Zimbabweans not hopeful ahead of Mugabe's #SONA

2016-12-06 12:09
File: AP

File: AP

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Harare - Will longtime Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe announce he's standing down in Tuesday afternoon's State of the Nation Address (SONA)? 

Pull the other one.

That at least was the gist of what many Zimbabweans were feeling ahead of the president's (delayed) state of the nation address at parliament at 14:30. 

That doesn't mean this speech won't be watched very keenly indeed.

After all, it was his SONA address that Mugabe, then 91, mucked up last year, determinedly rereading it at the opening of parliament in September. The embarrassing mess-up was later blamed on a secretary.

Naturally.

In a sign of just how seriously Zimbabwe takes security around the president and top officials, roads around parliament will be closed for two hours this afternoon, an official communique from the clerk of parliament Kennedy Chokuda reads.

The possibility of Mugabe standing down has been especially big in Zimbabweans' minds following the defeat of Gambian strongman Yahya Jammeh at the weekend and Angolan president Jose Eduardo dos Santos' surprise announcement that he will not seek re-election in 2017. Dos Santos has been in power one year longer than Mugabe, who assumed power at independence in 1980.

Commenting on Jammeh's electoral defeat (and apparent willingness to concede it), one Zimbabwean said on Twitter that it was "a feeling we will always imagine and dream of".

Mugabe was supposed to give this speech last week but he was in Cuba for Fidel Castro's funeral.

So if he's not announcing his retirement on Tuesday, what will the Zimbabwe president say?

Well, judging from previous SONAs, we can nearly guarantee there will be passing mention of (illegal) sanctions, drought and economic empowerment. It will be a speech with gravitas though: it's not normally a platform for fiery political outbursts.

Will he talk about bond notes? Now that would be interesting.

Read more on:    robert mugabe  |  zimbabwe  |  southern africa

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