Mbeya regional police commander Mussa Taibu said the tragedy occurred at around 1 pm on the Mbalizi Hill on the outskirts of Mbeya municipality, and involved three commuter buses and a lorry.
According to Taibu, the truck carrying a 40-foot container rammed into one commuter minibus, killing 20 people on the spot.
"After hitting the first minibus, the truck also hit two other minibuses, before plunging into a river,” the RPC explained.
He said the truck was heading to the Tanzania-Zambia border town of Tunduma from Mbeya.
“We got the information about eight minutes after the accident, and immediately went into action.
We activated all primary rescue respondents, but unfortunately 20 people died on the spot,” he said.
The injured victims were rushed to the Mbalizi District Designated Hospital (DDH) and Mbeya Zonal Referral Hospital.
According to Mbeya regional commissioner Amos Makalla, the bodies of the deceased victims have been preserved at the Mbeya Zonal Referral Hospital and the identification exercise will be held today.
Makalla described Mbalizi Hill as one of the region’s main road accident hotspots due to its geographical location.
RPC Taibu also blamed reckless driving as another cause of the tragic accident, warning motorists to observe all traffic rules when driving on the highway.
This is the fifth fatal road accident recorded in the country during this month alone, coming barely three days since five people died and three others were injured after their car veered off the road, overturned and caught fire in Nanyumbu district, Mtwara region.
On June 18, 14 people were killed and four others injured in a collision between a minibus and a sand lorry in Mkuranga district, Coast region.
Four days before that, 13 people died and 50 others were injured after the bus they were travelling in overturned in Mbeya region.
And on June 6, ten people were killed and 28 others seriously injured when their bus rammed into a cargo train in Kigoma region.
It has been often reported that reckless driving and poor road infrastructures are to blame for the huge majority of road accidents in all East African countries, and not just Tanzania.