Robert Mugabe’s motorcade runs over homeless man

Robert Mugabe

Robert Mugabe‘s motorcade has run over and killed a homeless man, but officials denied press reports that the accident victim was ignored and left to die on the road.

The Zimbabwean president, 88, was travelling to a funeral in his home district, Zvimba, on Wednesday when one of his outriders knocked the man down on a motorway.

Zimbabwe‘s Daily News reported that the president, riding in a $1m Mercedes Benz limousine, “zoomed past the accident scene moments later, probably unaware of the serious crash.

“Eyewitnesses said the vagrant, who frequents the busy highway, was run over by the motorcade’s first outrider that clears the way for Mugabe.”

The Daily News also quoted an eyewitness as saying: “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.”

On Friday George Charamba, the president’s spokesperson, confirmed that a homeless man had been killed in an accident involving Mugabe’s outriders.

But asked why the motorcade – said to be one of the longest in Africa – failed to stop for the injured man, Charamba replied: “That’s not correct. The man died on the spot. He was ripped apart in an instant. He did not breathe a moment longer.”

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

The Daily News said that when its reporter arrived at the scene of the accident, which was guarded by police officers, the damaged motorbike was being loaded into an unidentified truck. “An eyewitness said the bike was speeding and ran into the vagabond, who was in the middle of the road,” the paper continued.

“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 that arrived at the scene later.”

Zimbabwe police declined to comment, directing calls to the president’s office.

Later on Wednesday, Mugabe’s motorcade was involved in another accident 60 miles (100km) west of Harare which left two troopers dead and two injured. The cause was said to be a Land Cruiser suffering a burst tyre.

Mugabe’s motorcade usually comprises police escort bikes, state security vehicles, police vehicles, his Zim 1 limousine and Land Cruiser trucks full of heavily armed soldiers, according to the Daily News. “He also travels with an ambulance among other vehicles. His motorcade is regarded as one of Africa’s longest.”

SW Radio Africa, an independent Zimbabwean radio station, said the motorcade had been involved in several accidents before, and in 2005 ran over another homeless man who died on the spot.

Zimbabwean road traffic regulations 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.”

Zimbabwe’s roads are notoriously hazardous. The prime minister, Morgan Tsvangirai, was injured and his wife Susan killed in a car crash in 2009. The finance minister, Tendai Biti, is among numerous politicians to have had narrow escapes.




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