Police fired shots in the air and teargas canisters in Karoi on Tuesday to disperse a mob that torched a council vehicle in protest against the death of a woman hit by a car at which council workers had thrown spikes. In an attempt to evade the spikes, the driver of the vehicle ploughed into pedestrians, resulting in the death of the woman and injury to three of her relatives.
Another pedestrian was injured as the vehicle spiralled out of control. This is set to reignite debate on the use of spikes, which has largely centred on the police, the Vehicle Inspection Department and councils. The incident is said to have been caused by council traffic management workers who allegedly threw the spikes on the moving car.
Police fired three shots into the air, before firing volleys of tear smoke canisters to disperse the mob of angry onlookers who wanted to mete instant justice on the Karoi Town Council workers, accusing them of causing the accident.
The angry mob went on to stone and set on fire on the vehicle where two of the council workers who had used the spikes sought refuge. Those hit by the car included the now deceased Mrs Chiedza Mandizvidza (59) of Chiedza Township in Karoi and her son Patrick (31), who is admitted at Karoi District Hospital after sustaining a fractured pelvis. Patrick is now unable to walk or pass urine due to the injuries.
Mrs Mandizvidza's grandsons aged 13 and 17 were also injured in the incident.
The deceased, Mrs Mandizvidza, sustained deep cuts on the back of the head and forehead, a broken leg and internal injuries after being dragged under the car for several metres. Her daughter Irene, who runs a vending business outside a shopping complex in Karoi, helped ferry her to hospital. "I had left the market to collect some goods on the next stall only to come back to see my mother lying on the tarmac before I helped to get her to hospital," she said.
Mrs Mandizvidza was transferred to Parirenyatwa Hospital owing to the serious nature of her wounds, where she died yesterday at around 3am. When The Herald visited the Mandizvidza home at Number 1800 Chiedza A township, relatives were beginning to arrive for the funeral wake.
They expressed sadness at the development and called for stern measures against Clyna Trading, which is in partnership with council on traffic control. Mrs Patricia Mudimu, who is sister to Mrs Mandizvidza, said officials from Karoi Town Council and Clyna Trading offered to meet some of the funeral expenses.
"They (council and Clyna Trading officials) visited this morning (yesterday) at around 11am and pledged to provide a coffin and food," she said. Clyna Trading operations director Mr Daniel Mandizvidza said they were waiting for the outcome of police investigations before they could make any moves.
"It's something that is very unfortunate, which we did not anticipate," he said. "We convey condolences to the affected family." The introduction of Clyna Trading has been met with resistance, as some people accuse the company of being heavy-handed in dealing with traffic offenders in the town. Karoi Residents Trust chairman Mr Never Gasho was recently arrested after staging a one-man demonstration against the company. No comment could be obtained from the police and council chairperson Mr Richard Ziki.