NANCY SIAME, Lusaka
CROSS-BORDER traders have petitioned the Road Transport and Safety Agency (RTSA) to suspend the operating licence for King Lion Bus
Company of Zimbabwe following the death of 43 people in an accident involving one of its buses bound for Lusaka.
And Government has learnt with shock the death of 43 passengers, including three Zambians, on the Lusaka-bound King Lion bus in an accident near Makuti, north of Zimbabwe.
RTSA public relations manager Frederick Mubanga said the traders have petitioned that King Lion be suspended from operating on Zambian roads because of its poor safety record.
Mr Mubanga said the agency is, however, not able to grant the request because it has a bilateral agreement with Zimbabwe.
He said the petition will, however, be presented to Zimbabwean authorities.
“The cross-border traders have expressed concern over the poor road safety of the bus in which 19 people also died last year in an accident,” Mr Mubanga said.
He said RTSA will write to the Zimbabwean government to express the concern.
The accident involving a Zimbabwean registered King Lion bus happened on its way to Lusaka on Wednesday on the Harare-Chirundu highway.
The Zambian High Commission has confirmed that only three Zambians died in the accident.
Charge D’ affaires Zelipa Chitambo said on Thursday her office had sent a team to the area where the accident had happened to get accurate information.
Inter-City Bus Terminus chairman Ronald Mwansa said he has received correspondence from King Lion officials in Zimbabwe that 12 Zambians were on board and that three are believed to have died.
A visibly angry man believed to be in his 60s wept uncontrollably as his wife and two children had been on the bus and were among the dead.
And Government has learnt with shock the death of 43 passengers, including eight Zambians, on the Lusaka-bound bus.
Minister of Information and Broadcasting Services Kampamba Mulenga, who is chief government spokesperson, said Government shares in the grief with families of the dead.
“On behalf of the Government and its people, I would like to express my sincere sympathies with families of the victims. Our prayers and thoughts are with them in this difficult period,” Ms Mulenga said.
RTSA last week suspended the road service licence for Kapena Bus Company for violating terms after one of its buses was involved in a road traffic accident in Luangwa on the Great East road killing 17 people and leaving several others injured.
In February, the agency suspended the licence for Mazhandu Family Bus Services after 10 people died in an accident involving its bus on the Great North road in Kapiri Mposhi.