Mugabe forks out R16m for custom-made Merc

By Time of article published Apr 25, 2002

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Harare - Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe, who is massively investing in personal security arrangements, has taken delivery of a new Z$100-million (R16,4-million) armoured S600 Mercedes Benz.

The hand-made vehicle manufactured to customer specification was ordered by the Zimbabwe government last year before the European Union imposed travel sanctions on Mugabe and other top government officials.

There was an outcry in Zimbabwe after the Standard newspaper first broke the news of Mugabe's order for the vehicle at a time when the country had run out of foreign currency and after prices of basic commodities had skyrocketed.

Sources at the Zimbabwe Central Mechanical Equipment Department, which runs the government's fleet, confirmed that the vehicle had arrived in Harare via Durban.

The Zimbabwe leader appears to have become increasingly nervous about his personal security and reports said a team of Libyans was now stationed in Harare to train his bodyguards.

Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai is on trial for treason after a videotape was released showing him in talks with overseas agents which the state alleges were a plot for Mugabe's assassination. - Independent Foreign Service

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