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Denzel Musumba

Denzel Musumba


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TANZANIA experienced yet another tragedy when 18 schoolchildren, including those in pre-school, drowned when the boat they were travelling in to school capsized last Thursday morning. The circumstances under which the boat capsized left more questions than answers. The boat was reportedly overloaded and captained by an inexperienced navigator. The kids were crossing to another island where the school is located. Much as the police and other rescuers acted promptly to save as many lives as they could, the question is for how long should parents and authorities continue to put the lives of innocent children to such grave danger. This is not the first time Lake Victoria experienced strong winds. What is needed are measures to cope with adverse marine conditions including deploying more reliable means of transport on the Lake. Reports that inexperienced people have been allowed to carry passengers on the Lake is a matter of serious concern. This is not the first time such fate has befallen Lake Victoria. We remember well the 1996 tragedy when MV Bukoba capsized and claimed lives of hundreds of people. That scar has not healed to date. This problem is not confined to Lake Victoria transportation. There is, for example, the problem of unlicensed or inexperienced people being trusted with the handling of heavy duty vehicles on the country’s highways, resulting in accidents and loss of lives. Time has come after such unpleasant happenings for heads to start rolling among respective authorities to find lasting solutions to the transport problems on Lake Victoria in order to get out of this mess. Is it not possible to have schools in areas where children do not have to endure the ordeal of crossing the waters on unreliable vessels daily? In this latest Lake Victoria tragedy, stern measures must be taken against all those responsible for allowing schoolchildren to ply unguarded on an overloaded vessel allegedly captained by a novice.