By Sij Ncube
HARARE, September 15, 2015 – PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe on Tuesday suffered a major embarrassment after his minders made him read an old speech at the official opening of the 8th session of the third parliament, a development analysts said confirms his administration is out of touch with reality owning to advanced age and suspected poor health.
Live radio and television broadcasts were suspended prior to his speech delivery amid allegations of censorship.
There were claims his handlers ordered a black-out in fear of Mugabe being heckled and embarrassed by MDC-T legislators as was the case two weeks ago when they shouted him down.
But the 91-year of Zanu (PF) leader was made to repeat a speech he read two weeks ago when he delivered his state of the nation address, just omitting the 10-point economic plan he envisages would a panacea to the country’s economic quagmire.
The delivery was set aside 30 minutes into his old prepared speech, forcing his spokesman, George Charamba, who doubles up as the secretary for New Media and Broadcasting Services, to apologise profusely to the media.
“There has been a mix-up of speeches resulting in a situation where his Excellence the President delivered the wrong speech. The mix-up happened in his secretariat office therefore the delivery in Parliament should be set aside. The error is sincerely regretted and corrective measures are being considered,” said Charamba.
But critics blamed the episode on lethargy in his office because dilatory supervision as a result of advanced age and ill-health. The critics said the incident gave assertion to opposition that it is high time Mugabe rested.
“When such things are happening, it’s us citizens who are at fault. How do we allow such an old man to preside over the affairs of the state? This old man must be allowed to rest. This is not on,” commented political analyst Gladys Hlatywayo.
Prior to Mugabe’s attendance in parliament, MDC-T legislators alleged they had received death threatens from suspected state law enforcement agents advising them against heckling Mugabe.Harare West legislator Jessie Majome said she received a death threat at 1013hrs and another one at 1135hrs on her Econet line from ‘Death’ saying ‘Warning!! Immunity ends in Parliament. If you step outside you become an ordinary citizen. Do the wise thing and not disturb proceedings in Parliament’
Fellow opposition MDC T legislators Amos Chibaya, Prince Sibanda, Innocent Gonese, James Maridadi and Prosper Mutseyami also got the threats which the legislator said were aimed at preventing Mugabe from being heckled during his address to open the 3rd Session of this 8th Parliament.
“I suspect I’m being targeted for politely demanding the constitutional state of the nation address,” she said.
After Mugabe’s address, she posted of her Facebook page: “It’s over. I was distracted by the death threat and hardly heard the opening address laying out the legislative agenda. I’ll have to read it from my copy at the papers’ office,” not knowing it was an old speech