Thirteen Five Star`s Modern Taarab music band artistes have died and nine others seriously injured in a terrible road carnage which happened along Mikumi highway in Morogoro on Monday night.
The unpleasant news has been confirmed by Morogoro Regional Police Commander, Senior Assistant Commissioner, Adolfina Chialo, who said 12 died instantly while the other lost his life while undergoing treatment at Morogoro regional hospital.
Chialo mentioned Doma village in Mikumi along the Morogoro-Iringa highway as the exact spot where the fatal accident occurred.
She said the accident involved a mini bus branded Toyota Coaster with registration number T 351 BGE which was on its way to Dar es Salaam from Kyela.
She said that the driver of the mini bus terribly hit a parked lorry as he was trying to escape a head on collision with another vehicle coming from the opposite side of the road.
According to Chialo, artist identified by one name Mwanzana was in critical condition.
Band leader Nassoro Madege is among those who perished in the accident, the first shocking for artistes since the beginning of the year.
Others who also died include Ramadhan Maulid, Omar Tall, Issa Ally, Haji Mzaniwa, Ramadhani Juma, Tizo Mgunda, Hamisa Musa, Samila Maulid, Hassan Ngereza, Maimuna Makuka, Ramadhani Kinyoya and Husna Mapande, all residents of Dar es Salaam.
Bodies of the deceased were preserved at Morogoro regional hospital.
Chialo unveiled names of the wounded ones as Mwanzana Said, Msafiri Mussa, Mwanahawa Alli, Zena Mohamed, Samila Rajab, Mwanahawa Hamis, Rajab Kondo, Issa Hamis and Suzana Benedict, all residents of Dar es Salaam.
According to Morogoro Regional Traffic Officer Ibrahim Mwamakula, who visited the scene of the accident, over speeding has been highlighted as the causative agent.
Driver of the mini bus identified as Juma Hassan, is alleged to be at large after the accident.
The parked lorry has been identified with registration number T848 APE and a trailer number T 556 BDL, the property of Meshack Rajab Mvamba. It had a load of timber bars.
The only unhurt survivor, grief-stricken pianist Ally Juma (25) alias ‘Ally J’ said the mini bus had 24 passengers and 21 of those were taarab musicians, two drivers and another passenger.
The taarab artistes were returning to Dar es Salaam after their Southern Highland entertainment tour in Kyela and Mbeya over the weekend.
The musicians entertained in Makambako a show that was preceded by another one in Kilosa on Wednesday.
Upcoming Issa Kijoti, who has just come up with a composition dubbed ‘Msitujadili’, meaning don’t backbite us, would linger long in the memory of taarab fans.
Sorting of bodies who were badly clustered on the wreckage of the mini bus has been wearisome and horrible.
The accident caused a heavy traffic jam on both sides of the road as reporters struggled to access the accident spot.
Mikumi National Park game rangers and policemen jointly cooperated to assist the survivors overnight.
Eyewitnesses, Mohamed Hawanga, who works with Mikumi National Parks, Justine Simon on transit to Mafinga, and Jatemi Lembilinyi, who was heading to Iringa, said thank God the lorry had veered off the road to avoid head on collision with the mini bus.