Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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MDC official’s death expose poor disaster preparedness

MDC official’s deaths expose poor disaster preparedness

Saturday, 01 May 2010 19:31

THE death of former Gweru Rural Member of Parliament and Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) secretary for lands and agriculture, Renson Gasela together with two other party officials in a horrific accident has exposed glaring handicaps in the country’s police and fire services.

Lack of transport and fuel, poor communication and other infrastructure have become a regular story even in matters that require urgent interventions.

All this played out on April 24 when Gasela and two other MDC officials, Lyson Mlambo and Ntombizodwa Gumbo died in an accident.

Their bodies were stuck at the accident scene for many hours, only to be removed in the early hours of the following day because the police had no transport and the fire brigade had no fuel.

Even the injured spent a few hours at the scene before they were finally taken to the United Bulawayo Hospital.

After receiving a call that Gasela had died on the spot about 25km from Zvishavane, Regional Integration and International Cooperation Minister Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga immediately tried calling Zvishavane police from Bulawayo, but failed to get through.

“We finally managed to get a mobile number for a police officer based in Zvishavane, who then confirmed they had been informed of two accidents.“One was along Masvingo road and the other was along Shurugwi road,”
Misihairabwi-Mushonga said.

While the police were aware of the accident, Misihairabwi said they failed to react on time because they had no transport to get to the scene.

“They told us that the only car they had at the station had gone with officers to the Masvingo accident.

“I immediately drove to Zvishavane with former Senator Rita Ndlovu. I took the longer route, via Gweru and when I arrived, I found the police had arrived at the scene about one and half hours after I spoke to them,” she

An even bigger nightmare awaited Misihairabwi-Mushonga, Industry Minister Welshman Ncube and other officials who had rushed to the scene.

They just watched helplessly at the bodies, as they did not have the means to get them out of the trap.Attempts to get the Fire Brigade to intervene swiftly hit a brickwall as the fire fighters had no fuel.

“Ncube called the Fire Brigade in Gweru, but he was told they had no fuel,”
added Misihairabwi-Mushonga.

“It was only after he offered to organise fuel for them that they managed to get to the scene.

“They only arrived after I had already left the scene to rush to Bulawayo with the injured, but I am told they were there in the early hours of the next day.”

Police spokesperson Wayne Bvudzijena on Friday said inasmuch as the police would want to respond swiftly to such situations, they were being hindered by lack of resources.

“That is what we have always been talking about, that we do not have adequate resources,” said Bvudzijena.

“We need more resources in terms of transport, office equipment and other forensic equipment that we need to discharge our duties.


“The inclusive government should provide sufficient resources to ensure that we discharge our duties properly.”

Bvudzijena said the police were still to finalise their investigations on the fatal crash.




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