Rivals feast on Mugabe's fall

HARARE - A day after President Robert Mugabe fell off a podium at Harare International Airport, in a worrisome incident that elicited loud gasps of concern among gathered senior government officials, service chiefs and Zanu PF supporters, his critics say it is now time for the nonagenarian to either resign or retire due to advanced age.

Leading opposition figures said yesterday that after 35 tumultuous years at the helm in Zimbabwe, and at the ripe old age of 91, it was time for Mugabe to clear the way for a new leader to chart a new era for the struggling, but resource-rich country.

Pic: The Telegraph

Photographs and video footage of Mugabe’s nasty fall went viral on social media and also made headline news in international media yesterday, amid bizarre claims by lickspittle State media that the president had not fallen, but had merely tripped and “remarkably managed to break the fall on his own”.

This desperate spin was despite the wide availability of self-evident photographic and video evidence of the mortifying fall.

Empathetic opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai said, “It’s very unfortunate even though it is understandable at his age. I hope he gets the medical attention he deserves.”

Sibongile Mgijima, deputy national spokesperson for Welshman Ncube’s MDC, said Mugabe must resign.

“There is everything wrong with a 91-year-old man who wants to pretend that his body is not succumbing to the natural process of aging.

“Most 91-year-olds use canes to assist them to walk. If president Mugabe had done the same, perhaps he could have prevented this nasty fall.

“It goes to show that he now lacks co-ordination with his brains. He can no longer continue to deceive Zimbabweans that he is both mentally and physically fit. It is time to leave office, stay home and tell stories to his grandchildren,” Mgijima said.

MDC spokesperson Obert Gutu weighed in saying Mugabe was “an old man” who now needed to seriously contemplate stepping down.

“He is soon turning 91 and at that advanced age, a person’s health and general physical fitness become severely strained.

“As the MDC, we have repeatedly stated on account of his increasingly failing health, as well as advanced age, that Mugabe is no longer fit for purpose.

“Here is a geriatric who gives himself an extremely punishing schedule as a husband to a relatively young wife, a father to children young enough to be his grandchildren, a president of a country whose economy is virtually comatose, the chair of both Sadc and the African Union, as well as being the chancellor of more than 12 State universities!

“His plate is rather too full for an ailing nonagenarian,” Gutu told the Daily News, adding that it was regrettable that more often than not, Mugabe was “hopping from one aeroplane onto another”.

“He loves travelling and the Far East is his destination of choice.

The man is just too old, frail and sickly. The best thing that he can do for himself, his family and his country is to immediately resign as the head of state and retire to farming at Gushungo Estates.

“He could also utilise his time in retirement to pen his memoirs.

Anything short of that will simply mean enhanced socio-economic suffering for the majority of the people of Zimbabwe who are now living in penury and destitution,’’ Gutu said.

Evans Sagomba, a spokesperson for Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn, said given the events at the airport, it was high time Mugabe called it quits.

“It’s a big sign. It’s time for the old man to rest. Everyone was there and it’s a clear sign that they should let the old man rest.

What more do you want? Everybody was there and it happened right in front of them, even the generals.

“We are not gloating over this. We can’t laugh at it because he is an old man. But it happened in a public place. They should have a meeting to say the old man must rest. It’s a clear message,” Sagomba said.

Dewa Mavhinga, a senior researcher at Human Rights Watch, said Mugabe’s fall was a sad development.

“His party and family should seriously talk about Mugabe’s overdue retirement and not scapegoat the fall as resulting from a poorly laid out carpet,” he said, referring to the spin by lickspittle State media about the alleged cause of the fall.

“The president’s upcoming 91st birthday this month is a good opportunity to seriously reflect on calling it a day,” Mavhinga added.

Analyst Maxwell Saungweme said there were more important things Zimbabweans should focus on, rather than the tripping of “a 91-year-old man”.

“It should not be news as this is just a re-affirmation that he is old and like anyone at his age, deserves a rest,” Saungweme said.

Although Mugabe and his aides have consistently claimed that he is allegedly “as fit as a fiddle”, he has in recent years shuttled frequently between Zimbabwe and the Far East for medical attention.

“I am here for as long as I am still sane, with good memory and will power,” Mugabe said in his closing remarks at the disputed damp squib Zanu PF “elective” congress that was held in Harare in December last year.

But even ordinary Zimbabweans, while commiserating with Mugabe over his fall, said yesterday that it was high time he stepped down as Zimbabwean leader.

“His age doesn’t allow for all this, Sadc chairman, AU chairman, domestic affairs. Hezvo akoromoka awa,” (Now he has fallen) said Mike Moyo, a Harare cellphone recharge card vendor.

The increasingly frail Mugabe, fell after he had just finished addressing his supporters after returning from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where he took over the rotating ceremonial chairmanship of the African Union.

Although he appeared unhurt after the nasty fall, the incident — which occurred in full view of gathered bigwigs, Zanu PF rank and file members and journalists — triggered visible panic among senior government officials and security chiefs, who all scrambled to help him get on his feet and ensure that he was alright.

Aggressive security personnel immediately moved unsuccessfully to try and force all the gathered photojournalists, including a crew from the Daily News, to delete pictures of the fall.

Turning 91 in three weeks’ time, Mugabe is officially Africa’s oldest leader and the continent’s third-longest serving leader.

He is also the only leader Zimbabweans have known since the country’s independence from Britain in 1980, in a region where most of the neighbouring countries have had up to six different leaders during the same time.

Mugabe has come under increasing political pressure at home — both from within and outside his ruling party — and is subject to travel bans in the European Union and in the USA because of allegations of gross human rights violations against him and his administration.

When he initially took power at independence, Mugabe was widely feted both at home and abroad, and was seen as promoting reconciliation.

But the much talked about human rights abuses and chaotic land reforms that forced out white commercial farmers from their farms from around 2000 onwards drew the ire of the West and lost him much political capital at home.

Since then, the Zanu PF leader has also increasingly been accused of vote-rigging as his party has clung on to power, with a group of stalwarts in his party now also taking him head-on.

Mugabe’s fall yesterday mirrored the dramatic collapse of police commissioner-general Augustine Chihuri mid last year, moments after Mugabe had addressed a pass-out parade of 651 police graduates at Morris Training Depot in Harare.

Chihuri’s collapse, which he bizarrely blamed on tight-fitting shoes, came at a time when the country was grappling with health scares for both Mugabe and MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

Meanwhile, lickspittle State media — which sought to downplay the fall despite embarrassingly going on to cite a number of recorded global cases in which other leaders had suffered the same indignity — reported

Mugabe’s aides yesterday saying that the nonagenarian was well.

They also published pictures of Mugabe arriving at his Harare offices to chair Cabinet yesterday, in a move that analysts said betrayed the uneasiness in official circles around the fall.

Comments (32)

Mr Mugabe's desire to cling to power is dangerous for the nation. He is now portraying us metaphorically as a nation of fallen people. Why should someone who is 91 not go home and rest? Even in the village, an elder of 91 leaves the affairs of the village and family to his younger ones. As it is, the world is laughing at us since our country and continent have become a farce. For the AU to appoint a 91 year old as chairman is simply lack of vision, lack of imagination. When will Africans learn to take themselves seriously. If we make ourselves a joke, the others will make us a farce.

Chenjerai Hove - 6 February 2015

If it was a natural fall or a trip over something I do not see why this would be a real issue. No one would make an issue out of it. His fall is due to loss of balance due to old age. He's not a boy at 91 years. Other leaders have fallen before. Pleas see link: http://youtu.be/r_99YgLFWY8

Rutsine - 6 February 2015

Well , lets face it nobody can defy age nor control its verities. However , the media has lost its responsibility to report responsibly by overstating the so called "Mugabe fall !" Was he never supposed to tumble or even stumble at that advanced age ? Only fools would not think that possible at 90 ! Furthermore in what way does the Mugabe fall improve our lives as Zimbabweans ! The same reporters cannot take time to write something on the periphery of rejuvenating the economy, other than the Mugabe must go , Mugabe this... Mugabe... mantra as if its our daily bread story ! On the contrary no hype was built around Mugabe being the Chairman of the African Union...as if that was a non event ! The lifting of travel bans on Mugabe was a no strory. Shame on you

Kenny Konscious - 6 February 2015

let the world laugh not us. we cannot laugh at ourselves can we? true it may be important for him to take a back seat and allow someone else to lead the nation. that should be our debate not to laugh at the leader of our country.

taurai - 6 February 2015

Manje moti mudzimai wacho anowanajoy how?? Sekuru Mugabe chiendai kunozorora kwaZvimbako. No one one would like this to happen to any parent but some stupid selfish ZANU things still want him as president. It is said he falls asleep in the mid of having a meal. Angova masteroids ega helping him to be mobile. Shame but sorry Bob...your time is up mate.

Garikayi - 6 February 2015

I really do sympathize with Mr Mugabe and only hope he was not injured after the fall. At the same time I plead with me to retire now and enjoy a non stressful life in which everyone would respect and see him as a godfather. He should swallow his pride and apologize to the nation for all the suffering he has caused. These include the Matebeleland and Midlands massacres, the disappearances such that of Rashiwe Guzha, Patrick Ndabanyana ,the burning to death of MDC-T activists at Murambinda and General Solomon Mujuru, the killing of over 200 MDC-T supporters in 2008. He should admit that he has destroyed the country economically ,politically and socially. He should start it now for him to gain some respect.

Jonathiel Moyowaonda - 6 February 2015

I laughed until my ribs could not permit me further . Why not laugh at a man who killed 20 000 harmless and unarmed people for no reason . He has made this country a gehena for those who live in it . People have been displaced and driven to some foreign countries by this evil man . I find no reason why i can not laugh at an idiot who does not want to accept that he is very very very very old at 91 and must retire go home and wait to die peacefully ,Actually he still thinks he is a youngster . Vuma wasashskara finish and klaa. Mugabe is a big time fool bcoz he does not want to listen to what those do not like him say bcoz these are the people who tell him the truth most of the times .Next time he is going to suza and bhotsha in front of the public bcoz his shiiting valves are loos at that age,

Diibulaanyika - 6 February 2015

Are our President Mugabe's feet swollen?

Sekuru Ndaronga - 6 February 2015

The reason we are still tied to this man for all these years is becuase of stupid complacency on our part. Opposition forces should acknowldege that yes Mugabe fell most likely because of advanced age and maybe health issues, but that should not consume each of us. We should find solutions to current problems and get ourselves situated so there is a take over some day. ZANU-PF uses such events to its advantages and can become hyper (like what Jono is saying), anything said or done to "undermine the office of the president" can be manipulated for their benefit.

tino16 - 6 February 2015

The people who are celebrating the President's fall, in addition to the compromised state of their heart are working on multiple assumptions, which are equally false. The first is that the President's fall signifies his demise and proximity to the grave. Well, I am glad none of us is God, so our wishes do not necessarily translate to reality! If God wants President Mugabe to be alive until he is 160, so be it. By the way, it is not uncommon for people to live beyond a 100 years old. Check what are called "Blue Zones" to see different regions of the world (6 specified zones) where the people there enjoy healthy longevity. These zones are similar in that the people there live healthy lifestyles like no alcohol, no smoking, less meat in diet, lots of exercise, and strong social/spiritual support. To my knowledge, the president is health conscious, and in. addition to God letting him live longer, he also does his best to remain healthy. Manje iwewe unoti wabva kubhawa manheru wakuda kuseka President kuti vadonha? Ndiwe unofa first President vachisara (imagine how many young people are dying every year because of sleeping around, and other unhealthy lifestyles?) Infact, in one of the Blue Zones, at Loma Linda University in California USA, there is a cardiovascular surgeon who could still operate on the human heart with unphased meticilousness even at the age of 99 (sorry for those who think old age automatically decreases brain function). By the way, if anything, as one who is involved in the medical field, my hope is that you copy the president, at least as far as health is concerned. See, his bones are not brittle as charasteristic of bones of many in old age, otherwise you would be celebrating him breaking bones not just falling. Long live President

Gatsi Rusere - 6 February 2015

Even the most evil man like satan in the world some how he will have his admirers in most cases these admirers benefit from the chaos caused by such monsters. But the good thing is the majority are the victims and they will rejoice at every thing bad that happens to their devil . Like in this case siyajabula thina to see a very very very old evil man falling to the ground like a sack of matemba and we say toko yaro . ha!! if some one develops gaffes especially at the age of 91 clearly it tells us the brain of that person is exhausted and useless and that person can not be made to occupy the highest office in the land unless if the whole country is full of people of his age with gaffes . Only insane people can support those who bring misery to the nation in this case Mugabe .

Diibulaanyika - 6 February 2015

Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, 77, who did not even campaign for reelection and voted from a wheelchair, still won 81 percent of April's vote. Until then, he had not appeared in public since May 2012, and has done so only twice since his reelection. Bouteflika has been in poor health since suffering a mini-stroke in 2013. One despot clinging to power despite poor health.

Musona - 6 February 2015

Everyone falls once in a while. Even 20 year olds do fall.

machakachaka - 6 February 2015

(Jan 1996) Gwanda Chakaumba, vice- president of Banda's Malawi Congress Party, told supporters that the "Lion" - who ruled Malawi ruthlessly for 30 years until 1994 - would stand to greet them by waving his traditional flywhisk. He told Banda: "I only ask you to wave your flywhisk at the people. That is a very big blessing." Banda failed to stand, however, but while seated managed to say his traditional greeting - "kwacha" (dawn) and "mtendere" (freedom) - to the cheering crowd, many of them clad in colourful costumes bearing his portrait. His voice was trembling, no longer the bark that had made his opponents tremble for the three decades during which he threatened to throw them to the crocodiles. When Banda was driven back the 120m to his residence, it took him five minutes to get out of the car and several more minutes to ascend the steps to the main entrance with the assistance of his constant companion Cecilia Kadzamira, his personal physician Hetherwick Ntaba and a bodyguard.

Musona - 6 February 2015

Jan 2010 - The Nigeria authorities have declared that President Yar'Adua will not resign but will continue in power and will never hand over to the Vice-President Jonathan Goodluck “even for a second” despite his debilitating sickness and having been confined in a Saudi Arabian Hospital in seclusion for more than 40 days. Meanwhile, No one can tell of Yar'adua's whereabouts or when he is coming back to the country; stories are that he is too weak and frail to make any decision; others insist he might even be dead. To compound matters, News report now say “the ailing President Umaru Yar'Adua, who left Nigeria 42 days ago for medical attention in Saudi Arabia, was never admitted to King Faisal Hospital at all as believed by Nigerians”.

Musona - 6 February 2015

It would be seriously appropriate that the chief kleptomaniac / head honcho croaks in public view from the likes of dementia and chronic osteoporoses. Naturally the much hated present and past emissaries from the wicked West like the UK ambassador Catriona Laing, present and former ambassadors US Assistant Secretary for African Affairs, Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the new European Union Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Philippe Van Damme, Netherlands Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Barbara Jazoisse, former Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Deborah Bronnert, EU head of delegation to Zimbabwe Ambassador Aldo Dell'Ariccia, EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini, European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, Dutch ambassador to Harare Gera Sneller, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka will break down weeping in empathy at his graveside, as will be the mortified and rudderless cache of mortified patronized Zanu pf dependents.

Prophetess Grace Pamiri - 6 February 2015

Meanwhile those who stepped down without destroying their countries either at the end of their ruling terms or by loosing at elections e g KK Former Zambian president command respect every where he goes bcoz he accepted defeat and moved on . Festus Mogae

Diibulaanyika - 6 February 2015

All these leaders were not wrong but spot on , Ian Douglas Smith said Mugabe was not so clever and he was afraid he was going to destroy this country.Ndabaningi Sithole said he knew Mugabe he was not a keader at all . j Muqabuko Nkomo in 1984 said this country will turn against Mugabe bcoz he knew nothing about leading people . When Nelson Mandela came out of prison he gave Mugabe a cold shoulder bcoz he knew him as an ordinary politician not a leader and had a clash on with him the deployment of SADC military to DRC Congo which SA never took part .Those were the great leaders who had a vision and could see bad things coming before any ordinary person see it . If we had listened and stopped singing jongwe rakaunda from morning to sun set and removed him earlier he could not be falling in public at the age of 91 . Not listening to elders brings curse now we are stuck with this curse as it goes on stumbling and still clinging to dear power .

Diibulaanyika - 6 February 2015

Mugabe is nothing less than the fairy tale Naked Emperor who vanity would not allow him to admit that he was naked. Mugabe has stayed in power on the pretext that he was still young and active he even rigging the elections for Pete's sake!

Wilbert Mukori - 6 February 2015

The fall has dented Mugabe's pride. Normally, he does not miss showing off at the airport welcoming Presidents of other countries and going on the podium to deliver his trademark crap about colonialism to large crowds of bussed supporters. After yesterday's ignominious fall he is now afraid of podiums and decided to stay at home and sent Mnangagwa to meet Zambia's Edgar Lungu for a change. He man is mortified. The MDCs must buy a walking stick and send it to him as a birthday present. Kaunda got his walking stick as a birthday present from well-wishers.

Musona - 6 February 2015

This brings us to air stairs. A podium has few steps but an air stair has more steps, which means since Mugabe is now scared of going up and down steps of a simple podium he will be more scared of a plane's longer stairs. Mugabe will be forced to avoid frequent flying. This will save the country millions of dollars albeit a bit late. There will be podiums whoever he goes on official duty. This fall yesterday has wider implications that most people think. Ask yourself why did Mugabe not go to the airport this morning to welcome Zambia's Edgar Lungu? Was he tired or afraid of the podium?

Musona - 6 February 2015

When was the last time you flew Musona? Not to distract from the overarching themes that you are addressing, but flight technology has changed significantly. You almost do not need stairs anymore. So that will not stop the President from going on continental duty, or the reportedly routine medical checkups. You are really in speculative over-drive.

Gatsi Rusere - 6 February 2015

This is my own piece of speculation, evidence leads to the conclusion that Musona is about the same age as the President so he is jealous that the president is "fit as fiddle" while same-aged Musona no longer walks but is stuck on the internet all day long.. But I am just being satirical. The point is, speculation is not equal to reality.

Gatsi Rusere - 6 February 2015

Moron - I knew the usual idiot would pipe up with some stupid comment. What technology do you know you idiot? You are a Daily News reporter and airport manager at the same time? I was looking at a picture of Lungu being met at the airport and in the background is the plane with the Lungu entourage disembarking using the plane's air stair. Not all airport have jet ways or loading bridges and people have to use the air stair. African leaders always use air stairs where supporters can see them disembarking and go on to the podiums. Loading bridges restrict aircraft parking to spots immediately adjacent to the terminal. Thus, airports use mobile staircases to facilitate disembarking at hardstands (remote parking positions). Log on to URL http://www.southerneye.co.zw/2013/11/01/mugabe-first-land-new-look-joshua-mqabuko-nkomo-airport/ and you will see an air stair. Idiot.

Musona - 6 February 2015

Airport staff lay out red carpets from the foot of the air stair to the podium for visiting Presidents and when Mugabe is going out or coming back. If these Presidents were using jet ways there would be no need to lay the red carpets then. You are a reporter and you do not know these basics? Where is the technology you are talking about here? Idiot.

Musona - 6 February 2015

What an absurd discussion. The tendency for Zimbabweans is to laugh when someone,anybody falls.Other cultures tend to be more concerned with the wellbeing of the individual ie' are you alright' The question of what caused the trip is outside the competence of social media. After all history tells us that Chairman Deng swam,smoked and managed a far more complex political and economic set up than Zimbabwe,embracing reforms whose results are self evident. He was older than Mugabe!

JohnMoyo - 7 February 2015

I would feel sorry for anyone if they fall but not for Mugabe never . Why? because he is evil and has made many zimbabweans fall for ever never to work up alive .Only CIOs support him bcoz he is their lively hood and without him they are nothing and that is why they want us to feel sorry for this fool . Aviation technology does change in other countries not zimbabwe were the aviation industry has totally collapsed . it reminds me of one incidence where i was in a plane at OR Tambo air port and two white guys sitting opposite me were speaking in Afrikaans pointing at a grounded dirty air zim plane and they were laughing . Why bcoz we are no longer smart in as far as aviation is concerned . Mugabe is bad thing for this nation let fall and fall no normal person will say pepa baba.

Diibulaanyika - 7 February 2015

For years now Mugabe has been helped to go up and down air stairs by aides. He is now petrified of stairs. I cannot see him travelling by air very much. Yesterday he sent Mnangagwa to welcome Zambia's Lungu at the airport and also sent Mnangagwa to see off Lungu after their meeting which goes to show he is indeed afraid of the podium. That will save the country millions of dollars. How AU and Sadc can appoint an old ailing duffer to be Chairman is a mystery. There is a podium at Heroes Acre so Mugabe will not want to go up the steps of the podium because they will end up mourning two people. WHY DID MUGABE NOT GO TO THE AIRPORT TO WELCOME EDGAR LUNGU AND WHY DID HE NOT GO TO SEE EDGAR LUNGU OFF AS IS CUSTOMARY TO MUGABE? He is scared of falling down steps of a podium.

Musona - 7 February 2015

Hezvoo! Varipo here vana Charamba nana Dr Disgrace vaworere mudhara vaende naye kumba zvichakanaka. kkkkkkkkk. Fresh from AU chairmanship assumption of duty. Uzvaa Africa! Uzvaaa Zim!

mapingu - 7 February 2015

pasangana shasha mbiri, musona na gatsi rusere. in my view @gatsi rusere makes mush sense. he is more setteled in the way he presents his argument than the emotional musona. kudos to gatsi rusere.

taurai - 8 February 2015

Nonsense bcoz Gatsi singings same tune withyou of praising the moving grave Mugabe,

Diibulaanyika - 8 February 2015

The heroic people of Zim would like to see the cancerous back of Matinjili Matibili ,the murderous despot who has been subverting the will & wishes of the majority of Zimboz since the 1990 Polls.Matibili is an illegitimate President who doesnt have the mandate of the majority of Zimbabweans.It is an open secret that Matibili has been violently & fraudulently clinging to Power since 1990.Mbwetete Matibili cannot defy age nor can he continue to fool the heroic pple of Zim.The sooner Matibili disappears from the Political scene the better fortunes 4 the majority of Zimboz.It willl certainly be good riddance if he disappears!.There is no doubt that Matibili is Hague/Hell bound !.

Dr Zvichaperachete - 13 February 2015

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