driving beyond eight hours is revised to include night driving whereby, drivers operating at night work only for 4 hours.
Meaning, there should be two drivers on each bus at all times, if the bus is moving at night. But this has to be discussed with the operators.
From our point of view, as Economic and Equity Party (EEP) we note with concern that, the PF govt tend to implement policies without a wide consideration and consultation.
It is important that when a policy is being implemented, all possible relevant stakeholders are consulted, while the Govt look at the needs or interests of the people.
If something has to be taken away from people, Govt ought to provide an alternative otherwise other measures have to be considered to curb the problem.
The economy is rather hash such that some people are not sleeping, Govt has to cope by providing enabling environment to conduct their businesses otherwise illegality and corruption increases as people try to beat the law.
The police mounting roadblocks at night, must be making money from the truck carry unauthorized passengers. The truck that killed 11 people passed through Kafue road block and the question is how did the police allow it to proceed, if corruption was not involved.
TAYALI – NI TOUCH AND GO!
EEP – A NATION IS PEOPLE!
2021 IS OUR TIME – WAPYA BAISA ABENE BACHALO!