29 Nov 2011 - Story by Mutonga Matali
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RUNDU - The constant presence of animals and pedestrians on public roads in the Kavango Region is the major cause of road accidents, with the latest horror crash claiming the life of a senior government official, Efferson 'Mountain' Chiyeye, last week.
Chiyeye was recently promoted and was on the verge of being transferred to a new duty station as a deputy director when his life was prematurely cut short.
In an interview with New Era yesterday, Chief Inspector Chrispin Mubebo, of the Namibian police in Rundu, said the number of accidents occurring as a result of animals and people on the roads is on the increase in the region.
"We are really worried," Mubebo said, adding that the situation could become worse as the festive season approaches, when the volume of vehicular traffic increases tremendously.
According to him, at least three people died last week in various accidents involving people and farm animals.
On Thursday evening, Chiyeye, an official of the Ministry of Work and Transport in Katima Mulilo, died instantly when a government vehicle he was driving hit a cow at Katjinakatji, approximately 90 kilometers southwest of Rundu on the B2 road.
Chiyeye, 51, who was travelling from Windhoek to Katima Mulilo, is believed to have succumbed to the injuries he sustained in the crash.
In unrelated incidents, Shandere Linyando, 18, died instantly after he was hit by a car at Ndiyona on Sunday while another man, 51-year-old Sindimba Johannes, also died on the spot after he was hit by a truck in the same area.
Police are treating both cases as culpable homicide, said Mubebo.
New Era understands that people, especially those under the influence of alcohol, tend to walk on the road and not on the sidewalk while animals such as cows, dogs and donkeys are often left unattended, leaving them to wander on public roads.
This is so despite several efforts by traditional leaders and councillors who have, in the past, tried to encourage Kavango inhabitants to be extra careful on the roads and to take good care of their animals.
Despite the setbacks, Mubebo said: "We are going to continue to educate people and encourage them to stay away from public roads."
He stressed that the nation-wide road safety campaigns normally carried out during the festive season will serve as an opportunity to get the crucial message to all people in the region.