By Jurugo Emmanuel Ogasto
A young South Sudanese living in Maaji 2 refugee settlement, Adjumani district in Uganda, survived death in an accident that occurred along Maaji-Adjumani road on Saturday 18th March 2023.
Unzimai Fekima’s car overturned when he was heading to Adjumani town for weekend.
The 29-year-old, admitted that he was drunk while driving.
Unzimai said he went to attend a traditional marriage of his friend that took place in Subbe, a village in Ofua Sub-County.
“We took some alcohol with my friends and I was going for clubbing in Oasis Dynasty,” he said.
“My friend, that was a terrible accident, it was just by God’s grace that I am still alive today,” he narrated.
He advised drivers to avoid drinking while driving or riding motorcycles.
“It has taught me a lesson that when you are drunk, you should not drive or ride a motorcycle and I need everyone to learn from this,” he added.
He is admitted in Adjumani hospital in miner condition after he sustained fracture and a deep cut on his abdomen.
Unzimai revealed to No. 1 Citizen Daily Newspaper that he did not report the matter to police due to fear of being charged and prosecuted by the law.
“I will repair my car and I will not report the matter to police because the law of this country is hard,” he said.
In 2022, Uganda Police authorities reported that every day, 10 people, on average, die in road crashes in Uganda, which is the highest in East Africa.
Whereas those involved in the road accidents are usually young people whose lives and dreams are suddenly cut short, thousands are left with life-changing injuries, pain, regrets and some become destitute.
Muhammed Swaib, a senior driver in Maaji refugee settlement revealed that even with an increase in road crashes, most Ugandans and South Sudanese remain ignorant on traffic rules.
“70% of drivers in Maaji refugee settlement do not pass through a driving school that is why you see the road carnage because people drive space, they don’t drive according to the laws which is very unfortunate, so most road users are still ignorant about traffic rules,” he said.
Draparaku James, a close friend of Unzimai said there is need for the translation of road safety messages into local languages especially Arabic which will help South Sudanese.
We need to have round year campaign on road safety rules and regulations, not this one-off campaign. We should involve in passengers. We can even sensitise them in taxi terminals. We can do sensitisation around the road check points, intensifying enforcement and awareness,” Draparaku said.