HARARE – Zimbabwe’s opposition on Monday congratulated President Robert Mugabe on the occasion of his 92nd birthday but described as regrettable, his continued cling to power, saying he should be enjoying the twilight of his life at home.
“The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) congratulates Robert Mugabe who turned 92 on Sunday for a long life. We also take note that although Mugabe should be enjoying the twilight of his life, it is unfortunate that instead, he has left a severe trail of destruction,” party spokesperson Jacob Mafume said in a statement.
He said it was unfortunate that the younger generation would have to clean up the mess created by the nonagenarian leader during his 36-year-old reign over the Southern African country, which he has ruled with an iron fist since independence from Britain in 1980.
Mafume said that at 92, Mugabe cut a lone figure in leadership (as) 100 percent of all men and women of his age had long retired and were enjoying their remaining years of life in comfort and sharing their lifelong wisdom with grandchildren.
“For an old worn out man of his age to be caught up in the raucous catfights for power that are in ZANU PF is a pity, it becomes horrific if the old man thinks he can solve the problems he has failed to in 36 long years that he has been in power,” he said.
He said when Mugabe took over the country in 1980, the GDP per capita was nearly $600 but had shrunk to $260.
“The manufacturing sector, which shows the level of industrialisation, contributed 22.1% of the GDP which was the second highest in sub-Saharan African after South Africa, but today the sector has shrunk to less than 10% of GDP.
“In 1980, industrial capacity utilisation stood at 83% but after 36 years of ruinous policies and lack of economic vision it is now less than 34%,” he added.
Mafume said social indicators showed a state in crisis, where a majority of the population was living on less than a dollar per day, with unemployment above 90 percent and almost 98 per cent of the country’s youths in the informal sector.
He said the biggest undoing for African countries was leaders who overstayed in power, adding that Mugabe was the “chief priest” of the evil sect of dictators which included Pierre Nkurunzinza of Burundi, Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, Idriss Deby of Chad, Paul Biya of Cameroon and Joseph Kabila of the Congo.
“It is therefore not surprising that these despots and their admirers across the continent shower Mugabe with praises as ‘a great leader’, less for any practical benefit he has brought to Zimbabwe but more for the enduring precedents he has set on how to cling to power up to the grave,” he said.
Africa News Agency