The two drivers, Clifford Sanyika and Joshua Mhuriyengwe, were on Saturday arrested at the Beitbridge border post for driving Tsvangirai’s Toyota Prado vehicles with siren beacons normally used by the police. Police charged them with posing a security threat.
The two drivers appeared before a Beitbridge court on Monday and denied the charges. However, they were denied bail because they were considered a security threat.
The driver’s lawyer Kossam Ncube of Kossam Ncube and Partners, who is a member of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights told Radio VOP that his clients were charged with contravening the Road Traffic Regulations by driving vehicles fitted with beacons without the authority of the police or the army.
“The beacons were not connected to the vehicles,” said Ncube. Ncube applied for the release of his clients on bail when they appeared in court on Monday.
The Magistrate is expected to give his ruling on Tuesday.
A spokesman of the Prime Minister’s Office, Luke Tamborenyoka who on Monday described the charges as “innocuous”, told Radio VOP the vehicles had been taken to South Africa for a 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 Hon. Morgan Tsvangirai,” he said.
During the run-up to the June 2008 elections, the Prime Minister’s campaign vehicles were impounded and three years later, one of them remains parked and exposed to harsh weather at Lupane police station.
The premier’s spokesman said the arrest of the PM’s drivers and the impounding of his vehicles represented cheap political drama that was meant “to embarrass his person and his office.”