HARARE – A war veteran was killed in a horror crash during a police car chase in Harare’s central business district early yesterday morning.
A minibus full of passengers was reversing at high speed as police charged to smash the windscreen and the kombi hit war veteran Raphael Mbanje of Tafara at the corner of Chinhoyi and Bank Streets in downtown Harare, killing him instantly.
A witness said officers on routine patrol charged at the minibus, which appeared to make off at speed.
“The vehicle was moving in reverse in Chinhoyi Street as the driver drove away from the police,” said the witness.
“A policeman then approached the vehicle and smashed the windscreen with a baton stick. I heard a sound and the driver continued to reverse it and ran over the man once."
“People screamed and shouted and the kombi driver panicked and continued to drive, running over the man again and killing him on the spot.”
When the Daily News crew arrived, hundreds of people were gathered, blocking traffic and hindering normal business.
The agitated crowd demanded the police should be removed from the roads and allow council police to patrol the city roads.
The crowd was so angry that they threatened to beat up police officers, prompting riot police to intervene.
There was pandemonium when riot police moved in to disperse the crowd.
The baton-wielding officers descended on the crowd, indiscriminately beating mid-morning shoppers.
People fled in all directions while others sought refuge in shops whose owners struggled to lock their doors.
The Daily News was sent from pillar to post yesterday when seeking comment from the police, with Harare police spokesperson Tedious Chibanda referring the paper to traffic spokesperson, Lancemore Chakanza who said he was not at work.
He referred the Daily News to another spokesperson Paul Nyathi, whose mobile was unreachable by the time of going to print. Mbanje’s body was left lying on the street for hours before it was collected by the police.
The driver tried to flee but was arrested.
Albert Mashatise, the deceased war veteran’s relative, explained that Mbanje was in the city to collect his monthly pension.
The deceased is survived by his wife and seven children.