HomeLocalPlanes collide in Mujuru flypast

Planes collide in Mujuru flypast

Mourners who thronged the national shrine looked in shock as two pieces peeled off one of the planes forcing it to temporarily lose balance mid-air.
It quickly changed direction soon after the collision going north while the other two continued east.
The two later changed direction to follow the plane that looked very unstable and appeared to be tumbling in mid-air, with mourners fearing that it would not make a safe landing.

“This was going to be a disaster,” said one Air Force of Zimbabwe official who also witnessed the near mishap. “How can they embarrass the President like this? They will definitely be in trouble.”

One of the officials said it was going to be a disaster had the plane plunged into the estimated 50 000 people that thronged the national shrine or had the two pieces fallen into the crowd.

Most mourners including officials from the Air Force of Zimbabwe suspected that the plane would make an emergency landing at Charles Prince Airport just outside Harare or at the Harare International Airport.

But some Air Force of Zimbabwe officials later told The Standard that the plane made a safe landing at Thornhill Airbase in Gweru.

The officials said this was not the first time that the pilots and the controllers have bungled the fly-past.

Air Force of Zimbabwe public relations officer Tobias Madenhe denied that it was an accident saying it was a “break formation.” 

The burial was attended by people from all walks of life, some who walked from the nearby suburbs of Warren Park, Kambuzuma, Kuwadzana and Mabelreign.

Most of the senior officials from the three political parties that form the inclusive government attended the burial.

Among them were Vice President John Nkomo, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and his two deputies Thokozani Khupe and Arthur Mutambara as well as renowned singer Oliver Mtukudzi.

Mujuru, the first black commander of the Zimbabwe National Army after independence died on Tuesday when fire gutted his farm house in Beatrice.

The suspicious death has fuelled tension with some speculating that he was assassinated as part of Zanu PF’s factional wars.

Police say they are still investigating the cause of the fire with initial reports indicating that a maid had left a candle burning in the house.

Those doubting that the fire was an accident argue that Mujuru must have been able to escape from the fire since windows at the house do not have burglar proof bars.

Mujuru was said to be leading a faction in Zimbabwe that was locked in a bitter war with another one led by Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa to succeed President Robert Mugabe.

His wife Vice-President Joice Mujuru appealed for calm and discouraged people from speculating about the cause of his death.

Zanu PF banned its officials from commenting about the death save for party spokesman Rugare Gumbo after speculation intensified that the former general was murdered.


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