ZIMBABWE – JUSTICE and Legal Affairs Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa escaped death by a whisker when his Mercedes Benz was rammed on the driver’s side by a staff bus belonging to Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals along Herbert Chitepo Avenue in Harare this evening.
The minister escaped unhurt and went home after the accident. The accident, which left the minister’s vehicle severely damaged, occurred at 6:25pm near the US Embassy. Minister Mnangagwa was driving home alone.
The minibus, registration number GHCW 1453, belongs to Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals’ Ophthalmic School of Nursing.
A donation from the European Union, the minibus was travelling due west while Minister Mnangagwa was driving to the east.
There is no junction where the accident occurred.
Eyewitnesses said that the driver of the minibus Mr Muchena Tsikirai (41) made an instant U-turn and hit Minister Mnangagwa’s vehicle on the right.
The front and rear doors were damaged and the airbags all popped out. When this reporter rushed to the accident scene, Minister Mnangagwa’s vehicle was being toured away while the minibus was impounded by the police.
Former Zanu-PF legislator for Zvishavane-Ngezi, Larry Mavhima, who was on the scene said: “The minister was driving east along Herbert Chitepo close to the American embassy. Out of the blue, the Kombi which was going in the opposite direction decided to turn to the right into the minister’s car. They collided and caused a severe impact which could have cost the minister’s life. We are very concerned about the driving habits of people that drive public transport. We are concerned about the safety of senior Government officials.”
He said Minister Mnangagwa was “fine”. “The minister is fine, fit and healthy but as a precaution he will be attended to by his doctor but we are more worried about him than he is”, said Mavhima.
He added: “There is no other road here he (Tsikirai) could have been turning into. Whether it was intentional or if he was drunk, the police will find out. There is not even a scratch on the minister. When he left he was in good spirit. We thank God.”
Mr Tsikirai claimed it was Minister Mnangagwa who made a U-turn causing the accident.
In his recorded statement to the police, he said: “I was driving staff bus registration number HCW 1453 along Herbert Chitepo towards the west when a white Mercedes Benz suddenly made a U-turn in front of me. Then as I moved towards the opposite lane of the road so as to avoid it, I crashed into it.”
In an interview Mr Tsikirai said he was taking his nine months pregnant wife, Jemina Mukozho (40) to Westend Hospital. “I was taking my wife to Westend. She is nine months pregnant. I am told she is in a stable condition,” he said.
Mr Tsikirai of Epworth claimed he only knew the Mercedes Benz belonged to Minister Mnangagwa after the accident. “I only knew it was the minister in the Mercedes Benz when I heard people saying so.” He was not visibly shaken and demanded his licence from traffic police who attended to the accident. Efforts to get a comment from Minister Mnangagwa were fruitless.