R>A platoon of government’s shock troops, commonly known as green bombers, could be seen using thinners to scrub one such message inscribed on the plaque of an electricity sub station along the highway early Monday morning. The plaque read: “Mugabe Zvakwana Chienda! (Mugabe we have suffered enough. Go now!)” while others on nearby rock read: “Zanu (PF) Zvakwana. Enough is enough” and “Mugabe – From Hero to Zero.”
Overwhelmed by the number of the giant graffiti messages, most of which were inscribed on building, durawalls and billboards, the green bombers resorted to blanking them out using placards bearing pro-government messages.
Scores of vegetable vendors who were force-marched by the Zanu (PF) youths from Mbare Musika to the Heroes Acre to listen to Mugabe were lined up along the highway with placards praising the 82-year-old leader.
In a speech full of hardline rhetoric and aggressive anti-Western sentiments, President Mugabe fired a broadside at millions of Zimbabweans fleeing his misrule and taking sanctuary in the North Atlantic bloc.
“Iwe unotendeuka uchitiratidza gotsi zuva ranhasi, pako ndepapi? Iwe mutema anomhanya, hezvo semumvana wenguruve. Kutiza nyika yako wakananga uko Ngirandi.
Unozivikanwa nani ikoko? Kunova muranda kune nyika yevamwe! Hezvo mava kutinhwa semombe wani kuti dzokerai kwenyu. Munofanira kuyeuka kuti zuva ranhasi rakakupai nyika yamuri kuramba,” Mugabe said in apparent reference
to the forced deportation of hundreds of failed Zimbabwean asylum seekers by the British government.
A spokesman of the main wing of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said Mugabe’s “ignorance and arrogance” about the issues affecting the country was “encyclopaedic.”
“Mugabe is the foremost reason why we have this brain drain,” said MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa. “Mugabe is the author of the exodus. It’s an insult for him to start attacking and denigrating them.”
Chamisa said many Zimbabweans had little to celebrate as they marked Heroes Day – the annual remembrance of the liberation from white rule in 1980.
despicable underhand dealings which only worsen the agony of our people and further delay our economic policy reforms,” Mugabe said, adding that knocking off three zeros from the country’s currency was just the beginning of a revolution that will strengthen the country’s tattered currency.
In pointed remarks targeted at Botswana, Mugabe lashed out at “neighbouring countries” that have spoken out against Zimbabwe’s state-driven economic collapse.
“We hear useless characters condemning us from neighbouring coutries, vamwe vasingagoni kana kurima (some of who can’t even farm),” Mugabe said in thinly veiled attack on Botswana, which Harare often accuses of being a pawn for the US.
But Chamisa said it was typical for “dictators” to be hostile to divergent views.
“The attack on Botswana defies international logic,” Chamisa said. “It is typical of all dictators to choose to listen to their own voices and assemble constituencies of praise singers and bootlickers. He is not happy with those who are in solidarity with the people of Zimbabwe. Mugabe is trying to assassinate progressive voices of reason.”
Mugabe demanded that his political opponents repent before they can expect to hold talks with the government on tackling the country’s deepening crisis.
Pro-senate MDC secretary-general Welshman Ncube said Mugabe was the one who should seek forgiveness for the deaths of 3,000 opposition supporters.
Mugabe admitted failure of his agrarian reform saying government now wanted to repossess land allocated to new black farmers who had shown that they had little or no aptitude for farming.