‘ZIMBABWE @37, embracing ease of doing business ...' was the theme for this year’s independence celebrations which President Robert Mugabe totally embraced fully by ditching his 100-metre traditional walk for a ride.
The 93-year-old Mugabe this Tuesday rode across the National Sports Stadium pitch in his Zim 1 Mercedes limousine until a few metres before the Flame of Independence where the presidential security was ready to "slowly" help the nonagenarian onto the armoured ceremonial vehicle he uses to inspect the guard of honour.
After doing the rounds in the truck, his aides made sure he was safely seated in the VIP podium—in the process making sure to obstruct photographers. Then without any enthusiasm or energy, Mugabe read his speech, repeatedly going back over some misread lines.
And, unlike what had become characteristic of him at such national days of-late, Mugabe finished his speech without getting personal with his “enemies” within and outside the ruling Zanu PF party.
There was no salvo at disloyal war veterans. Instead Mugabe was conciliatory, encouraging Zimbabweans to be politically tolerant and embrace ideological differences while making sure he also reminded them of the armed struggle which brought self-determinism.
“We need to continue as true patriots, true sons and daughters of the soil, to continue that unity to ensure that we all belong to Zimbabwe regardless of our affinities whether they are religious or political,” he said.
According to the Zanu PF leader, the performance of agriculture, energy, tourism, education, local government, mining, SMEs and health sectors are evidence that ZimAsset is working.
He commended the Zimbabwe Defence Forces for relieving flood victims and the underprivileged.
Mugabe and the presidential grasshopper:
A grasshopper is seen on President Robert Mugabe as he inspects the guard of honour ...