President Robert Mugabe should come to terms with the “sad reality” that he has reached the sunset of his reign and hand over power to a more energetic person for Zimbabwe to recover economically, opposition and civic groups have said.
Source: Mugabe must go: Opposition – NewsDay Zimbabwe March 3, 2017
BY XOLISANI NCUBE/OBEY MANAYITI
Mugabe flew to Singapore on Wednesday morning for what his spin-doctors said was a “scheduled medical review”, leaving the country burning with the health sector ground to a halt due to a debilitating strike by doctors and nurses over better working conditions.
The 93-year-old leader last week vowed he was not going anywhere despite showing signs of tiredness. He also attacked top Zanu PF officials embroiled in factionalism to choose his successor, saying only the people would decide.
Zanu PF is split into two rival camps –Team Lacoste, reportedly linked to Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa, and G40, a clique of party members supporting First Lady Grace Mugabe – vying to take over power from the President.
The Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC-T, other opposition parties and civic groups yesterday said Mugabe should accept the reality that his political career had come to a close.
MDC-T spokesperson Obert Gutu said Mugabe’s retirement was long overdue.
“At the ripe old age of 93, Mugabe is anything, but a young man. He needs to rest. He needs to take it easy,” Gutu said.
“During his birthday bash that was recently held in Matobo, he looked jaded, weak and tired. He was frothing profusely. Surely, that can’t be a sign of someone who is enjoying good health.”
He said it was painful that Mugabe, as usual, opted to be treated outside Zimbabwe when doctors and nurses in the country were on strike.
“While doctors and nurses are on strike in Zimbabwe, Mugabe is not bothered one iota. When was the last time he visited Harare Central Hospital or Mpilo Central Hospital in Bulawayo just to see for himself the condition of these two public health institutions?” Gutu queried.
“He is not bothered. Right now, Mugabe has been evacuated to Singapore to seek medical treatment while our own public health institutions are running short of essential drugs and medicines.”
Doctors and other support staff at public hospitals have been on strike demanding their bonuses and a better working environment. Nurses and midwives this week joined the strike, bringing the country’s health sector to its knees.
Tajamuka/Sesjikile spokesperson Promise Mkwananzi said Mugabe had to accept that he was no longer fit to run the country.
“The brutal truth that has now become a public secret is that Mugabe should go. The sooner he realises that his health condition and age cannot allow him to be anywhere near State power, the better for him and his family,” Mkwananzi said.
“The President is committing a crime, human slavery of his body, when it is evident that he can’t take it anymore. His health cannot take him any far and those pushing for his stay in power should feel pity that this man is now beyond an old man.”
He added: “As a country, we cannot continue to be funding his flights to and from Singapore while government business is made to be at a standstill. He should rather retire now and stay there in Singapore until such a time when he has recovered fully.”
Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association spokesperson Douglas Mahiya said Mugabe and his inner circle were holding Zimbabwe hostage by refusing to step down even when the going was beyond their ability.
“Zimbabweans are only being held to ransom by those people who are around the President, those who are around the corridors of power and this is what is causing things not to change. What is happening now is a total breakdown.
There is a challenge of economic mismanagement,” Mahiya said.
People’s Democratic Party spokesperson Jacob Mafume said Mugabe should rest and appoint a successor in his party so that he could concentrate on his health while allowing Zimbabwe to “breathe from the yoke he has bound them to”.
“Being old is a blessing to any society, but for Mugabe and those close to him, it is turning to be a curse,” Mafume said.
“His state of health and his desire to continue being the country’s President are contradictory. It is time someone told Mugabe that he is old and needs to rest. No matter how much he would want to rule Zimbabwe, he can only go this far. He is now tired.”
The Vendors’ Initiative for Social and Economic Transformation (Viset) also demanded that Mugabe be considerate the poor people who were dying at public health institutions while he enjoyed “exotic” health facilities in the Far East.
“Vendors are being treated in this country and we expect the President to be treated in this country as well,” Viset leader Samuel Wadzai said.
“We know he is not the only one who is doing this, almost half of his ministers are doing that and this is wrong, it is immoral.”