Crash probes 'won't be reliable' – Madhuku

Harare – The chairperson of the Zimbabwe National Constitutional Assembly, Lovemore Madhuku said on Monday it will be difficult to tell whether the accident that killed Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's wife on Friday was genuine or not.

Madhuku told News24 on Monday that the political history of Zimbabwe "had become flooded with mysterious car accidents in which prominent political figures lost their lives.

"It has become a norm within our political leadership to use accidents as a way to eliminate those they deem threats to the ruling government. The suspicions that the Friday accident could have been politically motivated can therefore be justifiable because of the history of such deaths in our country," he said.

He added, however, that the possibility of a genuine accident could not be ruled out.

The deaths of prominent political figures in car accidents in the past have raised eyebrows.

Moven Mahachi, who was the country’s defence minister, died in a car accident under mysterious circumstances in 2001. His death followed that of Employment Creation Minister Border Gezi, who also lost his life in a car crash.

In December 2008, the country’s minister without portfolio and the ruling party’s political commissar, Elliot Manyika, was killed in a car accident.

Calls for ‘thorough’ investigation

Since Tsvangirai’s accident on Friday, there have been calls from various organisations for a "thorough" investigation into the circumstances that led to the crash, as many believe it was not "genuine".

"This is a perfect organised hit, which was designed to eliminate the president of the MDC," MDC South Africa said after Tsvangirai’s accident.

"We sincerely believe that the powerful but notorious Zanu-PF clique is determined to do anything to scamper efforts by the inclusive government to get Zimbabwe back on the track."

In Zimbabwe, however, leading MDC members have stopped short of such a direct accusation, but have insisted on an independent probe into the crash, accusing the government of failing to provide the protection of a police escort for Tsvangirai.

The Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) is also examining whether foul play was involved.

President Robert Mugabe visited his rival in hospital on Friday and maintained that Susan’s death was a tragic blow to a nation that was celebrating a new power-sharing government.

"We were celebrating this major development when the tragedy struck. It is very sad indeed," said Mugabe.

Investigations ‘won’t be reliable’

Madhuku said it wasn’t clear whether the findings of investigations by both the MDC and ZRP were going to be reliable.

"Obviously the results from both parties would be based on the political decisions that affect the unity government. As a result, the feedback won’t be reliable. Each part will come out with what suits it best, especially at this time when the political situation in the country remains unstable," said Madhuku.

"Probably what we need is a completely independent investigative team to do the work," he added.

Zimbabweans were left in shock after Friday’s news of the car crash that claimed Susan Tsvangirai.

Reports said the couple were headed to their hometown in Buhera, where Tsvangirai was to hold a rally when their car was hit by a freight truck. – News24