PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe’s speech on Tuesday at the National Heroes Acre was full of hot air and once again failed to address the real issues, which have not only been raised by #ThisFlag founder Pastor Evan Mawarire and #Tajamuka/Sesjikile, but also by groupings in his own party like the Zanu PF youths and war veterans.
Candid Comment, Faith Zaba
Mugabe’s speech at the burial of former chief secretary in the Office of the President and Cabinet Charles Utete at the National Heroes Acre concentrated on attacking the protest groups as if they are the cause of Zimbabwe’s myriad economic problems.
He focused on Mawarire because he could not offer any solutions to the current economic crisis engulfing the country. He ignored the real issues facing Zimbabweans such as growing poverty, rising unemployment, company closures, a debilitating cash crisis, rampant corruption and human rights abuses.
Unbelievably, Mugabe even sought to mislead the public, claiming that Mawarire is advocating for violence, when he has been on record calling for peaceful stay-aways in protest against government’s mismanagement of the economy.
“You can’t urge people to adopt violence, violent demonstrations as the way of life or a way of solving grievances, no. We say no, forever no,” Mugabe said on Tuesday
“The Mawarires, if they don’t like to live with us, let them go to those who are sponsoring them, to the countries that are sponsoring them.”
Who is the president trying to fool by blatantly lying to the nation on a well-documented issue?
In his videos, Mawarire has called for “peaceful protests to hold our government to account”. He has emphasised peaceful demonstrations so as not to provoke the repressive police, which is exactly the opposite of what Mugabe told his supporters at the national shrine.
Mugabe must remember that gone are the days when people relied solely on government propaganda outlets, the state media, for information.
What is telling about Mugabe’s comments is that he is not dealing with the cause of the crisis. He is just concentrating on peripheral issues, totally ignoring the pertinent ones like the multi-faceted economic problems bedevilling the country.
With the protests that have erupted around the country in the past three weeks, people expected his speech to at least touch on the issues ordinary Zimbabweans are raising. As long as Mugabe is still president, people expect him to do his job, which means dealing with issues affecting ordinary people.
As we have repeatedly said, if Mugabe cannot do his job he must just resign. He must stop pointing fingers. No one believes the tired mantra that sanctions or the West are behind the crisis the country faces. Zimbabweans do not need the West to tell them that they are unemployed, impoverished and cannot access their hard-earned cash from banks.
As a former United States president Abraham Lincoln said: “You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.”