20, November 2017
The world sat in front of hundreds of millions of TV screens yesterday and watched Robert Mugabe make a speech regarding his future and that of Zimbabwe. The expectations from east to west, north to south were the same. Reuters, long believed to be the leader in news scoops had fed the other leading news agencies including Cameroon Concord News Group that the old fox was about to announce his exit from the international and political scene with dignity. We were all fooled.
It seems to be a familiar pattern on the world scene that news agencies these days get their predictions utterly erroneous. The election of Trump and Brexit were predicted inaccurately and incorrectly reported. As I watched the TV screens and spoke to Cameroon Concord News Group Southern Africa Editor live from Harare, nothing could have prepared me for what I was witnessing.
I witnessed a fragile old man, 93 years of age ramble; ramble on and on and on. At some stages of his speech, he sounded like someone who had suffered and was recovering from a stroke. Earlier in the day, the political party which he founded, and has led for 37 years, the ZANU-PF had dismissed him as leader. He had been given till today noon by the party to step down as the president of Zimbabwe or face the degradation of impeachment. His speech to the nation was seen as a platform for the old fox to announce his submission and ensuing peaceful retirement.
We waited for the punch line announcing his resignation which never came. We have now been reliably informed that the generals who led the move to remove him from office were told he was going to make a speech announcing his resignation but Mugabe refused to show them a copy of his speech. Cameroon Concord News understands from our Southern Africa editor in Harare that the Generals asked to see his speech but Mugabe emphatically refused.
As I watched the speech, I noticed like the hundreds of millions who did the same around the world that he was too old and in many occasions couldn’t follow the pages coherently. It was a pity and an embarrassment for someone who was once a great leader. I wondered what drives him to believe that if he didn’t have the mental coordination to read a written speech, he had all the faculties in place to run a nation. He appeared just too ancient and incapable.
The party which he founded has now disowned him. The overwhelming majority of his people don’t want him to continue as leader after almost four decades. Based on what we saw yesterday, Mugabe hasn’t got the mental ability and dynamism to make day to day decisions as a leader but he insist on carrying on as the president of his country.
We thought we had seen the last chapter of this drama, but it looks like Comrade Robert Mugabe has no intension of making that happen. Those close to him say bushiness is what took him to the top. The big question now is if that is what will bring him down spectacularly.
By Asu Ashu
Cameroon Concord News