Deadly Arusha crash sparks calls for expansion of roads

Excavator 2
Excavator 2

What you need to know:

  • The accident, which left 25 dead and 21 injured, marks the worst in Arusha since the 2017 Lucky Vincent school bus crash

Arusha. Residents of Arusha are calling for urgent action to improve road safety following a tragic accident that claimed 25 lives on Saturday.

They are urging authorities to prioritise expanding key roads to dual carriageways, believing this will significantly reduce the chances of fatal collisions.

“Arusha needs four-lane roads to reduce the chances of vehicle collisions,” said Allan Mosses. He told The Citizen in the wake of the grisly crash that claimed 25 lives that concerned authorities should act swiftly on the matter.

“Many people in Tanzania, and in this case, Arusha, die because of accidents caused by the narrow roads,” he said, adding, “Arusha needs four-way roads. That is my appeal,” insisted Mr Mosses, the President of Friends of East Africa, a lobby group based here.

He said that with the increased number of vehicles on single lanes, there is no guarantee that collisions will not occur.

At least 25 people were killed and 21 injured in the Ngaramtoni area of Arusha city suburb when a trailer rammed into three vehicles.

The trailer from Kenya, which was carrying an excavator, knocked down three vehicles ahead of it along a two-lane stretch of the Arusha-Namanga road.

The accident spot is only two kilometres from the four-lane stretch of the recently opened Arusha-Tengeru road at the entrance of the town from Namanga. Mr Mosses, who lost three relatives in the crash, said four-lane (dual carriage) roads would minimise the chances of collisions and hence the fatalities.

His remarks were supported by another city resident, Andrew Malalika, who said Saturday’s accident happened “on a narrow stretch of the road.”

The 14-kilometre Arusha-Tengeru highway and the two-kilometre Afrika Mashariki road are the only existing four-lane roads in the famous safari capital. Mr Mosses added that it was high time for Arusha to have an integrated security system with cameras installed in key areas. Mr Malalika, a tour operator, said it was unfortunate that the accident had claimed the lives of volunteers from abroad.
“These people came to support our school. They had come for a volunteer job. But their lives have been rudely cut short. This is very saddening,” he said.

He said Tanzanians should do away with the narrative that accidents were not avoidable, saying it was a lame excuse.
Saturday’s crash is the worst to happen in Arusha since the Lucky Vincent school bus crash in May 2017, which claimed the lives of over 35 students and teachers. The loaded bus plunged into a roadside ravine a few kilometres from Karatu. It was taking the young learners on an academic trip to Karatu. 

As the residents of Arusha are coming to terms with yet another tragedy, members of the bereaved families are collecting the bodies of their loved ones for burial.

However, according to officials of Mt Meru Hospital mortuary, the bodies of the seven foreign nationals are still being preserved there.

“Some officials from their embassies were here in the morning. But the bodies are still being preserved at the mortuary, awaiting collection,” he said.

Officials of the regional secretariat could not confirm reports that there would be a funeral send-off for the deceased at the Sheikh Amri Abeid Stadium today.

The regional commissioner, John Mongela, said on Sunday that the government would contribute Sh1 million to the families of each of the deceased and meet other costs.

So far, 20 injuries are being treated at the regional hospital and one has been taken to the KCMC Referral Hospital in Moshi for specialised treatment.