Fungai Lupande Court Reporter
FORMER Ethiopian Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Asrat Wolde was run over by a motorist who reportedly was admiring prostitutes while driving, a court heard on Wednesday.
The motorist, Gilbert Mutandagari (50), pleaded not guilty to a culpable homicide charge when he appeared before Harare magistrate Ms Nomsa Sabarauta.
He is on $100 bail.
The tragedy occurred along Third Street on March 1 this year.
In his defence, Mutandagari said he did not cause the death of Wolde.
He insisted he did not drive negligently.
“The deceased, who appeared lost, suddenly crossed the road in front of my vehicle and was hit by the front headlamp and fell,” he said.
But the first State witness Douglas Chipiringu blamed Mutandagari telling the court he was admiring prostitutes and lost control of his vehicle which veered off the road and killed the former envoy.
“I wanted to cross Third Street going West; so I crossed the first lane and waited for the other lane to clear since cars were travelling at high speed,” narrated Chipiringu.
“I saw a pedestrian walking on the left edge of the road going North. He was alone with a leather backpack.
“There were a number of girls, about six to seven, on the left side of the road some seated and some standing.
“I saw a motorist looking at these girls at the same time his vehicle moving diagonally to where the pedestrian was. The next thing I heard was a bang of his car hitting the pedestrian.”
Mutandagari is a holder of a class two driver’s licence.
Prosecuting, Devotion Gwashavanhu Nyagano alleged that on March 1 this year around 4.40pm Mutandagari was driving a Toyota Hilux registration number ADV 6815 along Third Street going North.
Wolde was walking along the same road on the left side.
Mutandagari allegedly drove his vehicle towards the edge of the road where Wolde was and knocked him down.
Wolde sustained head injuries and was rushed to Parirenyatwa Group of Hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.
Mrs Nyagano alleged that Mutandagari failed to keep a proper lookout of the road ahead, failed to hoot and stop or act reasonably when an accident seemed imminent.