Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s drivers were arrested at the Beitbridge border post at the weekend on allegations they were in possession of beacon lights usually installed on police or military escort vehicles.
Clifford Sanyika and Joshua Mhuriyengwe were arrested on Saturday and their Toyota Prado vehicles impounded.
The lawyer representing Sanyika and Mhuriyengwe, Kossam Ncube of Kossam Ncube and Partners, confirmed the arrest.
“They (police)say the drivers had no authority to drive the vehicles with beacons and said only a motor vehicle used by or for the purposes of the police force or military police or for the President or a person authorised by the President may be equipped with a blue beacon light,” said Ncube.
Ncube said his clients said the beacon light was on the passenger seat and not fixed or attached to the car.
The drivers appeared in court on Monday and were denied bail as the state argued they were a threat to national security.
The Premier’s spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka on Monday confirmed the arrest and said the incident was evidence of the “persecution of the person and office of the Right Honourable Morgan Tsvangirai”.
The two drivers were reportedly coming from South Africa where the vehicles had been taken for routine upgrading of the siren and security systems.
“That official drivers of the Prime Minister could be harassed and detained and that the official vehicles of the Head of Government can be impounded is a clear signal of the continued persecution of the person and office of the Right Honourable Morgan Tsvangirai,” Tamborinyoka said.
Tamborinyoka said the two were accused of being a threat to national security, but said that was impossible as they were drivers of the Prime Minister.
“The state argued in court today that the two drivers could not be granted bail because the equipment was a threat to state security. God knows how two drivers attested into the civil service and driving the Prime Minister’s vehicles with sirens and beacons can ever be said to constitute a security threat to the country,” he said.
Tamborinyoka said the arrest and the impounding of the premier’s vehicles “represent cheap political drama that is meant to embarrass his person and his office”.
“In the run-up to the June 2008 (presidential election run-off), the Prime Minister’s campaign vehicles were needlessly impounded and three years later, one of them remains impounded at Lupane Police Station.
This needless harassment does not bode well for the inclusive government and makes the people lose confidence and faith in some of the national institutions that are supposed to serve and protect the people.”