By Bridget Mananavire
HARARE – President Robert Mugabe’s motorcade has again been involved in an accident, the third such mishap in two weeks. The latest accident, which happened on Sunday killed one person and left 15 others injured, according to police spokesperson Wayne Bvudzijena.
This follows a double accident in a single day two weeks ago when an escort motorbike hit a mentally retarded man before a Land Cruiser that forms part of the motorcade and which carries commandoes burst a tyre leaving scores of soldiers and other security details hospitalised.
Two soldiers reportedly died from the accident. Bvudzijena told the Daily News yesterday that the latest accident occurred in Mugabe’s home village.
“We had an unfortunate accident at 16:45 hours Mugabe motorcade in another crash yesterday (Sunday) seven km from Kutama. The lead police vehicle (in the presidential motorcade) crashed into a kombi carrying 22 passengers. They were going opposite directions,” said Bvudzijena.
Mugabe was travelling from his rural home in Kutama, Zvimba.
“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,” said Bvudzijena.
Two police officers were injured, Bvudzijena said. He said Mugabe was not affected as he was way back in his Mercedes Benz limo when the lead car to his motorcade crashed with the kombi.
“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.
Zimbabwean road traffic regulations approved in 2002 state that when a presidential motorcade is approaching, “the driver of every vehicle on the road on which a state motorcade is travelling… shall halt his vehicle”.
The regulations also make it an offence to “make any gesture or statement within the view or hearing of the state motorcade with the intention of insulting any person travelling with an escort or any member of the escort”.
Earlier this month, one of Mugabe’s outriders knocked down a vagrant along Harare-Bulawayo highway near Pamuzinda Hideout before the Land Cruiser burst a tyre later on the same day in Zvimba. The motorcade sped past the accident scene in usual fashion and did not stop to assist the injured.
The vagrant and rider were taken to hospital by ambulances which arrived at the scene later. The vagrant reportedly died later. Usually, Mugabe’s motorcade comprises of bikes of police escort, state security vehicles, police vehicles, his Zim 1 limo and Land Cruiser trucks full of heavily armed soldiers.
He also travels with an ambulance among other vehicles. His motorcade is regarded as one of Africa’s longest. Daily News