Mugabe was 'fast asleep': Nigerians

HARARE - The cheeky Nigerian journalists who recently embarrassed President Robert Mugabe when he attended the inauguration of that country’s new leader, President Muhammadu Buhari, say the nonagenarian was “fast asleep” just before they accosted him so he looked confused.

In a hard-hitting posting on Facebook last week by Omoyele Sowore, the publisher of Sahara — the online news agency that promotes citizen journalism and reports mainly on corruption and human rights abuses on the continent, and which roasted Mugabe while he was in Abuja — the journalists appeared to rub salt in Mugabe’s wounds.

“Africa is not some kind of a continent that has to be ruled by dinosaurs. We have a dynamic youth culture. We could only tolerate him for so long.

“Can you imagine being born in Zimbabwe and living as long as we have lived and never seeing another president?

“The moment Mugabe arrived to the inauguration, he fell asleep. He was confused when we first encountered him because he had just woken up,” Sowore said.

The posting is likely to invite more venom from sensitive authorities in Harare who do not take kindly to criticism, no matter how mild and well-meant it is. Mugabe’s acolytes went ballistic when the Sahara news crew accosted the long-ruling nonagenarian, going to the bizarre extent of rubbishing Nigeria’s body politic and emerging democracy.

Mugabe’s roasting in Abuja followed his humiliating jeering in Lusaka in January this year, leading to the inauguration of new Zambian leader Edgar Lungu.

Analysts told the Daily News last week that while Mugabe had for a long time been seen as a hero in Africa, he now risked leaving office as a disgraced pariah as more and more people on the continent were becoming increasingly critical of him and his long, controversial tenure in office.

The day had started perfectly for Mugabe while in Nigeria, with seemingly starry-eyed journalists swarming around him as he arrived for Buhari’s inauguration.

And then things suddenly took a turn for the worse for the nonagenarian, as the circling journalists began to ask him difficult questions — including his long and disputed tenure in office, when he was going to retire and how he felt being in Abuja to witness a democratic passing of power there when there was no democracy in Zimbabwe.

A YouTube video of the incident by SaharaTV, which has so far been viewed by hundreds of thousands of people around the world, shows an angry Mugabe squirming under the barrage of questions and refusing to answer his tormentors, with one feisty female journalist — Adeola Fayehun — shouting loudly that, “there is no democracy in Zimbabwe”.

In the video, Mugabe is seen arriving at the inauguration venue in his car and the seemingly indefatigable Fayehun asking the 91-year-old leader if he was happy to be in Nigeria.

A beaming Mugabe responds, “I am very happy” before the reporter interjected, asking when Zimbabwe was going to hold its own democratic elections.

As Mugabe disembarks from his car, he says, “we have had our elections”.

The video then fast forwards and goes on to show Mugabe returning to his car after the ceremony, at which point Fayehun asks: “Mr President don’t you think it’s time to step down? Is there a (presidential terms) limit, Mr President?”

And the daring reporters from Sahara TV continued badgering him.

“Don’t you think it’s time to step down sir?” one of them presses further. “When will there be change in Zimbabwe?”

Zimbabwean intelligence boss, Happyton Bonyongwe, who is seen walking in front of Mugabe, pleads with one of the reporters to stop asking difficult questions, saying “Aiwa, no, no, no, no, not here”.

However, Fayehun objects to the shoving taking place, protesting: “Don’t push me, sir”.

She continues asking a quiet but miffed Mugabe: “Don’t you think it’s time to step down sir? Can you say something? Do you think it’s time to step down? How is your health?”

Another male reporter asks, “Is President Mugabe going to step down so that he can rest? When will there be change in Zimbabwe? Will there ever be change in Zimbabwe one day?”

At that moment, the other security detail pleads with the reporters to stop asking questions.

“Pardon! Pardon! Mirai, mirai (stop, stop),” says the overwhelmed and confused security aide. Fayehun then says bemusedly: “I don’t have any idea what he is saying”.

“Is President Mugabe going to step down? When will there be change in Zimbabwe. Will there be a change in Zimbabwe just like we are having in Nigeria? Will you step down?” she continues with her questions.

“Is there democracy in Zimbabwe? It’s very, very sad. It’s about time to step down, it’s enough. Thirty something years and you came here to witness democracy. We want to come to Zimbabwe for inauguration as well. Invite us next time. We want to see democracy in Zimbabwe.”

An apparently peeved Mugabe tries to respond, but his aides tell him to get into the car and the reporters continue grilling Mugabe.

“There is no democracy in Zimbabwe. We can’t be changing in Nigeria alone. He is very old. Can someone be in power for 200 years,” Fayehun concludes.

The incident came after Zambians mounted a demonstration against Mugabe after the nonagenarian flew to Lusaka in late January for the inauguration of the country’s new president, Lungu, who enjoys a close relationship with Mugabe and who belongs to the late Michael Sata’s Patriotic Front ruling party.

What appeared to have irked the opposition in Zambia was that Mugabe flew to Lusaka even before the results of the tightly-contested polls had been announced, prompting fears that Lungu — who controversially came to see Mugabe in Harare late last year ahead of the election — may have worked with Zanu PF to rig the ballot.

As a result, hundreds of angry demonstrators — mostly supporters of the main opposition candidate, Hakainde Hichilema, of the United Party for National Development — repeatedly and animatedly chanted “Mugabe must go” slogans.

The two incidents offer rare cases of Mugabe being decampaigned on the continent at such large and public gatherings, as until now he has been relatively popular with youths across most of Africa for his strong pan-African rhetoric.

Just as has happened in the Nigeria incident, videos of the protests in Zambia were also posted on YouTube and have similarly been accessed by hundreds of thousands of people.

Analysts have said that the robust interrogation of Mugabe by the Nigerian journalists was not a major surprise after the nonagenarian caused a diplomatic crisis last year when he ill-advisedly called Nigeria a corrupt nation.

Maxwell Saungweme said: “If your neighbours, even very distant ones, tell you that you are now a bad father, it means your misdeeds are so conspicuous even for the blind to see.

“It’s sad to have the head of AU being humiliated like that. The fact that he continues to grace occasions where other African leaders are handing over power yet he is hanging on shows that he and his advisors are out of touch”.

Gladys Hlatywayo, a civil rights activist and political analyst, said the Nigerian incident showed that fellow Africans no longer expected the 91-year-old leader to be running the affairs of Zimbabwe.

“From what happened in Nigeria, the writing is on the wall,” she said. “Fellow Africans do not expect President Mugabe to continue in the driving seat. They expect him to rest. It seems the journalists in question were shocked to see him at an event that celebrated democracy when he epitomises authoritarian rule.”

Comments (33)

“The moment Mugabe arrived to the inauguration, he fell asleep. He was confused when we first encountered him because he had just woken up” - Bob has very expensive sleeping habits.

Galore 123 - 8 June 2015

The saddest this about our president's legacy is that the economy is failing in his farewell days. He had better crack the whip on those failing the economy through corruption and mismanagement. If he doesnt act fast the 2million jobs he promised will be 2million job lost

fulard - 8 June 2015

This journalist is an idiot,he thinks that a handful of wayward western activists who understand how to glean money and resources from the worst constitute what the whole of Nigeria and Africa feel about President Mugabe.If this journo calls roasting by less than ten gays and lesbens from Sahara,then what do we call the cheering and salutation of thousands of Africans every time the name of the president is mentioned at different forums...get a life

Baba Tadi - 8 June 2015

It is very embarrassing a head of state to be caught in such a state. Perhaps the two incidents serves to be a blessing in disguise for our nation. In a nation where protests and strikes are met with disdain, at least other African nationals are doing so on our behalf just to show the old man that much as he is resisted out there,back home we resist you too. It is a rude awakening. The old man is fearful to meet his own demons such at the demon of poverty and unemployment dotted across the cities of Zimbabwe. He wouldn't dare take a walk along the streets of Harare or any town for that matter. Sad reality.

pride - 8 June 2015

Baba Tadi, uri dofo simple question when is there going to be democracy not the guided democracy being imposed by zanu pf , kidnappings, biting poor people in Hurungwe, "When is there going to be democracy"?

Shane Mtizwa - 8 June 2015

Kkkkk baba tadi dofo kkkkkk kanhu aka kakura sha wona kutorara thru the inauguration this is embarrassing hauzvioniwo sei? No wonder urikunzi dofo

maiwe zimbabwe yacho - 8 June 2015

Here you are all this is a moving grave for you all to see , This person is no longer living naturally so he is taking too much drugs to keep going but at last he is drugged then sleeps every way any time . Very soon he is going to suza in front of journalists while in a deep slumber If they still some one out there supporting a person like so then they is a lot of sewage stuff in your heard , If Mugabe had a wife or caring children suwa they would have asked him to leave this job of president it is not of his age a long time ago Once more that sahara girl is a star journalist thank twaalumba Now motor mouth talk we are listening brulul . By the way this guy says he will contest in 2018 elections kkkkkkkkkkk dementy .

Diibulaanyika - 8 June 2015

@baba tadi Kasukuwere and Moyo must be part of those gays and lesebians you mention here kkkkkkkkkk haa . Every time whites whites white did they rost your balls as well ?kkkkkkkkkk chesa mpama!!!!!!!!!!.

Diibulaanyika - 8 June 2015

The hoards of Zanu pf praise singers and bootlickers are too stupid to be ashamed of this heroic neanderthal.

Mboozy - 8 June 2015

It should not take foreigners to push Bob out of office. The mistake Bob is making is he thinks he can cheat and bulldoze his way to other nat other nations the sameway he does to Zimbabweans. He forgets that his army and police upon whom he thrives only shoot as far as the Zimbabwean borders - no further than that. Proof: you listen to his security man shouting, " Aiwa and Mirai,mirai". They see people with black skins similar to theirs and think they are in Zimbabwe. To him and his men the way tghey handle fellow black people in Zimbabwe should be the same everywhere in Africa. The only people Mugabe is afraid are opeople with white skins. These he knows very well he cannot bulldoze. This leads me to my age old point: Mugabe would have been a good leader if only he was good to his fellow people. Unfortunately he treats his fellow Zimbabweans and other Africans without respect - he does not care a damn about their suffering. Those who are good at our mother languages or English cxan find a word to describe him for me. No insults please - the appropriate word only.

Masamba Akareyo - Tanganda - 8 June 2015

Well done to the Sahara journalists for tackling this delusional egomaniac, a man who still thinks the country will not function without him at the helm.

david taylor - 8 June 2015

Am very shamed to a handful,pple of Zimbwabwe who still support and think that Mugabe is the only one to rull this country i fill pit those who still persisting in supporting him are thief's ho needs to take advantage of mudhara Robbie. Ngavachizorora zvanyanya guys hinga vafana varimo wani muZANU takutonyarawo nesu kwavanoenda kwose vachiitwa kunge mwana mudiki

fireman - 9 June 2015

Am very shamed to a handful,pple of Zimbwabwe who still support and think that Mugabe is the only one to rull this country i fill pit those who still persisting in supporting him are thief's ho needs to take advantage of mudhara Robbie. Ngavachizorora zvanyanya guys hinga vafana varimo wani muZANU takutonyarawo nesu kwavanoenda kwose vachiitwa kunge mwana mudiki

fireman - 9 June 2015

Thank you sister from Sahara TV for exposing this tyrant. He thinks he can continue lying to the whole world that everything is ok in Zimbabwe. Reuben Barwe, take a leaf from sister Adeola Fayehun . That is journalism at its best kwete kubvunza zvawanzi bvunza chete.

Dr. Amai - 9 June 2015

we lack respect not only for our sitting head of state but any other zimbabwean who aspires to lead the country. tsvangirai, hatidi, mujuru hatidi, biti worse, makoni kwete, mnangagwa bodo, mugabe hanzi akurisa: Zvino ndiyani watinoda hama woye? we do not have respect for the president and by default we disrespect ourselves. i don't think there is any other nation on the earth that ridicules its leader like we do. i wait to see who our unanimous choice would be. as of now its confusion.

taurai - 9 June 2015

That is the Zimbabwean leader. This is why there is so much corruption in Zimbabwe the leader is fast asleep and can only wake up at vote rigging.

Lethal Kamudhosvo - 9 June 2015

That pic is priceless. Waneta muharahwa uyu. What is it about him & clinging on to failing rule? That is one question which boggles my mind and has never been answered. The same question goes to Nkurunziza of Burundi, why would he rather let Burundi fall into a civil war than him stepping down from power?? It's embarrassing and shameful for bob to still be a pres @ 91 years old...he is an egrerious dictator, greedy and murderous...the last episode on House of Cards described him very well...hameno, cry the beloved country with so much potential but with a very incompetent leadership..

obama4ever - 9 June 2015

Hama dzangu, we need to leave these Nigerians alone. If we engage them into a war of words I can assure you, they will humiliate us. Lets just discuss these issues amongst ourselves. Ndapota. We have a country with people to protect.

dzidzo - 9 June 2015

Looking forward to the next episode of this Mugabe idiot demise ie one way to HELL.

ERNG - 9 June 2015

It's pitiful that Zimbabwe is still littered with remnants of the Durasic period like ana baba Tadi. Honestly speaking be objective about your goals for your undying love of a dictator,murderer,wife snatcher Mugabe

ERNG - 9 June 2015

Were we not right in saying these born frees lack basic patriotism and can sell out just for biscuits and lolly pops? Last time they cheered Okocha now they are cheering this .... young girl from there. Shall we conclude by saying Nigerians have bewitched our young though literate population. How on earth can you support a foreigner humiliating your own father?

jonsina - 9 June 2015

Manje nzvee. THAT PICTURE IS A FILE FOTO FROM SOME OTHER TIME NOT THE INAUGURATION. Check the suit he is wearing on the day of the harassment by the Nigerian pro western activists!

noyhing but the truth - 9 June 2015

sure @jonsina, its pathetic that one laughs at their father with strangers. kushaya hunhu ubuntu. chawanikwa weye - zero, note, nothing. mugabe is still traveling around the globe despite people's wish for his death. ngatiiteyi hunhu hama.

taurai - 9 June 2015

If you are still sympathizing with Mugabe your heard is full of sewage stuff . Nothing else can be said of you . Shame on you border gezi lessons pumped shiit into your skopo . Suwa how do you justify your support of someone who has destroyed former number 2 economy in africa to the country poorest in the world without its own currency ,

Diibulaanyika - 9 June 2015

Whether the picture was not taken in Nigeria the bottom line is it was taken while Mugabe was sleeping at a public gathering he was not in his bedroom kkkkkkkkk chikilipiti choso chaunaite manhu vano wona ava chesa mpama kkkkkkkkkkkk

Diibulaanyika - 9 June 2015

no matter how much you may hate Mugabe the people of Africa and its leadership love him to bits! just for interest sake how many Nigerian so called journalist have a square inch of productive land to farm for themselves and their families? come to zim we will show you thousands land owners!!!!!!

critic - 10 June 2015

@diibula you are also a morgan apologist isn't it so. at any given opportunity you prop up the guy who according to many others has failed to lead his party to success despite the failings of zanu pf. even with the advantage of ptotest votes, morgan failed to take advantage of the situation and land the job of president of zim. mugabe has his ills while your morgan is a huge failure as well.

taurai - 10 June 2015

morgan is a handiende. there is no difference. he altered the party constituion so that he can do a handiende. a dictator in the making.

zvirozviyedzwa - 10 June 2015

Nigerians you are full of nonsense. while you think you are forwarding Zimbabweans rights you are not. Why not leave Zimbabwe's problem to Zimbabweans. The problem with this type of journalism is you have been paid to do that, however it does not work because Nigerians journalists will never cast a vote in Zimbabwe. You have military leaders for a number of years now, that you have that inaguration then you think you think you are wise men from the east. if you respect Zimbabweans rights you also must respect their decision to be ruled by Mugabe. some you say Mugabe impose himself, whatever you mean Zimbabweans never fight as was in Egypt, and other African countries ,yours included given the fact that you have suffered in the hands of Boko Haran. this only meant Zimbabweans have conserted. control your mouth you silly bitch

Calven Mufote - 11 June 2015

Mugabe will rule until we let him go.Long live Gushungo.Daily nuisance you are wasting your time resources,any way its not your money your being sponsored just like your useless MDC

cobra - 11 June 2015

cobra uri mboko nanzva matako amugabe.MuCIO akaneta brain pfutseke.

Chitsiga - 12 June 2015

omoyele sowele publisher of the sahara is a disgrace does she really know the meaning of democracy the pocketing of foreign currency to line up pockets of the rich why is it difficult for nigerians to find fuel in a country where oil was discovered in 1956 all those coups my suggestion to omoyele she must fit into a polygamous marriage as a journalist and gossip leave us zimbabweans alone

mkabayi gumede - 12 June 2015

It is funny that the people who like to show Mugabe being praised everywhere, don't want to show him being jeered or opposed. Fact is Mugabe cannot be supported by everyone. The Nigerians were not bad at all. They asked relevant questions, about presidential term limits and succession. Mugabe is not young, I saw him fail to take off some speakers on his ears at the AU summit. He is wasted and the sooner he leaves, the better for Zim and Africa

Phaphamani - 13 June 2015

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