PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe’s motorcade was involved in an accident on Wednesday morning, police confirmed.
A police outrider was feared dead after his motorbike collided with a truck near Sam Levy’s Village in Harare.
The accident is the fourth involving Mugabe’s motorcade in as many months.
Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba, the national police spokeswoman, said: “I can confirm an accident involving the presidential motorcade at around 10AM today. Investigations are still in progress to establish the cause of the accident and the number of casualties.”
Witnesses said the police motorbike rammed into a truck and immediately caught fire.
“The police biker just lay on the tarmac not moving. An ambulance came and took him away but he appeared dead,” said a man who witnessed the crash.
President Robert Mugabe’s official Mercedes limousine drove past shortly after the incident.
In June this year, Mugabe’s motorcade had three accidents in which two people were killed and more than a dozen injured.
In the first, a homeless man was knocked down by a police motorbike in Harare as Mugabe was being driven to his rural home in Zvimba. 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 injuring several others.
In the third incident, the presidential motorcade was making a brisk return to Harare from Zvimba ahead of Mugabe’s flight to Brazil for a UN conference 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.
Police blamed the accidents on drivers who showed a “total disregard for road regulations”.
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’s convoy is thought to be one of the longest in Africa, averaging a dozen vehicles at a time including an ambulance.