Friday, 21 June 2019

SMART EXPRESS DRIVER SPEAKS FROM JAIL : CRASH NOT MY FAULT


THE Smart Express bus driver who was early this month jailed for causing the Rusape Bus Disaster that claimed 46 lives following a head-on collision with a Bolt Cutter bus along the Mutare-Harare highway, says he is sorry over the lost lives but maintains he was not to blame for the horrific incident.

Munotyei Cosmas Marembo (50) said his conscience was clear because the bus developed a mechanical fault.

He was jailed six-and half years and was barred from driving any motor vehicle for the rest of his life.

He opened up in an exclusive interview at Rusape Prisons saying he was pained for being labelled a “devil” and “fugitive” yet he tried his best to save lives after the bus developed brake failure. 

“I am sorry for what happened but I will forever stick to what I know is correct. The bus was faulty and I tried my best to save lives but I am now called a reckless fugitive driver,” he said.

Marembo said shortly after the accident he fled the scene and failed to render assistance to the dead and injured people because he was psychologically traumatised.

“The night before the accident, I slept in the bus and woke up early morning. I realised that there was a problem with the bus’ brakes and retardation system and I drove it to the workshop. The mechanics realised that there was a fault and they adjusted the brakes as well as the retardation system. I did a test drive and I felt that the bus was now functioning well. I went to the bus terminus and loaded before we headed for Harare.

“We reached Rusape well and upon approaching the accident scene, a small vehicle overtook me and it went behind a lorry. I overtook the car and when I was about to pass the lorry, I applied some brakes after I realised that another bus was coming in the opposite lane. I heard some strange sounds underneath the bus. It sounded like something had broke down. I was sure the prop shaft was damaged. 

“However, in the midst of all this confusion the other bus drove straight into me and at that time I was trying to get control of my bus. The bus was supposed to have overturned but I controlled it,” he said, refusing to be photographed.

Marembo who has two wives and nine children, said he had to flee from the accident scene for his safety since he was not sure how the survivors would react.

“Talking of emotions, my safety was compromised. I was also not in the right state of mind. I also incurred some injuries in the chest. I went away and reported the matter to the police after about 30 hours when I felt I was strong enough to report exactly how it happened. I surrendered myself to the police because I knew my conscience was clear. The reason why I am here is because of how people reported it. I was incarcerated simply because of the emotions echoed by people from across the country,” he added.

“I want the whole of Zimbabwe to know that the brakes were wrongly fit. I was pained. The system was not good for the rainy weather.

“One day when I finish serving the sentence I will let the world know how exactly it happened. It’s because of someone that I am here in jail,” he said, adding: “Thank you for seeking the other side of the story.” Manica Post

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