Prosecution for cattle owners over accidents

VILLAGERS who allow their cattle to stray onto the country’s highways leading to road accidents will be held responsible for the carnage, Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Jorum Gumbo has said.

Cattle to be tagged ... Minister Joram Gumbo

Cattle to be tagged … Minister Joram Gumbo

Gumbo was addressing backbenchers during parliament’s question and answer session this past week.

The Transport Minister said government was going to start ensuring that new road constructions and repairs incorporated perimeter fencing as a way of stopping domestic and wild animals from straying onto the highways.

“I am on record in the august House, stating that as we do the roads from now on, we will be doing perimeter fencing and I also even went on to say when we do the new roads, we also be targeting villagers along those roads to give them the responsibility to look after their animals,” Gumbo said.

Zimbabwe has witnessed many fatalities on major highways as a result of animals that stray onto the road.

Only last month, a Tombs Motorways bus that was travelling along the Bulawayo-Harare road ploughed into a herd of 24 cattle, killing 18 in the process.

However, no one was injured.

During the same month, 13 people were killed along the Harare-Beitbridge road when an MB Transport bus they were travelling in hit a donkey and swerved onto the lane of an oncoming truck, killing many on the spot.

In most cases, owners of stray cattle who cause accidents are reluctant to come forward and claim ownership of the livestock for fear of prosecution.

Gumbo said the animals shall now be tagged to allow easy identification of the owners.

“Also that the animals for the farmers along the roads will also be tagged so that whenever an accident occurs and an animal is identified, we can then be able to trace whose animal it is and make that person responsible for that accident.

“So, it is true that whenever we are going to be constructing new roads we will be doing some perimeter fencing.  It is policy that I stated in the House.”

Most of the country’s roads used to have perimeter fencing but some blame the country’s chaotic land invasions past 16 years which saw much of the infrastructure in previously white owned farms and conservancies being vandalised.

Villagers in areas surrounding game parks have lost their crops and livestock and in some instances, human lives, after wild animals have strayed into communal areas.

 

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