A bus driver who was cautioned by Chief Siansali for racing against fellow bus crews, competing for passengers is on the run after he was involved in a fatal accident while speeding in Binga last Friday.
A Zanu-PF aspiring MP also took drivers from the same bus company and that of a rival company to the local police station where they were cautioned two weeks ago.
All that seemingly fell on deaf ears as two lives were lost and 22 people were injured as a result of an accident one of the cautioned drivers Polen Dube was involved in last week in Binga.
Police spokesperson for Matabeleland North Inspector Glory Banda confirmed the accident and death of two passengers after a bus belonging to Dubies Bus Services veered off the road and overturned.
Villagers in Lubimbi-Kariangwe, who witnessed the accident, said the two bus companies are in the habit of racing against each other while competing for passengers.
They said the driver, who is on the run, had been cautioned by the Chief and other villagers for speeding.
On the fateful day, Dube, who was driving a Dubies bus, was reportedly racing with a CAG bus when he failed to negotiate a curve resulting in the accident.
According to police, Dube, who was driving a green and cream AVM bus from Bulawayo to Kariangwe, Lubimbi, failed to negotiate a sharp curve and the bus veered off the road and overturned before landing on its side.
Passengers were trapped in the bus and villagers came to their rescue but two of them, Offers Munsaka (32) of Kariyangwe and another only identified as Joshua from Muchesu died on the spot.
The rest were injured and rushed to Hwange Colliery Hospital in Hwange where they are still admitted.
Two other passengers were reportedly in a critical condition and unable to talk due to the injuries.
Dube, the driver reportedly jumped off the bus soon after the accident and fled.
Police said he will be charged with culpable homicide when arrested.
Dubies Bus Services veered off the road and overturned.
Bodies of the deceased were taken to United Bulawayo Hospitals for post-mortem.
Dubies bus is operated by Mr David Dube of Cowdray Park in Bulawayo and plies the Bulawayo-Binga route.
Chief Siansali said he is saddened by the death and injury of his subjects especially after he had personally engaged the bus operators over negligence of the drivers.
He said Government should revoke operating licences of transporters that put citizens’ lives in danger.
“We are saddened by the death of two people due to an accident by Dubies bus that plies our route with CAG bus. These buses are putting lives of our people in danger because they no longer observe safety rules as they speed while competing for clients.
“A Dubies bus used to race with Greenhorse bus and I had to travel to Bulawayo and engaged both owners and expressed my displeasure in the conduct of their drivers who speed and race for passengers,” said Chief Siansali.
He said while Greenhorse owners showed remorse and corrected their mistakes, Dubies owners responded by withdrawing their bus from the route claiming not to be comfortable with being given conditions to operate.
Chief Siansali said his worry is that transport operators are concerned about making profit and overlooking safety rules.
The Chief said Dubies bus resumed services recently and changed the route to join CAG bus to Kariangwe via Lubimbi.
“There were complaints again and I was about to engage them again when the accident happened. Unfortunately, the same person I had engaged earlier is the one whose bus had an accident.
“Government should come in and control these buses in terms of monitoring their departure time and speed. They race on a dusty road putting our people in danger. Police need to control these people and give them different timetables so that they don’t race with each other” said Chief Siansali.
“I am very disappointed in that on the day of the accident I had been calling Dubies owner to talk to him but he wasn’t picking. Transport operating licences should be given to mature operators who should be vetted.”
Chief Siansali commended other bus operators for helping the bereaved families and injured passengers with funeral expenses and medical bills respectively saying they had shown respect for human life.
Zanu-PF candidate for Binga South in the forthcoming general elections, Cde Challenge Phiri confronted CAG and Dubies bus drivers at Kariangwe Business Centre after they had parked following a speed race.
Cde Phiri said he was parked near Lubimbi when the two buses passed, chasing each other and he drove behind them and found the two drivers parked at Kariangwe shops.
He said he took them to the police who cautioned the two.
“People are in danger because of these two buses and people now have to monitor their children whenever it’s time for the buses to pass by. A fortnight ago we were parked at some place when the two drove through at great speed which could be 100km per hour on a dusty road.
“Fortunately, we were in the company of a police officer and we gave chase until we caught up with the two buses at Kariangwe shops. So what they do is that the one in front blocks the other and as a result they end up racing thereby putting people’s lives in danger. Our wish is that the bus operators stop competing so that there is order, “ he said.
Contacted for comment, Dubies bus owner Mr Dube expressed ignorance on the conduct of his drivers and said it was not true that the Chief or villagers engaged him.
“I don’t know about that. I have never seen him. As for helping the victims, it is us who did everything,” he said over the phone yesterday.