PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe’s motorcade was involved in a THIRD accident on Sunday inside two weeks, police confirmed.
The presidential motorcade was making a brisk return to Harare from Mugabe’s rural home in Zvimba ahead of his flight to Brazil when a police lead vehicle sent to clear traffic rammed into a commuter minibus carrying 22 passengers.
A male passenger in the minibus, known locally as a kombi, died on impact with the police Mercedes while 15 others – including two police officers – were injured, said police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena.
The accident near the Moleli exit on the Norton-Murombedzi road – in an area known as Magazvuru – was timed at 16.45hrs.
On another trip to Zvimba last week, the presidential convoy was involved in two accidents.
In the first, a homeless man was knocked down by a police motorbike in Harare. The police outrider and the victim were both hospitalised.
As the convoy left Kutama on the return journey, an open-top army Land Cruiser carrying members of the presidential guard burst a tyre and overturned, killing Private Jeoffrey Mukotekwa and wounding several others.
Police are blaming the latest accident on drivers ignoring police signals.
“The police vehicle was flashing its blue lights. A vehicle travelling in the opposite direction pulled to the side of the road, and unfortunately the kombi driver took the decision to overtake that vehicle and smashed into the police car. Both vehicles were extensively damaged,” said Bvudzijena.
The accident showed a “total disregard for 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 added.
Mugabe’s convoy is thought to be one of the longest in Africa, averaging a dozen vehicles at a time including an ambulance. The Transport Ministry pushed through regulations in 2002 which state that “the driver of every vehicle on the road on which a state motorcade is travelling... shall halt his vehicle”.
Mugabe left on Sunday night to attend the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.