By Lance Guma
A fourth accident this year involving President Robert Mugabe’s huge motorcade has claimed the life of one of his outriders when his bike crashed into a lorry at the corner of Borrowdale Road and Dundary Voi West Road.
Police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba confirmed the accident which occurred Wednesday morning.
“There was a fatal accident involving a lead bike and a T35 lorry. Investigations are in progress to determine the cause of the accident. The next of kin of the victim are yet to be informed,” Asst Comm Charamba said.
In June this year two separate road accidents on the same day involving Mugabe’s motorcade claimed the lives of two people.
A homeless man died on the spot after being run over by a bike while a tyre burst moments later claiming the life of a Presidential Guard sharp-shooter who was on board a Toyota Land Cruiser.
Mugabe was said to be travelling to the funeral of a headman when the speeding bike that leads his motorcade ran over the homeless man along the Harare-Bulawayo highway near Pamuzinda Hide-Out.
The rest of the motorcade reportedly zoomed past the accident scene without stopping to assist the injured.
Mugabe’s spokesman George Charamba however denied reports the motorcade had failed to stop for the injured man. “That’s not correct. The man died on the spot. He was ripped apart in an instant. He did not breathe a moment longer.”
The drama for Mugabe did not end there.
Near Kutama Mission a land cruiser in his motorcade burst a tyre, injuring eight members of the Presidential Guard. One of them, Private Jeoffrey Mukotekwa, later died of his injuries at Parirenyatwa Hospital in Harare.
Two weeks after this incident a third accident involving the motorcade claimed the life of one person and injured 15 others. Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena confirmed the accident in an interview.
Bvudzijena said the crash took place seven km from Kutama, which is in Mugabe’s rural home area of Zvimba. “The lead police vehicle (in the presidential motorcade) crashed into a kombi carrying 22 passengers. They were going in opposite directions,” Bvudzijena said.
“The police car was flashing its blue light and because a car in front of the kombi was parking by the side of the road to give way, the kombi driver tried to overtake and smashed into the oncoming police vehicle. Both vehicles were extensively damaged,” Bvudzijena claimed.
Bvudzijena said Mugabe had not been affected since his armour-plated limousine was far back in the motorcade.
“The incident is a show of total disregard to road regulations which state that whenever there is a flashing red or blue light, be it a police vehicle or ambulance, other vehicles must give way,” he said.
A former member of the police escort team who travel with Mugabe has told this journalist that during his period with the unit he lost,“5 good friends on duty through accidents while escorting Mugabe.”
He estimated some 10 motorbike outriders have died since independence. The number of accidents involving Mugabe’s huge motorcade is piling up.
In 2005 the motorcade ran over another homeless person, killing him on the spot. In 2009, one of his outriders collided with a Mazda 323 in Harare and in January this year a police BMW bike collided with a Toyota Hilux in Borrowdale, Harare.