Lovemore Kadzura Post Correspondent
THE reckless Smart Express bus driver who negligently caused the horrific Rusape Bus Disaster that claimed 46 lives following a head-on collision with a Bolt Cutter bus along the Mutare-Harare Highway has been jailed for a six-and-a-half years.
A total of 59 other passengers escaped with varying injuries in the accident that occurred last year.
Munotyei Cosmas Marembo (50) tried to simultaneously overtake a haulage truck and another small vehicle on a sharp curve disregarding carriage way markings on the road that prohibited overtaking on that stretch.
Apart from the jail sentence, he was barred from driving any motor vehicle for the rest of his life.
After the accident Marembo and his conductor fled from the scene only to hand themselves over to the police two days later when a manhunt was launched.
He pleaded guilty to failing to stop after a serious accident as defined in Section 70(2)(a) of the Road Traffic Act.
He also pleaded guilty to failing to report a serious accident within 24hrs.
For culpable homicide Marembo was slapped with a five year sentence, and an additional 12 months for failing to stop and another six months for failing to report the accident.
The presiding magistrate Mr Shane Kubonera did not suspend any part of the sentence.
Public prosecutor Mr Gift Mutigwa told the court that Marembo encroached into the opposite lane to overtake where the road is clearly marked with two double continuous white lines.
A Bolt Cutter bus was travelling in the opposite lane making it unsafe to overtake.
“The accused person then decided to encroach to the right side of the opposite lane thereby side swiping the oncoming bus which resulted in the death of 46 passengers and 59 others sustained several degrees of injuries from both buses.
“The Bolt Cutter bus sustained extensive frontal damages and the driver Temba Sorota died on the spot. The Smart Express bus sustained left side damages. After being involved in an accident Marembo failed to stop and render assistance to the dead and injured people. He also failed to report the accident to the police within 24 hours as provided by the Road Traffic Act,” said Mr Mutigwa.