By Tinashe Mungazi
Villagers in Dete are up in arms with the police after a police officer driving one of the newly commissioned service vehicles ran over and killed a 9-year-old girl before attempting to flee the scene, Friday.
The incident happened at around 7am as school children made their way to Ndangababi primary school from various villages.
Sources told CITE that the vehicle was part of new fleet bought by government for the law enforcement and was destined for use by Dete police station.
The vehicle’s rear fender and left light were damaged during the crash while it’s hood was also affected. Ironically just a few metres from the blind rise is a traffic sign instructing drivers to reduce speed to 60km/hr.
According to villagers who witnessed the accident, the speeding police vehicle was on its way from Hwange and the driver failed to see the deceased who was crossing the road.
The villagers say they were surprised that the poloce officer drove away after he struck the grade 3 learner only to be apprehended by his colleagues.
“What surprised us all was that he was arrested at Cross Dete base without hand cuffs and he ended up running away. What is the reason of him running away as we expect law enforcers to lead by example,” said another villager who preferred to be called manNcube.
What also triggered the community’s anger was the response time of the police following the report which saw the body going for more than two hours in the tarmac without being attended further traumatizing the villagers.
Ward councilor, Cosmas Mwakiposa said the villagers were deeply saddened by the incident which they say could have been avoided had the police officer been cautious.
“The comunity is angry and are complaining because this has been happening for some years without no action from the government.
What angered them the most is that such things could have been avoided had motorists exercised caution when passing through busy places such as this. As the councillor l am appealing to authorities to put zebra crossing marks at areas where school children cross so extra caution is taken.”
He said to date over 30 people including children had been killed while crossing the road at Cross Dete.
Villagers have called on authorities to enforce traffic laws and ensure that the safety of the public is guaranteed. They demanded the erecrion of visible traffic signs to control vehicles as well as the construction of speed humps and crossing areas to curb the scourge.
Two years earlier a grade 4 learner was crushed to death by a haulage truck while her friend survived by a whisker as they made their way to school.
Matebeleland North provincial police spokesperson, Inspector Glory Banda referred questions to the National spokesperson, Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi whose phone went unanswered.