THE last three bodies of eight farmers from Nyanga who perished in a road accident on their way from collecting inputs under the Presidential Inputs Scheme were buried at a moving ceremony on Wednesday.
The accident happened last Friday barely a kilometre from the collection point at Kute Business Centre. A 28-months-old baby, Rosemary Ropafadzo died on the spot, followed by the driver, Samuel Aaron Mandikuwadza, who died on admission at Nyanga District Hospital.
Six others, whose conditions were critical died at Mutare Provincial Hospital last Saturday. They were all from Ward 14, under Chief Saunyama’s area. They were aboard a Toyo-Ace truck, Registration Number ADP 2834 belonging to the late Mandikuwadza. The farmers had collected seed maize and fertiliser under the Presidential Inputs scheme at Kute Business Centre (Dodzo).
Manicaland provincial police spokesperson, Inspector Tavhiringwa Kakohwa, confirmed the accident and revealed the names of the first five deceased as – Rosemary Ropafadzo (28 months), of Nyamukupe Village, Aaron Samuel Mandikuwadza (56), of Hamunakwadi Village, Aquiline Mafuwo (62), of Samvenge Village, Annatoria Maritinya and Joyce Mumhanyi – all under Chief Saunyama’s area.
Insp Kakohwa could not release the names of the three others who died on Monday at Mutare Provincial Hospital as their next of kin had not been notified. The eight succumbed to head, chest and neck injuries. Seven others survived with minor to moderate injuries.
“The truck was travelling towards Ruwangwe and was involved in an accident at the 60km peg when Mandikuwadza lost control of the vehicle and veered off the road to the left, overturned once and landed on its left side. A 28-months-old baby Rosemary died on the spot, and Mandikuwadza died on admission at Nyanga District Hospital. The other victims were later transferred to Mutare Provincial Hospital for further management where they later died,” Insp Kakohwa.
Nyanga Rural District Council chairperson, Councillor Moses Gutu, said the tragedy had plunged the district into mourning. Cllr Gutu said most of the victims were breadwinners.
“All the deceased were from Ward 14 and you can imagine the extent of the pain. These people were farmers who met their fate while trying to fend for their families. Their families have lost breadwinners, and it is unfortunate. We buried the first five in their respective villages on Sunday, and sadly on Monday we received sad news from Cllr Mutsiwawo (Ward 14) that three other victims had died at Mutare Provincial Hospital. This exacerbated our pain,” said Cllr Gutu.
“We do not know if the accident was caused by a defect on the vehicle or was just a design by God. I visited the scene and the accident happened on a straight and clear stretch that is less than 100m from the collection point (Kute Business Centre). You would not expect such an impact just after take-off. The vehicle was carrying fertiliser and seed maize, and which could have ameliorated the impact, trapping the victims,” said Cllr Gutu.
He thanked Nyanga South legislator, Cde Supa Mandiwanzira, for assisting the bereaved families.