Friday November 20 2020

A most saddening incident happened in Dar es Salaam on Wednesday when the wall of a daycare centre collapsed in mid-morning during class time. Three children aged between five and seven were killed on the spot, while six others were injured – some of them seriously.

The institution involved is the privately-owned Joy Unit Daycare Centre, which is located in the Bonyonkwa area of Ilala District in Dar es Salaam Region. Bonyonkwa is one of the areas in the sprawling city-cum-administrative region which are difficult to access for lack of passable roads.

In consequence thereof, Good Samaritans had to carry the injured children to an ambulance more than a kilometre away from the scene of the disaster because it could not be driven to the centre on account of poor or non-existent transport infrastructure.

Apparently, the ongoing heavy downpours played a positive and a negative role in this. Heavy rains that morning caused the collapse of a building that was being constructed on a hill to one side of the daycare centre – with the rubble going on to wreak havoc on the centre’s wall.

But then again – and perhaps as the Sisters of Fate would have it – heavy rain forced ten of the daycare centre’s 29 enrolled children to stay at home that fateful day. If nothing else, this saved them from possible death – or what could have been a fate worse than death, metaphorically speaking.

Whatever was the case, though, the Joy Unit Centre tragedy is a wakeup call for the relevant authorities in particular, and us all in general, to revisit daycare facilities countrywide apace. This is to ensure that they are all safely located, registered, properly regulated and effectively controlled.


Anything short of that – and such disasters will continue to occur – God forbid!


The agreement signed earlier in the week by the Energy and Water Regulatory Authority (Ewura) and Land Transport Regulatory Authority (Latra) that is aimed at curbing deadly accidents involving fuel tankers is a step in the right direction. It is notable that the development came in the wake of last year’s fuel tanker disaster in Morogoro in which nearly 100 people were killed, making it one of the deadliest such accidents in Africa.

The memorandum of understanding signed on Monday, among other things, seeks to identify key areas of jurisdiction and responsibility of the relevant regulatory bodies, as well as shared responsibilities. Another key aspect is training of crews manning fuel tankers.

While all this is well and good, Ewura and Latra also need to devote more time and resources to public education and sensitization. The massive death tolls in the Morogoro disaster and a similar incident that occurred in Mbeya Region in 2002, in which 40 people were killed, were largely down to one factor – ignorance.

Whenever a fuel tanker is involved in an accident, people, instead of keeping a safe distance, tend to rush to the scene to collect free fuel, oblivious to the grave danger they expose themselves to. The consequences, needless to say, are often catastrophic.

People are dying needlessly at scenes of accidents involving fuel tankers for the simple reason that they don’t have the right information as far as their safety is concerned.