Give the man a break...

HARARE - My first sight of the front-page picture of President Robert Mugabe on the the Daily News last Monday made me take a second look: What had they done to the man?

Well, it was not a cartoon. It was a genuine photograph of a man sitting down and sort of sleeping his head off.

He was more than sleeping — he was in “Slumberland”.

You could fire a shotgun in the air next to his ear, but I doubt if it would have opened any of his eyes or shake a nerve.

Much has happened to the country and to Mugabe himself for ordinary people not to wonder what had happened to him.

What has changed him?

Okay, he is an old man — by the time they are 91 most men have gone to the Happy Hunting Grounds.

But is this enough to reduce him to a such a sight?

The story told us he was attending a ceremony during which the newly-elected president of the Nigerian republic was being inaugurated.

Was this ceremony so boring it would send a man — even at 91 — to sleep? No, I decided.

That was not it. This man was very tired, bored and very old. He had absolutely no interest whatsoever in what was happening around him.

He looked determined to sleep until kingdom come.

As a human being, I felt deeply sorry for him.

This man was the president of my country.

On other occasions, he exuded the aura of power, the respect of a man of power, of the world, of love for his people and even for strangers, as long as they had no rifles pointed at him like Ian Smith’s Selous Scouts.

What had happened to him? What had his people done to him?

What had we journalists done to him, apart from criticising him?

Were there other events, preceding this one, which had caused him to change so drastically — his young wife and his party perhaps?

Had they called him names that had made him lose all hope in life?

Frankly, as a journalist who has known Robert Mugabe since he returned to his country in 1960, I was shocked.

Had he been overwhelmed by these recent challenges facing his party?

The likelihood of that being the cause of his state of mind was worth considering. Had he reached the end of the line?

Let them do what they wanted to do. He had no more interest in whatever they were planning. He was out of it. FINITO.

I have warned about the tragedy of Habib Bourguiba, the Tunisian leader who ended up in a mental house because he had lost all sense of direction.

An incident of relevant poignancy had him asking one Cabinet minister during a meeting: “Who are you? What are doing here?”

I admit the exact scenario was disputed by his supporters.

His enemies had cooked up the story — they claimed. But at the end of the day, they could not let the countryman be left in the hands a man like that.

No-one I know has spoken of such incidents in Mugabe’s Cabinet, although he and some of his colleagues have exchanged what amount to obscenities.

But the man being photographed in slumber in a foreign country would not be identified as Robert Gabriel Mugabe, at his most normal.

Something dangerous had happened to him.

We need to know what — NOW.

Comments (8)

All systems are failing at the same time - irretrievably. It can only become worse. I am yet to hear of anyone who defied nature. Kushaya chikoro ndikokunovanetsa vakuru vedu ava. Vakafunda vanoteerera.

Masamba Akareyo - Tanganda - 12 June 2015

vatsvangirai havateerei as well. if you oppose him you will be purged as well. he has gone past his legal 3 terms tenure and had to fix the mdc t constitution so he could overstay. both man are the same.

zvirozviyedzwa - 12 June 2015

I salute His Excellency, Honourable President R.G.Mugabe. He is typically examplary, a hardworking man, a dedicated cadre, a fundi......... its not the issue of aging that is carrying away his talent and role as a national leader but there are too many thieves behind him. God bless you Gushungo......

chamangwiza - 12 June 2015

To think, this old man is the very man who has killed, abducted, tortured, maimed, disrupted lives of millions, all because he believes he should rule. When will he sleep and never wake up!

JM - 13 June 2015

Zim doesnt deserve people who think like you fellow brother Chamangwiza.we dont develop with bootlickers but progressive minds.God didnt create only one man to rule Zim 91 years ago,but rather a lot to replace in every generation.Our story here is we have people who think they are invincible driven by their ambitions and agendas.Noone is greater than Zim.we may do whatever we do but there is one and only truth we can not fight age.all these when we are talking about have done their country great but they should simply understand that Zim should come first and its for its all sons and daughters to determine its destiny

carson macate - 14 June 2015

Mugabe and zanu are holding the people and nation hostage. Someone must man up and tell him to go home and rest. Unfortunately, no one will dare because they are all pretenders

pride - 15 June 2015

It is highly unlikely that someone is forcing the old man to be what he has become. He has arrived at his desired end state i.e. Political domination and leadership of Africa! What else is there for him but to sleep?

Okech - 16 June 2015

What most people fail to appreciate is beyond apprehension. Without just parroting about Mdhara this or mdhara that, Mugabe is a gift unto us from God. Period. There is no comparison. He is undoubtedly unique in his ways. Most fail to master his desire for human kind. The poor. The rural flocks. The uneducated. The povo as they were once known or called. What ever reason people hate Mugabe is so out of envy than real hate. Hate groups are obviously something can only be explained and understood by themselves. These are groups or individuals whose brains have been tainted by hurt they fail to appreciate the goodness of having mdhara Bob around. Above all, like it or not, hate it or not, God bestows power and removes it. He gives power into capable hands. Its therefore not coincidence that Zimbabwe is where it is now due to our being a blessed country. Its not any man's ability to do or not do this in the case of Zimbabwe. Therefore, many factors need be examined which obviously need time and a lot of space to enable expatiation of the many relevant points. One stands out thought needing mentioning, and is definitely for the goodness of ordinary Zimbabweans. The once forgotten lot but for the past 15 years or more, now at the centre or at the heart of the President. Them and Empowerment. Opposing forces refuse to acknowledge this for obvious reasons. The making and or coming up of a strong rural middle class. Never witnessed in any country ever in the history of men, to the same extent and with the same genuineness as is in Zimbabwe. This requires open heads and open brains. Requires an ability to see things in a 3 dimensional format and also requires brave hearts free from wasteful egos. Our President will go at the right moment. Only God knows. For those of us who cherish him, let us enjoy him while we can. For such a gift is what makes us who we have been and are.

Chirirangoma - 19 June 2015

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