LATEST: UN special envoy heads to Zimbabwe again!


The United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Road Safety, Mr Jean Todt, is set to visit Zimbabwe again in May this year as part of the Government’s efforts to put road safety on top of its agenda.

The Government has always been committed to cooperation under the United Nations system, and the adoption of international best practices and standards on road safety.

This also comes after the Government is in the process of revising legislation, rules and regulations to come up with stiffer penalties for motorists who cause fatal road traffic accidents as a result of negligent driving and human error.

Mr Todt is a former rally driver and ex-chief executive of Formula One team, Ferrari.

Thereafter, he was appointed as Special Advisor to the UN Secretary-General, where he has distinguished himself over the years.

In June last year, Mr Todt visited East Africa to advocate the effective implementation of the Global Plan for the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2021-2030, which aims to halve the number of victims on the road by 2030, said he was willing to work with Government and the private sector on road safety before visiting Zimbabwe.

On Tuesday, during the sidelines of the 86th Session of the United Nations Inland Transport Committee, Mr Todt held a bilateral meeting with Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Felix Mhona where he confirmed that he will embark on a road safety promotion campaign in the Southern African region encompassing South Africa, Eswatini, Mozambique in May 2024.

He undertook to visit Zimbabwe once again, to demonstrate the seriousness of the need to strengthen road traffic management, especially at the highest level.

Mr Todt encouraged Zimbabwe to commit to prioritisation of the road safety sector by galvanising all stakeholders such as law enforcement agencies, health practitioners, road safety management policy and lawmakers.

Further, he highlighted the need for road safety champions in dealing with specific areas which pose challenges such as road users’ behaviours and cultures, fatigue, drunk driving and safer roads among others.

On the accession to international Conventions on Road Traffic, Mr Todt urged Zimbabwe to expedite the process so that it benefits from full membership and participation of the United Nations Inland Transport Committee Working groups and its administrative organs.

Speaking during the meeting, Minister Mhona said he was happy that Mr Todt had once again expressed interest in visiting the country again.

“It is an honour and privilege to meet you once again during the occasion of this bilateral engagement. I am happy that we continue to meet and exchange notes on developments in road safety management in the world and in our country, Zimbabwe. “Exactly one year ago, we met here in Geneva on the occasion of the 85th Session of the Inland Transport Committee, and of course during your State visit to Zimbabwe between 6 and 8 June 2023. We discussed various topics, principally measures to strengthen our institutional capacity and review our policy and legislative frameworks for effective road traffic management and regulation for secure and safe roads,” he said.

Minister Mhona said the issue of road safety became a very topical issue in Zimbabwe in 2023, especially as a result of Mr Todt’s promotional visit which culminated in his meeting with President Mnangagwa.

“It is however unfortunate that the statistics on the ground remain worrisome and it pushes us to do more every day, to improve the road safety record in the country. I was looking at the comparative matrix on road safety statistics for 2022 and 2023: The status is worrisome.

“The number of road traffic crashes increased from 51 107 in 2022 to 51 924 in 2023. The number of road traffic deaths also increased from 2 064 to 2 099, and the number of persons injured reduced from 10 401 to 9 955.

“Resultantly, we are working to ensure that these statistics are reversed. We have programmed ourselves to work harder to reverse the tide and preserve human lives on our roads,” he said.

Minister Mhona said since their last meeting, they have continued to work hard to influence policy at the highest level pertaining to the road safety sector.

He said the review of the legislative frameworks to strengthen the Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe into a lead Road Traffic Management Agency is at an advanced stage.

“It is our hope that by the time we meet again during the occasion of the 87th Session, we will have enacted the relevant law. The legislative reform also covers issues related to registration and monitoring of driving schools, and the introduction of the penalty point system for drivers who flout road rules.

“Further, I am grateful that barely 15 days after you left Zimbabwe on 8 June 2023, we, on 23 June 2023, promulgated two ground-breaking Statutory Instruments, which enabled us to adopt and roll out a new driver’s license regime that is internationally recognised; becoming one of the pioneer States to do so in the SADC and Africa.

“We have also made it compulsory, through another statutory instrument, for public service vehicles which carry passengers and big haulage trucks to be installed with speed monitoring and limiting devices, given that speeding is one of the major contributors of road fatalities in Zimbabwe,” he said.

He said they were still vigorously pursuing the process of acceding to the UN Road Safety Conventions, which they are not yet party to.

“We have targeted to accede to the following Conventions: The 1957 Agreement Concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Good (ADR); The 1958 Agreement concerning the Adoption of Uniform Technical Prescriptions for Wheeled Vehicles, Equipment and Parts which can be fitted and/or be Used on Wheeled Vehicles and the Conditions for Reciprocal Recognition of Approvals Granted on the Basis of these Prescriptions; The 1997 Agreement concerning the Adoption of Uniform Conditions FOR Periodical Inspection of Wheeled Vehicles; and The 1998 Agreement concerning the Establishing of Global Technical Regulations for Wheeled Vehicles, Equipment and Parts which can be fitted and/or be Used on Wheeled Vehicles.

“Thus, allow me to reiterate unwavering commitment to our national and international obligations on road traffic standards,” he said.

Minister Mhona is accompanied by National Railways of Zimbabwe Board Chairperson Advocate Michael Madiro, Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe board chairperson Mr Kurauone Sibanda, CMED Managing Director Engineer Davison Mhaka TSCZ Managing Director Mr Munesu Munodawafa and other senior Government officials. Herald.

Breaking News via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to our website and receive notifications of Breaking News by email.