Found guilty of negligent driving, a Harare motorist, Joseph Chakanetsa, 28 who cut off President Robert Mugabe’s motorcade, has been sentenced to 2 years in prison.
Magistrate Tendai Rusinahama dished out the sentence on Thursday and further garnished it with a 60-day jail term for continuing on his way after committing the offence.
The Harare motorist who pleaded guilty was also fined US$200 for ignoring instructions by the presidential security team to drive to Borrowdale Police Station.
In addition to that, his driver’s licence was cancelled and he was banned from driving heavy vehicles and public transport for life.
Chakanetsa pleaded for mercy on the grounds that he was unaware of the presence of the convoy when he drove into it. Apparently, his ERF tipper truck was making a lot of noise, making it difficult for him to hear external noises.
However, the prosecution for the incident which took place last Saturday, Patience Chimusaru maintained that Chakanetsa was ordered to stop by a police officer identified as Mazowe, who was in one of the escort team’s vehicles.
The prosecutor acknowledged that when he was ordered to stop, he complied, but engaged the police in a cross-country when he was ordered to drive to the police station.
After violating several traffic rules, he was later cornered and arrested about 25km away in a high-density suburb across town, about 25km away. In between.
In his defense, the Harare motorist said literally lost his mind when it dawned on him that his truck was now part of the presidential motorcade.
Thus, he sped away. He added that the tension made him forget the way to his house and that was how he ended up in the Rugare high-density suburb.
Chakanetsa also pointed out that he couldn’t have made a sudden stop when he realised Mugabe was passing because it would have been more dangerous to everyone around the area
The recent incident involving Mugabe’s motorcade will count as the second in a week. About a week ago, it was alleged that two men Munyaradzi Chivengwa (34) and Lubelihle Nyathi (26) appeared before magistrate Tendai Mahwe charged with assault and resisting law officers after they intercepted Mugabe’s motorcade in the capital and assaulted two of his outriders despite being ordered off the road.