Kasukuwere denies owning Tsvangirai “death truck”

HARARE –Youth Minister Saviour Kasukuwere has dismissed claims that the truck that was two weeks ago involved in a fatal accident with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's car belonged to him.\r\n

"The claims are malicious and I do not know where they came from," said Kasukuwere in an interview with The Zimbabwean on Sunday following reports South African media that the truck belonged to him.

Tsvangirai’s wife, Susan, died shortly after the car she and her husband were travelling in was struck on the side by a truck that veered onto their lane along the potholed Harare-Masvingo highway.

The truck driven by Chinoona Mwanda and belonging to an HIV/AIDS aid project funded by the British and American governments crossed into the lane in which Tsvangirai’s 4×4 Toyota Landcruiser was travelling, forcefully sideswiping the vehicle and causing it to roll over three times before landing on its roof.

Susan, Tsvangirai’s wife of 31 years, was thrown out of the car sustaining heavy injuries in the process while her husband escaped with head and neck injuries. She was pronounced dead on arrival at a hospital.

Tsvangirai’s MDC party has not said it suspects foul play in the fatal car crash but said it would open an inquiry into the cause of the accident to run parallel with another investigation by the police.

A US embassy spokesperson, Tim Gerhardson, has since said the lorry involved in the accident did no belong to USAID.
“We understand the car crash that caused Mrs Tsvangirai’s death is currently the subject of an investigation. The truck that was involved in the accident with the Prime Minister’s vehicle on Friday, March 6, 2009 does not belong to the United States Agency for International Development (USAID),” said Gerhardson.

The 35-year-old truck driver has already appeared in court charged with culpable homicide and was granted US$100 bail by a magistrates court in the farming town of Chivhu, 140 km south of Harare. He was also ordered to surrender his travel documents to court and return for his next hearing on March 23.

A raging battle between Tsvangirai and President Robert Mugabe for control of a power-sharing government the two formed last month had prompted speculation over the car crash.
A long history of deaths of prominent political figures in mysterious road accidents only helped exacerbate suspicions over the accident.

But Tsvangirai told reporters upon his return to Harare from Botswana where he had gone for further treatment after the accident that he believed the crash was a genuine accident. 

Meanwhile reports suggest that the government has agreed to appoint an independent commission to inquire into the fatal accident.