Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Mugabe motorcade accidents claim two lives

By Lance Guma

Two separate road accidents on the same day involving Robert Mugabe’s motorcade have now 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’s motorcade in double accident
Mugabe’s motorcade in double accident

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.

Speaking to the UK Guardian newspaper on Friday, Mugabe’s spokesman George Charamba 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.”

This would appear to corroborate a witness who had earlier told the privately owned Daily News paper that, “If that guy is still alive, it is a miracle. The bike ripped through the man’s legs while the bike rider was thrown off. The scene was so ghastly and bloody that one would not take a second glance.”

Charamba said: “Because he’s homeless, he will now probably have a pauper’s burial. I know he’s been taken to a mortuary.”

CLOSE SHAVE... Police officers lift a motorbike belonging to President Robert Mugabe's motorcade after it hit a pedestrian along Bulawayo Road in Kuwadzana on Wednesday. (Pic: Anne Mpalume)
CLOSE SHAVE... Police officers lift a motorbike belonging to President Robert Mugabe's motorcade after it hit and killed a homeless man along Bulawayo Road in Kuwadzana on Wednesday. (Pic: Anne Mpalume)

The drama for Mugabe on Wednesday 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.

On Thursday Mugabe sent a message of condolence to the Mukotekwa family. “On behalf of Government and my own behalf, I want to convey my deepest condolences to the Mukotekwa family,” he said. The ZANU PF leader also wished the other presidential guards in hospital, a speedy recovery.

A former member of the police escort team who travel with Mugabe has meanwhile told SW Radio Africa 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.

It’s also not the first time Mugabe’s motorcade has run over a homeless person. SW Radio Africa understands that in 2005 the ZANU PF leader was travelling to Banket to campaign for the impending elections and his motorcade ran over another homeless man who died on the spot.

We also understand the president’s security team immediately searched for the relatives of the deceased man and forced them to bury the body within 24 hours.

Mugabe’s motorcade has been involved in many other accidents. In 2009, one of his outriders collided with a Mazda 323 in Harare and in January this year a police BMW bike which was part of his entourage collided with a Toyota Hilux at the intersection of Borrowdale and Whitewell Road in Harare.

Many commentators have criticised the excessive speed at which the motorcade travels and say it is the primary cause of accidents. SW Radio Africa

To contact this journalist e-mail [email protected] or twitter @LanceGuma

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