Power blacks out Mugabe's speech

HARARE - An electrical glitch and a huge downpour dampened President Robert Mugabe’s peace speech at the burial of national hero and late Vice President John Nkomo yesterday.

Mugabe’s speech, beamed live on State TV, was blacked out by a power outage that seemed to irritate the veteran ruler. As soon as power was restored, Mugabe remarked: “Pasi nacho.”

Zimbabwe has been reeling under intermittent power blackouts because of shortages of electricity.

As if the brief outage was not enough, suddenly it began raining midway through the 88-year-old leader’s speech, with many dashing for cover from the grandstand at the shrine that is exposed to the elements.
“Mvura haizezese kana musina kufudza mombe munotiza, (You can’t be scared of the rains, you were never herdboys?)” Mugabe joked.

In a sombre speech devoid of belligerent rhetoric synonymous with his speeches at the national shrine, Mugabe narrated Nkomo’s long history, his trials and tribulations and how he came to be his trusted lieutenant.

He called for peaceful elections saying it is what the late Nkomo would have loved.

“Ironically he passed away on the day the Global Political Agreement (GPA) resolved the issues that had been an impediment to the success of our constitution- making process, issues that had threatened to divide our national interests. We want peaceful elections,” the former guerrilla leader said.

Zimbabwe is expected this year to hold a referendum on a new Constitution, and a fresh poll to choose a new president, parliament and local authorities.

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