A tale of old lorries, unlicensed drivers

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MOST people have seen the Bedford lorries, which are commonly known as ‘zvirhorhi zvemajecha’. These are monstrous trucks with peeling paint and rusty patches. These were vehicles that were used during the war. The old model vehicles were sold to the public since the army discarded them. They do not have brakes hence they are not roadworthy. The spare parts cannot be accessed anymore because they are outdated hence they cannot be fixed and even if they wanted to, most of them are not registered hence they do not have number plates. They usually move at night for fear of the police and the Vehicle Inspection Department (VID). Several accidents have occurred around Zimbabwe as a result of these old lorries. When one visits places like Chitungwiza, Highfield and Glen View it is a common thing to meet with these lorries. The lorries are also referred to as “multipurpose” vehicles. The lorries are so old and are seen carrying stones, pit and river sand, garbage and house property. These trucks are offered for hire and they charge low prices. The low prices attract many people. In Chitungwiza the lorries can be seen parked at Huruyadzo Shopping Centre were they are offered for hire. Some are not even hired because the owners are self-employed. The river sand is collected during the night because it is illegal to collect sand from the river. The river sand which is collected is sold at a cheaper price to those who are building. The lorries are also hired by the tenants or lodgers for ferrying their property from one place to another when they are shifting lodgings. Sometimes bereaved families also hire them to carry mourners to the cemetery. The outward appearance of the lorries is terrifying and one therefore can imagine about the inward appearance. These old lorries do not use the conventional fuel tank, but a plastic five-litre container tied precariously on the bonnet. The dangerous part about the multipurpose trucks is that they perform a lot of heavy duties whilst they are unroadworthy. One can also imagine a very big old lorry with a heavy load travelling at night without headlights and reflectors. This clearly shows that the so-called “multipurpose” lorries contribute more to road accidents than anything else. It is amazing to know that when the driver wants to stop, he can tell a passenger to jump down and put a huge stone in front of the wheels till it comes to a halt. These unroadworthy vehicles have killed many people on our roads. An accident along Seke Road recently occurred when a commuter omnibus crashed into a truck full of river sand. The commuter omnibus driver could not see the lorry because it did not have lights. The lorry driver, together with other people he was carrying, ran away and hid in a bush. Some of the lorries can be seen with posters written “Wrong Turn” and indeed it will be a wrong turn if there is an accident involving these multipurpose old lorries.

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