New Zimbabwe


Airport fall: Aged Mugabe must now step down, MDC-T

Accidental or telling … President Robert Mugabe stumbles at Harare airport Wednesday

by Chief Correspondent
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THE opposition MDC-T has demanded the immediate resignation of President Robert Mugabe with party spokesperson Obert Gutu saying the aging leader’s disgraceful tumble at the Harare airport Wednesday afternoon was evidence enough he was now too old for his job.

President Mugabe, 91, returned home from an AU trip in Ethiopia to a rapturous welcome from hundreds of his followers who were bussed to the airport to cheer him for landing the African Union chairmanship.

But his fortuitous tumble as he left the saluting dais from where he addressed the crowd has reignited debate over his suitability to continue leading Zimbabwe with his MDC-T rivals saying his delicate health condition was now a national security concern.

In an interview with Wednesday, Gutu said Mugabe should take his unfortunate collapse as a sign he must finally relinquish a job he has fervently protected from his rivals for decades.

“What this clearly shows is that Robert Mugabe is no longer fit for the presidency,” Gutu said.

“At age 91, we have always said this man is way past his time and that it is actually a tragedy of monumental proportions that Zimbabwe can be led by a nonagenarian of frail and failing health.

“The fact that he fell down at Harare international airport this afternoon is just but consistent with what to expect from a man of advanced age and also its quite indicative of the fact that he should immediately step down …

“…  since it is quite clear that he is not in a proper physical condition to continue to carry out the onerous duties that are ordinarily carried out by a head of state.”

The former deputy justice minister also called on the Zimbabwean strongman to search his conscience as an avowed patriot.

He continued: “If Robert Mugabe loves this country; if he was indeed a patriot, what he should proceed to do now is to immediately announce his resignation as the President of Zimbabwe.

“At age 91, that alone is a security issue. Where in the world have you come across a President of that advanced age running a country?”

It was however not immediately clear if Mugabe’s fall was due to age induced exhaustion or just an accidental trip up.

Mugabe’s spokesperson George Charamba, who has often laughed off claims his boss was unwell, was Wednesday not reachable for comment while Information Minister and government spokesperson Jonathan Moyo’s mobile continuously went unanswered.


For decades, the Zimbabwean President has defied the odds by putting up public impression of a strong and fit leader.

This was despite unconfirmed claims by the local press that he was nursing chronic ailment and was often on the plane to receive medical treatment in the Far East.

On his part, the combative leader has denied he was unwell, and on the eve of the July 2013 elections, steadfastly declaring to reporters that he was so fit that “I can box you”.

A controversial but popular Malawian prophet last year caused a stir when he “prophesied” that Mugabe’s “biological clock” was not going to tick beyond 2015.


Ever loyal … Some of the Zanu PF supporters who watched Mugabe fall

Cause to smile? … Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa

Backing the leader … Second vice president Phelekezela Mphoko

Before the dishonour … President Mugabe addresses supporters