An unlicensed Bulawayo man, Wellington Mbanje, last Sunday jumped onto the driver’s seat of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s official vehicle, drove and crashed it into a ditch in the city.
The incident occurred in Lobengula high-density suburb after the Premier’s official driver, Admire Katiza, had taken the vehicle, a Madza BT50, to Mbanje’s home in Malindela suburb for the night.
Matiza and Mbanje are close relatives.
Tsvangirai, who was on a tour of Matabeleland, had stopped over in Bulawayo with his entourage for the night before they proceeded to Plumtree, Matabeleland South Province.
Mbanje was yesterday convicted on his own plea of guilty to driving without due care and driving without a licence when he appeared before Bulawayo magistrate Lindiwe Mbizwo at the Western Commonage Magistrates’ Court.
For the first count, Mbanje was fined $160 or one month in prison while for the second count he was fined $100 or alternatively two months’ imprisonment.
The magistrate further slapped him with a three-month imprisonment, wholly suspended on condition he does not commit a similar offence within the next five years.
State counsel Tatenda
Dakwa told the court Katiza had been entrusted with the truck which constituted part of the Premier’s motorcade.
He visited his uncle, Mbanje, and gave him the vehicle to drive.
As they were driving from Lobengula suburb into town, Mbanje lost control of the vehicle and it landed in a ditch.
The two tried to retrieve the truck, but failed.
They were later helped by passersby to get it out before reporting the matter to the police, leading to Mbanje’s arrest.
Simbarashe Chivaura represented Mbanje.
Meanwhile, the bullet proof BMW vehicle which was impounded from Tsvangirai by police in Lupane about four years ago is still being held at the police station.