THERE was a sombre atmosphere yesterday during the Seke/Chitungwiza fraternal prayer meeting held at the spot where 10 people recently lost their lives in a horrific commuter omnibus accident.

Parishioners and leaders from various churches converged yesterday under the musasa tree, near Chinhamo Service Station along Harare Chitungwiza road, where the ill-fated vehicle was reduced to a mass of twisted metal.

Event co-ordinator Reverend Rebean Dirikwe of United Church of Christ (UCCZ) Seke, said rising cases of accidents had prompted churches to speak out and "plead their case with the Almighty".

"There are a lot of things that happen when accidents occur and we are simply imploring our Creator to heed our prayers and put an end to this problem," he said.

Dirikwe said this was meant to shame the "devil" behind most of these accidents.

"We do not want to point fingers at anyone, this is not a political battle. We just want to support our community and highlight that it is everyone's responsibility to keep our roads safe," he said.

Reverend Edwin Selemani from the Anglican Church implored Christians to speak out against road accidents.

"A united front is what is required now and that can only happen through much prayer and petition," he said.

Reverend Alexander Malemelo of CCAP Zengeza said the community should be taught about the dangers of encouraging drivers to speed.

He took a swipe at commutter omnibus owners who set high targets for their drivers as this was also contributing to speeding and driving without due care.

Giving testimony, Ronald Matambo, whose 84-year-old father Nelson Tsikai Matambo perished in the accident, said he was angered that his father had to die in such a horrible way.

"At his age we thought he would succumb to diseases like high blood pressure or so, but he tragically lost his life in an accident," he said.

Matambo blamed the police for allowing the driver of the fateful kombi to go through a roadblock when he did not have adequate papers and a defective vehicle.

"Corruption is everywhere and that is how the driver wheedled his way out of roadblocks," he said. A survivor of another accident that occurred in the same vicinity a week before said: "I was under the influence of alcohol and I'm here to urge other drivers not to drink and drive," Simbarashe Rukanzakanza said.

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