By Staff Reporter
Two Bulawayo men were on Friday arrested for allegedly blocking President Robert Mugabe’s motorcade in the city. Mugabe was in Bulawayo for the National University of Science and Technology (Nust) graduation ceremony.
Bulawayo police spokesperson Inspector Mandlenkosi Moyo confirmed the arrest of Newton Mlotshwa (58) and Prayer Gavhanga (27) over the 10:40am incident along the Bulawayo-Beitbridge Road, opposite Ascot Shopping Centre.
According to state media reports “there was a near pile up following a sudden disturbance on the movement of the convoy that escorted President Mugabe from the Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo International Airport to the university.”
It’s claimed the convoy stopped momentarily before proceeding as police officers attended to the scene. Insp Moyo said Gavhanga, who was driving the vehicle refused to give way despite being advised to do so by the police.
“He was rude and refused to clear the road for the motorcade. He (Gavhanga) is being charged for disobeying lawful instruction from a uniformed police officer as stipulated in Section 43 (B) of the Road Traffic Act,” said Insp Moyo.
He said after the police had stopped Gavhanga they went to his car and took the car’s ignition keys to stop him from fleeing.
While the police were talking to Gavhanga, Mlotshwa who was a passenger and is believed to be the owner of the car, rushed to the police bike and removed the bike’s ignition keys demanding to be given his keys back.
At that time there was a misunderstanding as there was pushing and shoving between Mlotshwa and police officers.
“Mlotshwa is facing charges of contravening Section 176 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act “assault,” said Insp Moyo.
Four accidents this year involving Mugabe’s huge motorcade have claimed several lives. Last month one of his escort bikers died in a blazing inferno when his bike crashed into a lorry at the corner of Borrowdale and Dundary Voi West Roads.
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 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. The lead police vehicle (in the presidential motorcade) crashed into a kombi carrying 22 passengers.
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 bike collided with a Toyota Hilux in Borrowdale.
It’s estimated some 10 motorbike outriders have died since independence.