Malema tells ‘old’ Mu­gabe to just let go

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - PETA THORNYCROFT

‘CAN’T CON­TROL A SPADE’: Pres­i­dent Robert Mu­gabe

JULIUS Malema has af­fec­tion­ately told Pres­i­dent Robert Mu­gabe to leave of­fice be­cause he is so old and is in dan­ger of de­stroy­ing his legacy.

“We like Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe… but we now need a new leader. Like (Fidel) Cas­tro, he must hand over power to other peo­ple,” Malema said at an EFF ple­nium in Braam­fontein on Mon­day.

He urged Mu­gabe, 93 next month, to step down as pres­i­dent. “Zim­babwe’s sit­u­a­tion is bad. Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe can’t even con­trol a spade. He is no longer ca­pa­ble of dis­charg­ing his re­spon­si­bil­i­ties,” said Malema.

“We don’t hate the man. They can re­spond and in­sult us any­how they want, but they are a group of cow­ards, those com­rades in Zanu-PF, to be scared to say to an old man like Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe, ‘please, with due re­spect, let go’,” he added.

“His over­stay is not do­ing jus­tice to the African rev­o­lu­tion pro­ject. He is de­stroy­ing his own legacy. We cel­e­brate Mu­gabe. We cel­e­brate what he has done and we will con­tinue his legacy but grandpa, it’s enough now. You must let go and al­low other peo­ple to con­tinue that legacy.”

Mu­gabe’s legacy, in­clud­ing health and ed­u­ca­tion, is in trou­ble. Fol­low­ing a drought last year, a third of the pop­u­la­tion in drier parts of the coun­try are fed by the Amer­i­cans – Zim­babwe never needed food aid and was an ex­porter of food for decades, un­til the 2000 land grab which also bankrupted the agri­cul­tur­ally de­pen­dent econ­omy.

Malema, who has met Mu­gabe, has also never men­tioned hu­man rights abuses un­der the Zim­bab­wean leader’s rule when thou­sands of op­po­si­tion sup­port­ers, loyal to lib­er­a­tion leader Joshua Nkomo were killed or fled to South Africa after gain­ing in­de­pen­dence in 1980.

Thou­sands of sup­port­ers of the then-new op­po­si­tion party, the Move­ment for Demo­cratic Change (MDC), were killed, tor­tured, ar­rested and forced from their homes, as the party nearly beat Zanu-PF in elec­tions in 2000.

Malema also blasted the MDC, say­ing it’s not an “al­ter­na­tive” in Zim­babwe.

“We are not even talk­ing about MDC. MDC is not an al­ter­na­tive in Zim. It’s an im­pe­ri­al­ist pup­pet that seeks to un­der­mine the le­git­i­mate land ques­tion in Zim­babwe. We are not aligned to any­thing that seeks to re­verse the land ques­tion, and we gen­uinely be­lieve that com­rades in Zanu-PF who are young can con­tinue,” Malema said.

“Julius Malema is a delu­sional pop­ulist and should never be taken se­ri­ously by any­one,” said MDC spokesper­son Obert Gutu. “I have watched his re­cent re­marks about Mu­gabe, and they mean noth­ing. He ap­pears to know noth­ing of how Mu­gabe has trashed this coun­try at ev­ery level.”

Mu­gabe’s spokesper­son, Ge­orge Charamba, could not be reached for com­ment. Mu­gabe is still on leave at the re­ported R500 000-a-month man­sion he rents in Dubai, a coun­try he vis­its sev­eral times a year. – For­eign Ser­vice

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