Monday 20 November 2017

Mugabe Goes Off Script And Fails To Resign During Rambling TV Speech After Being Persuaded To Cling On By A Trusted Catholic Priest

Mugabe goes OFF SCRIPT by failing to resign during speech
Robert Mugabe sensationally failed to resign as he spoke from the Zimbabwean capital of Harare on Sunday, and his opponents have since said he went off script. Sitting alongside generals who have been keeping him under house arrest since Wednesday, the 93-year-old boldly vowed to fix problems within the ruling Zanu PF party himself rather than hand power to ousted vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa. The party, however, has sacked him and mass demonstrations on Saturday called for him to step down after the army seized power earlier in the week. Today, a minister told reporters  'The old man is either a sly fox or a mad dog. Whichever one he is, we must be careful not to get bitten.'

Zimbabweans are due to gather in central Harare for another day of demonstrations this morning, though these are likely to be filled with a sense of fury and betrayal rather than the jubilation seen on Saturday.
This morning there were claims that Mugabe decided to fight on after a trusted Catholic cleric persuaded him to break his hunger strike and take a shower. 
Aides of the Zimbabwean leader said that Mr Mugabe was in a state of psychological collapse yesterday, weeping and asking for his dead wife and son as his resignation looked certain. But after the intervention of Catholic cleric Father Fidelis Mukonori – who has been Mr Mugabe's closest friend and adviser for 40 years – Mr Mugabe received a 'new lease of life', the source said. 
Zimbabwe's Commander Airforce and Air Marshal Perence Shiri (left) arrives to shake hands with Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe (right) as Roman Catholic Priest Father Fidelis Mukonori (centre) stands next to them last night

Father Mukonori, who has been mediating between Mr Mugabe and the generals, was seen sitting at the dictator's left hand last night as the frail despot delivered his notorious speech in which he went off-script and failed to step down.
'The only man Mugabe trusts is Father Mukonori,' the aide told MailOnline. 'The old man was refusing to speak yesterday and Father Mukonori was the only person he would speak to.
'He told him he has to eat and wash for the sake of the country and himself and he managed to get through to him.'

Mr Mugabi and Father Mukonori have been close friends and trusted allies ever since the guerrilla campaign of the late Seventies which propelled Mr Mugabi to power.
The cleric – who as a religious figure could move around freely – would carry out Mr Mugabe's bidding in Zimbabwe while he was in exile in Mozambique.
When Mr Mugabe came to power, Father Mukonori was often seen by his side in public and was one of the few people in Zimbabwe who had direct access to the dictator.
He has been Mr Mugabe's most trusted adviser for more than 40 years and yesterday showed that he was the only man who could get through to the distressed dictator, the aide said.
After the speech, ministers and veteran leaders vowed to go ahead with impeachment proceedings against Mugabe, which were due to begin on Monday at midday if he failed to stand aside
Before the cleric's intervention, the disoriented 93-year-old had been 'wailing profusely' and saying that he wished he could speak to his dead wife, Sally Mugabe, who died of kidney failure in 1992, and his late son, Michael Nhamodzenyika, who died from cerebral malaria in 1966 at the age of three, the aide said.

He was constantly looking at an old photograph of Sally,' the aide said. 'But Father Mukonori managed to bring him back to life.' 
A Zanu-PF minister, who asked not to be named, also told MailOnline that the cleric has been successful in persuading the army generals to 'be lenient' on Mugabe.

'Father Mukonori has been selling out,' he said. 'He is supposed to be a neutral mediator but he has been playing double standards.
'He has been coming to the Zanu-PF and discussing sensitive things with us and then relaying everything directly to Mugabe.' 

This morning, Veterans leader Chris Mutsvangwa told journalists that plans for the dictator's impeachment would be moving ahead as planned on Monday. 
Mr Mutsvangwa, who is a figurehead of the campaign to remove the ageing dictator, had previously given him a deadline of midday to stand aside. 

'He won't last the week,' a senior Zanu-PF minister told MailOnline. 
Mr Mutsvangwa also vowed to hold streets protests in Harare on Wednesday amid fears that events could quickly turn to violence.
In his speech from the State House, Mugabe, who was wearing a dark suit and red tie, called for his nation to 'move forward'.

The announcement, which Mail Online understands was recorded earlier Sunday, attracted the highest viewing numbers for the national broadcaster, ZBC, since 1980 when the Zanu-PF won power. 

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