via Colonial relics galore as President opens Parliament – NewsDay Zimbabwe September 16, 2015
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe seems to have failed to shrug off his obsession with colonial parliamentary regalia despite his public spiting of anything linked to the West.
BY RICHARD CHIDZA
This was evident at the official opening of the third session of the Eighth Parliament yesterday when Mugabe arrived at Parliament Building chauffeur-driven in a century-old vintage Rolls Royce car.
Mugabe, donning a colonial presidential grandmaster’s medal and green military sash, made his way from State House in a long-winding procession that included some 29 policemen on horseback donning uniforms similar to those of the British South Africa Police.
Mugabe — who misses no opportunity to publicly denigrate Britain and its Western allies – arrived in a black Rolls Royce flanked by his wife Grace to officially set the legislative agenda for the coming session.
His long and colourful procession from State House arrived amid blaring music and the wailing sirens. Soon after his arrival, he inspected a guard of honour mounted by soldiers from the Presidential Guard, who had stood in the sweltering heat for almost an hour.
Just after Mugabe entered the House of Assembly, Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku and his contingent of Constitutional Court and Supreme Court judges followed closely behind as well clad in the colonial red gowns and off-white wigs called toupees – worn by barristers in Commonwealth countries.
Military generals followed closely behind.
Mugabe angrily withdrew Zimbabwe from the Commonwealth, a club of former British colonies, in 2003 following a public fall-out over human rights abuses, electoral theft, violence as well the land reform programme.
The usually buoyant Mugabe looked haggard and did not respond to his rancorous supporters’ praises and chants as he seemingly dragged what looked like heavy feet along.
Hordes of youths, women and members of the apostolic sect members sang Gabriel mutungamiriri (Gabriel the leader) in reference to Mugabe’s second name. Some shouted that Mugabe should rule forever.
Members of Zanu PF’s Mbare Chimurenga Choir also sang Mugabe’s praises and poked fun at the main opposition MDC-T’s bid to unseat the former guerilla leader in power since the end of colonial rule 35 year ago.
Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda ordered opposition MPs not to heckle Mugabe before declaring normal business suspended to give the President time to address both Houses in a joint sitting.
However, MDC-T chief whip Innocent Gonese raised a point of order notifying Mudenda that some opposition lawmakers had received “death threats from unknown people”.
“It is a matter of grave concern to us,” Gonese said.
Mudenda assured that he would attend to the issue after Mugabe’s address.