HARARE – President Robert Mugabe may have gone someway into solving the great mystery of the 2008 presidential election which saw the Zimbabwe Election Commission (ZEC) withhold results for over a month and state security operatives kill hundreds of opposition supporters ahead of a run-off election.
The commission packed with Mugabe loyalists released figures that showed opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai had won the election but without an outright majority and therefore a re-run was ordered.
But on Tuesday while addressing service chiefs and the new leadership of the war veterans association at the Zanu PF headquarters President Mugabe made a telling “Freudian slip” of the tongue when he said Tsvangirai had garnered 73 percent of the vote.
Before Mugabe could mention his own percentage, dozens of loyalists in the room interjected shouting 47%, 47%, 47%. Mugabe promptly took the cue and said Tsvangirai had garnered 47 percent while he got 43 percent of the vote.
But by then the damage had already been done. The 90 year old had let the proverbial cat out of the bag.
Psychologists describe what Mugabe experienced as a “Freudian slip”, named after famous psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud. This is defined as a mistake in speech that shows what the speaker is truly thinking.
Speech science experts says “the more the conscious mind (prefrontal cortex) wants to suppress a thought, the more the unconscious has to check to make sure we’re not thinking it; so we think about it more.”