HARARE - President Robert Mugabe suffered a serious lapse of concentration on Tuesday, damagingly blurting out that opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai had garnered 73 percent of the disputed 2008 presidential vote.
But minions of the country’s long-ruling leader quickly cut in, forcing the nonagenarian to backtrack, claiming it was a slip of the tongue.
However, the spokesman for opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, Luke Tamborinyoka, vehemently asserted yesterday that Mugabe had not suffered a slip of the tongue, but had finally told the truth about the disputed 2008 ballot, as well as the equally controversial 2013 national elections.
Mugabe’s embarrassing faux pas was made as he addressed securocrats and war veterans at the Zanu PF headquarters, ahead of the party’s politburo meeting on Tuesday. Before he was corrected, Mugabe admitted that he and Zanu PF had not done well in the 2008 elections, going on to say Tsvangirai had garnered 73 percent of the presidential vote in the plebiscite.
“When we failed to, when Tsvangirai got 73 percent of the votes ...”,
Mugabe said before he was forcefully interjected by some securocrats.
“Oh, he got 47 percent of the votes and I got 43 percent,” he corrected himself, adding, “Vanhu (people) made noise. They said don’t worry, elections, no elections. I said we should have elections, there is no winner with this 50 plus 1 percent”.
But Tamborinyoka, said yesterday that Mugabe had not suffered any slip of the tongue. “We have a man suffering from dotage, unwittingly telling the truth that Tsvangirai won the elections.
“A person who is in the dotage stage doesn’t know what to say and what not to say, and this is the reason why Mugabe revealed the truth. Usually people in dotage usually tell the truth. You don’t experience a slip of tongue but slip of everything. Zimbabweans know that Tsvangirai won all elections. It is for this reason that last year, those who claimed to have won failed to celebrate their victory,” Tamborinyoka said.
He added that it was instructive that Mugabe had also told the meeting that he held the 2013 elections in his “own way. In the same address Mugabe said we are holding elections in our own way. What is his own way?” Tamborinyoka asked rhetorically. “This confirms the shenanigans that we have always suspected. Moreso, (Mugabe’s spokesman George) Charamba writing in his Saturday column said MPs did not know how they won because things were being done from the centre.
“This all confirms what we have always said that elections were stolen”.
The Herald columnist Nathaniel Manheru, widely believed to be Charamba, wrote in the lapdog daily on Saturday that most Zanu PF leaders were not sure how the party won last year’s heavily disputed harmonised elections.
“If truth be told, very few leaders in Zanu PF are able to explain how the 2013 elections happened, how the landslide victory came about,” Manheru wrote.
“Equally, very few in Zanu PF can legitimately claim that victory, much as it benefited them. Zanu PF won elections from the centre, never from the margins which in turn then built the centre, as happens normally. Indeed this is why 2008 could never have been repeated in 2013,” Manheru added.