#SONA: Mugabe's 28 mins speech 'baffles' opposition

2016-12-06 20:25
Robert Mugabe (AFP)

Robert Mugabe (AFP)

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Harare – Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, 92, has drawn criticism from the opposition after he avoided pertinent issues affecting the majority of Zimbabweans during his State of the Nation Address on Tuesday.

The opposition said that the nonagenarian was "no longer fit to govern and must step down".

Most Zimbabweans, some of whom staged protests recently in several parts of the country, had expected Mugabe to focus on cash shortages prevailing in the southern African nation as well as the economic meltdown that has left millions of people jobless.

The country's central bank introduced a surrogate currency called "bond notes" last week in an attempt to ease a liquidity crunch that has resulted in many depositors failing to access their money from local banks.

Instead, Mugabe chose to focus on less important issues such as tourism and his chairing of the Southern African Development Community and the African Union.

Impeachment 

A Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) legislator, James Maridadi, told News24 that he was baffled by Mugabe's speech that lasted only 28 minutes.

Maridadi  said he had expected Mugabe to come up with a raft of austerity measures that would help in reviving the country's ailing economy.

"The president did not say anything meaningful and his address was an implicit admission of a monumental failure; he only came to show the nation that he still has the backing of security chiefs who saluted him as he entered parliament and nothing else," said Maridadi.

"For those 28 minutes I sat and did not hear anything that affects the lives of ordinary Zimbabweans. I now want to revive my impeachment motion because Mugabe has proved to us today that he is no longer fit to govern and he must do the honourable thing which is to step down immediately," he added.

While Mugabe blames the country's poor economic performance on the West, some economists blame the chaotic land reforms embarked on by his Zanu-PF government in 2000 for the country's economic downturn.

Corruption 

Former Zanu-PF provincial chairperson for Mashonaland West Province, Temba Mliswa, who won the ticket to parliament as an independent candidate recently, told News24 that it was "disgusting" that Mugabe did not touch on corruption that is rearing its ugly head within the rank and file of the Harare administration.

"It is surprising to see [Higher Education Minister] Jonathan Moyo coming to parliament today as he was absenting himself from the august house for fear of being arrested on corruption charges.

"Corruption is happening at Mugabe's doorstep and it appears the president is protecting corrupt people like Jonathan Moyo," said Mliswa.

The Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission accused Moyo of siphoning more than $400 000 from the coffers of the Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund to finance chiefs and traditional leaders in his Tsholotsho constituency. Moyo has however defended himself writing on his Twitter account that he was the "Robin Wood" of Zimbabwe. 

Meanwhile, Mugabe told parliament that his government was implementing structural reforms that include the abolition of "redundant and vacant non-critical posts" and rationalising duplication and overlaps of functions of line ministries.

Read more on:    robert mugabe  |  jonathan moyo  |  zimbabwe  |  southern africa

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