By Mary Taruvinga
AMID an edgy political situation, government has warned the public against blocking or interfering with President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s motorcade.
The Ministry of Information, Thursday said in the past week alone Mnangagwa’s motorcade has been involved in two freak incidences.
“In the last week, there has been two incidents where two motorists have obstructed the presidential motorcade, therefore endangering the life of the principal (Mnangagwa), the public, the escorting security and themselves.
“May we encourage commuting motorists to cooperate with law enforcement support team,” the Ministry said.
Harare has been awash with rumours of a possible outbreak of violent protests and some unconfirmed claims that the military was unhappy with Mnangagwa.
Government early this week announced security services were on high alert, after messages circulated on social media of possible unrest. At least seven leading anti-government activists have been arrested in the past few days on allegations they were part of a broader plot to unseat Mnangagwa.
Information Ministry secretary Nick Mangwana told NewZimbabwe.com, Thursday that government remains acutely aware of the dangers that continue to dog Mnangagwa since his rise to power in November 2017.
“You will remember that there was an attempt on the President’s life in June last year, so we cannot take his security for granted. Nobody has been arrested over that issue and we urge citizens to respect the motorcade as is required by law and the Highway Code is very clear on this,” said Mangwana warning there are consequences for errant behaviour.
Two of Mnangagwa’s security aides were killed after a bomb blast ripped through White City Stadium in Bulawayo, during political campaigns ahead of the general elections last year. Vice President kembo Mohadi, Defence Minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri and Vice President Constantino Chiwenga’s wife Mary, were among those left nursing injuries after the attack.
Mangwana added: “Citizens are encouraged not to obstruct the motorcade, as we all know the President is protected for a reason. Not doing so would mean endangering other citizens, other citizens and commuters who are going about their business when people try to avoid colliding…”
The government spokesperson said presidential outriders are mostly in danger.
“When sirens and blue lights are on, people are supposed to give the motorcade preference to pass through. The outriders are always in danger and it is the responsibility of citizens to park and allow them to pass.
“Otherwise we are endangering the principal (President) and the escorting team,” said Mangwana.
Several presidential outriders have been killed in the past due to negligence by ordinary motorists who have ignored the sirens.
A video showing a presidential guard outrider apparently assaulting a motorist also went viral in the past few days.
Mangwana sought to play it down.
“I have not seen a video of being assaulted but I did see a video of a scuffle I am sure it’s somewhere close to Munhumutapa (Mnangagwa’s office),” he said.
“It shows there is an altercation. That vehicle obstructed the motorcade, that is the report I got. There is another one of a Mercedes Benz that tried to side-swipe the motorcade and the assailant’s car lost a mirror.”