President Robert Mugabe has been slammed over his decision to fly to Kenya amid deadly protests that have rocked the country.
Mugabe left for Nairobi on Friday to attend the sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (Ticad).
Prior to his departure, there were running battles between police and protestors — who were participating in the National Electoral Reform Agenda (Nera) mega demonstration demanding that Mugabe and his government fix the ailing economy and effect electoral reforms before the 2018 elections. Nera is a grouping of 13 opposition parties.
People’s Democratic Party (PDP) president Tendai Biti said 92-year-old Mugabe was “divorced from reality” and probably the only president in the world who would have the audacity to leave the country under the present circumstances.
“Zimbabweans live in their own world different to Mugabe’s which only exists in his mind. He doesn’t quite comprehend the fact that Zimbabweans are protesting because they are angry,” Biti told the Daily News on Sunday yesterday.
“Those in the medical fraternity will tell you that the condition is called reality distorted field. It is a condition in which one is divorced from the reality around him and Mugabe is now in that condition where he does not even understand the seriousness of the protesters and that Zimbabweans are angry hence there is a need to subject him to medical examination,” the former Finance minister said.
Joice Mujuru-led Zimbabwe People First (ZPF) spokesperson, Jealous Mawarire, described Mugabe as a selfish leader.
“We have observed in the past two years or so that Mugabe uses foreign travel as some form of escapism . . . meant to give him a break from the harsh realities emanating from his evidently failed administration,” he said.
He added that Mugabe’s penchant for foreign travel at a time his presence is most needed in the country has led to conclusions that “the trips are now part of the looting routes that the regime has devised for its president and his acolytes”.
“Why is it that at a time civil servants’ salaries are erratically paid, the only consistently funded government expenditure relates to the president’s foreign travel, even when the travels have absolutely no benefit to our bilateral relations with the visited States or investment opportunities derived from the same?”
Before leaving the country, Mugabe insisted that his government had not done anything wrong, heaping the blame for the country’s economic situation at the door step of Western countries instead.
“Even if our economy is not doing well, do you have to go in the streets and even burn some of those very little shops that people are depending on? Burn their cars in the streets, burn their shops, do you have to do that? To gain what? To gain power?” Mugabe asked rhetorically during a press briefing before his departure.
Political analyst Maxwell Saungweme said Mugabe and his Zanu PF party seemingly contemptuous attitude towards the grievances of Zimbabweans was because “the regime is in denial”.
“Change is here and the earlier they smell the coffee the better. Otherwise they will go the way many such regimes have gone,” he said. daily news