Harare and Queen Elizabeth Girls High Schools, stung by the death of a pupil and a man who were run over and dragged to their death by a commuter omnibus, have called for the removal of an illegal pickup point at the corner of Park Lane and Leopold Takawira Street. This follows the accident in which a Form Four pupil Jocelyn Gomba (17) and 35yearold Mr Odwell Mabanga were run over and dragged to death by one of the commuter omnibuses on Monday, that have established a rank near the entrance of Harare Girls High School. Mr Mabanga had sustained serious spinal injuries, but died yesterday at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals. Police spokesperson Chief Superitendent Paul Nyathi yesterday said:
“We have questioned the owner of the kombi, Albert Guyo of Southlea Park in Harare South and he has given us information that Wadzanayi Mabika (41) of Plot 2 Nyabira was the driver. We also discovered that Mabika had one year four months driving experience after obtaining his licence in 2015. “We are going to take action against the employer for employing someone who does not have the mandatory five years experience as required by the Road Traffic Act.” The kombis, which ply the city to Inkomo route, have established a rank that operate from the entrance to the school at Park Lane and normally wind into Leopold Takawira Avenue.
A memorial service for Jocelyn was conducted yesterday at the spot where she died . Two other pupils sustained minor injuries. District education officer Mrs Anatoria Ncube said they were appealing to the city and responsible authorities for kombis to be removed from the area. “As ministry we are concerned about the safety of pupils in particular the girl child. If you look at where the kombis are stationed, you wonder what kind of criteria was used by the City of Harare to designate that area as a pick up and drop off point because the touts and kombi drivers are causing havoc at the area.
They make a lot of noise touting and causing disturbances to the learning process,” she said. “We hope this is enough signal to force authorities to enforce the law.” The Harare Girls High School head Dr Beauty Mutsambiwa hoped that the kombis would be removed soon. “I am hurt because it is not good for people not to be sensitive. Even if they want to make money, they have to respect pedestrians. “Last term, two of our pupils and one teacher were injured after being hit by the kombis. “We expect council to remove that pick up point because it is creating problems for us. “These touts and drivers harass the girls and shout obscenities to them. They also name call them, further eroding their confidence.”
Pedestrians also blasted city officials and police for having failed to bring sanity to Harare’s road traffic jungle. They accused police and the city’s traffic officers of collecting bribes from the touts and drivers operating at the rank while ignoring the danger they posed. The city’s acting corporate communications manager Mr Michael Chideme said the city would force the kombis back to Market Square where they are designated. “All transporters should stick to designated points, because those have provisions for picking and dropping passengers,” he said