Is Mugabe still fit to rule Zim?

HARARE - Four years after the Daily News first broached the subject of whether President Robert Mugabe was still fit to rule, debate is raging once again about the nonagenarian’s capacity to effectively remain at the helm of the country that he has presided over with an iron fist for most of the past 35 years.

In addition to his advanced age and increasingly poor health, that is commensurate with his age, requiring him to make frequent and costly State-funded visits to the Far East for medical attention, Mugabe is also contending with arguably his biggest political challenge since Zimbabwe’s independence from Britain in April 1980 — an open rebellion by many senior members of his ruling Zanu PF party.

His controversial and increasingly influential wife, Grace, has also lately added to his woes by wading aggressively into formal national politics, culminating in the brutal purges of many senior Zanu PF officials that include former Vice President Joice Mujuru — in an ill-advised move that has worsened the ruling party’s ugly factional and succession wars.

Analysts and spokespersons for opposition political parties who spoke to the Daily News yesterday said it was time for the nonagenarian to step down as he had allegedly now become a “lame duck” and “absentee” president who was often travelling outside the country on “frivolous” missions or for medical attention than actually governing the country.

A medical practitioner who spoke to the Daily News, but who cannot be quoted openly for professional reasons, said 91 years was “a blessed but very advanced age” where conditions such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease were common.

“There is no doubt that the president has been blessed with a long, relatively healthy life. But even for him, one can see that age has caught up with him, as is natural. Only about one in a million people have the same aptitude they had when they were 50 at that age,” the doctor said.

He said it was generally unwise to saddle people in that age group with the kind of stress and responsibility as that of a president, as they were no longer at peak performance both physically and mentally.

“Diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia at that age mean that one tends to have a short memory at that age. Such people usually dwell on the past and live their life in the past and fail to adapt to the present.

“Concentration is also a big challenge because people at that age find it difficult to stay awake for long periods. If you have to make an executive decision, you need to have an aptitude for current affairs,” the doctor added.

Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC said it was now time for Mugabe to pass on the baton stick to somebody else who could stand up to the rigours of the job.

“Apparently, his health is failing and I think he is not doing himself any good by clinging onto power whilst he is now in that state of health.

“It’s time for him to take a bow from the hazardous and extremely demanding job of engaging in active politics. He should start writing his memoirs.

“In fact, I can volunteer to write his biography for absolutely no charge! The old man should simply step down and rest,” party spokesperson Obert Gutu said.

Jacob Mafume of the renewal team added his voice saying, “We have maintained that old age is an illness that humanity has failed to cure despite all its best efforts.

“It therefore follows to reason that at 91, Mugabe is a very sick person who needs intensive care or home-based care. Until humanity finds a cure, we need to keep our elderly in a safe place where they can do no harm to themselves or to others.

“That place is usually an old people’s home or if one is privileged enough, home-based care with a dedicated nurse. Now to say that such a person is running a country is stretching it too far and an act of gross irresponsibility,” Mafume said.

Gladys Hlatwayo, a Hubert Humphrey fellow at the University of Minnesota said as Mugabe was getting older and more frail, the centre within Zanu PF was increasingly shifting.

“It looks like the wife is now in the driving seat. The events in Zanu PF over the past four to six months support this theory. He (Mugabe) is human like all of us and other 91-year-olds are long retired and enjoying entertaining their grandchildren.

“This is why people are sceptical about his ability to rule at that advanced age,” she said.

McDonald Lewanika, the director of Crisis Coalition in Zimbabwe, said Mugabe had been unfit to rule for a long time.

“This is an open secret based on the state of his health which, uncharacteristic of most heads of states in other nations, has been kept a secret.

“His age and state of health since the late 1990s has been an issue but more than the natural impediments to ability imposed by health and age, Mugabe has been and is unfit to rule because of his repressive and autocratic methods of rule.

“In any case if other Sadc and AU leaders were sincere, and if people in Zanu were sincere, they would have told him this by now,” Lewanika said.

Comments (26)

Pay state university workers fullstop.

Chitepo - 16 March 2015

He never was.

Galore 123 - 16 March 2015

Its surprising that questions about retirement that the president was asked in Japan and aired on ztv news on the 15th of March never made local headlines

joel - 16 March 2015

Mr Mugabe wants to die in power, that is for sure. Autocrats never leave power voluntarily. For, the country is like his personal property and he has no other ideas for anything else when he leaves. The bizzare persecusion of his former VP shows that he would not entertain the idea of a VP who studied for her PhD while he does not have a studied PhD. He just felt threatened by her and started fabricating all those assassination plots which are pure fiction.

Chenjerai Hove - 16 March 2015

he willnever retire giving films reasons that people still want him in power but alas if anyone dares to say mugabe should rest in znpf he /she will be jailed so one has the courage to tell him. so we are going to wait for god's judgement on him

frank - 16 March 2015

RGM is as fit as a fiddle...and he will be ZANU PF's presidential candidate in 2018 to serve 5 year term (he will be 96 at the end) his last....according to the new constitution which can be manipulated to extend his rule because there is no one else capable of leading ZANU PF. Viva Bob!!!!!!!

Garikayi - 16 March 2015

I have high respect for the president. I know all the ills that have happened to our country during his tanure of office. I also know the good things he did for the country. having summed up the pros and cons, i am inclined to the idea that his retirement is not a bad idea both for his integrit and the progress of the country. he remains one of the most influential people in my life.

taurai - 16 March 2015

Don't worry fellow comrades and friends. With 18th April approaching ... We will celebrate Independence in Style. VP will read out the P's speech. To avoid those crows who are watching the P's every move / fault.

Dereck - 16 March 2015

Actually the "P" will not attend the function incase you are wondering why the VP will read the speech. That Podium has become a death trap for the "P". So no more taking risks.

Dereck - 16 March 2015

No one disputes the President is an elderly states man. That is a fact, but it should not be shrouded in his alleged incompetence due to age. Some people generally age more gracefully than others, and that is what Mugabe is doing. Aged but not out.

Tony - 16 March 2015

It is time for him to retire.

fred - 16 March 2015

It is Mugabe's policies and administrative issues that makes' him unfit to lead Zimbabwean government and its entire population. We are in a mess, not because of his age and sickness but gross incompetence and thuggery.

X-MAN IV - 16 March 2015


kudakwashe kanengoni - 16 March 2015

Taking into account the President's working years,I mean from the time he went into detention and up to this day.The President deserves some retirement.Those who voted him the President of ZANU-PF must have the guts to ask him to retire peacefully.

Inkomoiyahlaba - 16 March 2015

Old age an illness?Here is another MDC clown at it again

enock Sebele - 16 March 2015

Guys remember smith,s regime no Blackman was free until Mugabe and his team overpowered the whites,yes he delivered us from apartheid but now we should give him a it a crime that he gave his black fellows a green light to freedom and black empowerment.guys wake up and smell the coffe. All behind Robert Mugabe are dullminded and blind baggers who needs a light to shine their ways until that shows us bornfrees that our parents only foresees what is close to them,which is Mugabe and ZANU of,forgetting that new generation has to leave a better life than this mess.I salute you Mr president and your ZANU of part but its high time to all of your oldies to rest and enjoy your wealth ,how much do you want the world to see us as stupids and fools ,we are not cowerds as you think time is clicking counting to zero and you can't count down beyond zero ,if you manage we gonna say you er more than the lord of heaven and earth.

FM - 17 March 2015

@FM, what freedom are you on about? Are you talking about the freedom to be unemployed, freedom to watch your once beloved country crumble before you, freedom to be killed by your own gvt (I was there in Matebeleland), freedom to be called a foreigner and be subjected to xenophobia (I left my own country because of this elder), freedom to..., what freedom are you talking about? One more thing, I left the Police Force because I could not stomach being used as a ZANU Militia.

Dias - 17 March 2015

madhuruza muchamama vamugabe muofisi kusvika mati nyoo

nzenza popotayi - 17 March 2015

NO he is NOT fit to rule and he never was. There are a few really blind people in Zimbabwe as to the truth. It is not my job to judge him and it is not my job to avenge. Those things stay in the domain of God alone. Someone should tell Bob that! I do not hate him but I hate what he has caused: the total destruction of our nation. Most certainly there were true liberation heroes of this nation: Bob is not one of them. How the hang did we end up with him??? No! He must go! Now!

TruthBTold - 17 March 2015

are you saying one has to be physically fit to be able to rule. only a person who is mentally unsound/retarded is unable to rule.but as long as one is of a sound mind ,its all systems go. mugabe will rule for life take it from me.

fire links - 17 March 2015

Is Mugabe still fit to rule Zim? yes why not????? who else can rule????

jojo - 17 March 2015

As long as we have idiotic opposition leaders like chematama, and also idiotic mouthpieces like the daily lies, Mugabe remains the best option for Zimbabwe, even in his grave,

reason - 17 March 2015

Mugabe should have gone a long time ago....his sycophants and cronies are actually running the place into the ground even more now...get rid of the underlings and Mugabe will crumble very cant build a house on shifting sands. who knows if anyone else will be better...very strict controls will need to be kept...the country has got great potential in terms of people ,education,land, minerals and should not be allowed to fall into a black hole....get the right people back to get things up n running properly!!!

hip2bsq - 17 March 2015

ruling is all about being elected to power. that's the only fitness test. you used your ballot paper to answer that. any street talk after the ballot is nonsensical and can never change a thing. stumbling and falling, going far east for medical attention of having eye surgery are all normal things that every human experiences at one time or the other in their life time. coming back to physique, i think he is very fit compared to some teenagers though advanced in age. how many of his age can walk upright?????

freeman - 18 March 2015

the president is there kusvika zimbabwe yanaka kana isati yanaka dont dream kuti vacabva. kana yanaka vacatonga kusvika vakutongai mukatongwa

osdee - 18 March 2015

and if people in Zanu were sincere, they would have told him this by now,” Lewanika said. You think they are not sincere?? Where is Joyce Mujuru for her sincerity? That is what the ZPF people are afraid of. I guess JT and the presidium collegues advised him, and the next thing they all were punished for the advice. PAKAIPA wena.

Scooter Tembo - 19 March 2015

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