Masvingo residents have heaved a sigh of relief on the construction of a traffic circle along Masvingo Beitbridge road, at a junction which had been dubbed the “killer junction” after deaths of pedestrians in car accidents at the spot.
Construction of the traffic circle commenced around September 2013 after endless lobbying on the part of residents to both the local and central government because of the increase in the number of deaths occurring at the intersection which crossed Masvingo-Beitbridge road and a local Rujeko-Mucheke road. The Ministry of Transport, Communications and Infrastructural Development is constructing the circle which is said to be costing about US$550 000.
Once completed, the traffic circle will benefit over 50 000 residents and millions of non-residents as it is sited along the Masvingo- Beitbridge highway. Once completed the traffic circle will control traffic entering Masvingo from Beitbridge as well as traffic leaving Masvingo along the same road.
Roselyn Mutsengi a student at Masvingo polytechnic College expressed relief the government was taking action by constructing the traffic circle as this would help to curb speeding by motorists approaching the intersection.
“I saw three students from my college being run over by a speeding lorry which failed to brake in time while approaching the intersection. One of them died on the spot while the other two sustained serious injuries. It was terrible and it was not the first time that people died from car accidents on that intersection, which is why it has been called the Killer Junction” said Roselyn.
These are the sentiments of most of the residents in Masvingo about the junction which had caused so much grief and anxiety for people especially residents with children going to schools close to the intersection.
Masvingo District Administrator, James Mazvidza in an interview with a local newspaper commended the development occurring in Masvingo: "The traffic circle will be an asset to the city as it will reduce traffic accidents at a point which has recorded quite a number of them”.
The construction of the traffic circle came as a result of lobby and advocacy meetings organised by residents with the Traffic Safety Council, the municipal council, ministry of local government and the District Administrator’s office a and other local stakeholders. The Masvingo residents persistently requested that the construction of the traffic circle be included in the Municipal budget since 2009.
It is a relief that the local and central authorities have decided to listen to our pleas, because the issue of the roundabout (traffic circle) has been a burning issue for a long time now, said Robert Makhadho, a Masvingo United Residents Ratepayers Association (MURRA) member from Ward 3 in Mucheke suburb.
We have been calling for council to do something about that killer junction for over four years, so we are glad said another MURRA member, Sonia Chirata of Ward 5 in Mucheke Suburb.
MURRA, a partner to ActionAid Zimbabwe, has provided advocacy and lobby training to MURRA ward level members since 2010. To-date 440 people (283 women and 157 men) have been trained. MURRA has lobby structures are in the form of ward committees which carry advocacy issues at ward level going up to District level. Residents convene meetings and identify issues and take up them and then engage the duty bearers.
ActionAid Zimbabwe has supported MURRA through trainings on social accountability, governance and advocacy.
This story was written by Brenda Muronda, MURRA Communications and Advocacy Officer