THE usually tranquil Makoni District was on Tuesday plunged into deep mourning following a horrific road accident that killed 10 members of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Collaborators Association (ZILWACO).
Five of them perished on the spot, while five others died after admission at Victoria Chitepo Provincial Hospital.
Nine people were rushed to Victoria Chitepo Provincial Hospital after sustaining injuries.
Five victims, including the driver, Lovejoy Choto (44), have since been discharged.
Most of the victims were from St Theresa and Chiunya villages in Makoni West, while the others were from Makoni South and Makoni Central.
Minister of State for Manicaland Provincial Affairs, Cde Nokuthula Matsikenyeri and Manicaland Provincial Development Coordinator, Mr Edgars Seenza, visited some of the victims at Victoria Chitepo Provincial Hospital on Wednesday.
Minister Matsikenyeri has since sent her condolences to the deceased’s families and said the death of the 10 is a loss to the nation as they were dedicated cadres who never relented in supporting Government and party programmes.
The accident occurred at the 217 kilometre peg near Shamu Business Centre along the Harare-Mutare Highway after a Toyota Hilux truck they were travelling in burst its right rear tyre and veered off the road.
The truck had 22 passengers. National police spokesperson, Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi, confirmed the accident and said survivors were rushed to Victoria Chitepo Provincial Hospital, where authorities said seven were in critical condition.
“The accident killed 10 people, five of them on the spot and five on admission at Victoria Chitepo Provincial Hospital in Mutare. The victims were in a Toyota Hilux truck travelling to Mutare when it burst its right rear tyre, veered off the road and rolled several times, throwing the occupants out in the process before landing on its wheels,” said Assistant Commissioner Nyathi.
The deceased were identified as Caleb Saguwa (80), Jairos Chitowamombe (57), Norah Luwanja (67), Joseph Makarutse, Mary Mukuyu, Mandizha Gadioza, Betty Mudewairi, Johnson Tekere and Demetria Mashavire-Chipunza.
Those in hospital were identified as Manasa Madono, Tarisai Remidious, Barnabas Ruwambo, Sheila Gurwe, Agnes Grey, Margret Mukwira and one Mudyanadzo – all from Makoni West constituency.
Five bodies were expected to be taken to St Theresa in Makoni West for burial today (Friday).
Others were expected to be buried on Saturday.
Government will assist the bereaved families with $2 500 and coffins.
Choto has been charged with culpable homicide, and was expected to appear in court yesterday (Thursday).
The victims were ZILWACO members who were on their way to Mutare to attend a meeting at Mutare Hall.
ZANU PF Makoni District Coordinating Committee chairman, Cde Albert Nyakuedza, described the fateful day as a black one for Makoni.
“It is a disaster that has wiped out our tried and tested cadres from the area. It is sad that the comrades with a track record of supporting the liberation struggle died all at once in such a despicable manner.
“The majority of those who perished in this horrific accident were ZANU PF district chairmen and chair-ladies.
“They were unwavering in supporting and safeguarding the gains of the liberation struggle.
“We are deeply saddened by their untimely passing on,” said Cde Nyakuedzwa.
— Manica Post
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