Harare – Who stops at police road-blocks in Zimbabwe? Not President Robert Mugabe’s wealthy cousin, that’s for sure.
Philip Chiyangwa, 56, has been filmed saying he doesn’t have “time to waste” at a police roadblock so he just drives right through.
And nobody shoots the tyres of his Rolls Royce Phantom out.
“If you stop, they’ll start asking nonsense things that don’t help in any way,” Chiyangwa says in the video, posted on Facebook page iHarare Extreme.
The clip – which isn’t dated but appears to be part of recently-filmed footage for a documentary – has had more than 38 000 views.
“Did you see any car that we hit? So why should they stop us?” says the property tycoon, who is famous for his Borrowdale mansion, his computerised clothes selection system and the gold-plated iPhone he bought estranged wife Elizabeth last year.
Many Facebook users were firmly behind “Fidza”, as Chiyangwa is known on the streets.
Peppered along Zimbabwe’s highways, roadblocks are the bane of nearly every Zimbabwean motorist’s life.
Police at each checkpoint check motorists’ driving licences, insurance discs, whether they have the correct reflective stickers on the front and back bumpers — and sometimes how worn the car’s pedals are or even how dirty the vehicle is.
So frustrated are Zimbabweans motorists that there have been attempts to get the courts to stop police extracting “spot fines” from drivers, amid allegations the money doesn’t always go where it’s supposed to.
But retribution for those who try to evade police at the checkpoints can be swift, and deadly.
A US visitor was shot dead at a roadblock in the mountainous Vumba region on the border with Mozambique in 2002. Another man was killed in 2007 for allegedly failing to stop at a roadblock in Marondera, eastern Zimbabwe.
Chiyangwa however appears untouchable – at least as far as roadblocks go.
He was held on charges of spying against Mugabe’s government in 2004. He was later cleared.
Mugabe, 91, has since hinted that he’s not happy with his nephew’s propensity to flaunt his wealth. The president told Chiyangwa in 2013: “Don’t show off… all the time.”-THEZIMBABWEMAIL.COM