Should he stay or should he go? The Mugabe question

There has been growing speculation over Robert Mugabe’s capacity to complete his term, given his advanced age and health problems. At 95, he will be the oldest president in Africa, and has been in power since independence in 1980.

The Zimbabwean spoke to people on the streets of Mutare.

Solomon Gwaku from Dangamvura said: “He is too old to rule. Mugabe will do well as an advisor to young leaders. It is no coincidence that in all the richest and most powerful nations in the world today, from China to America, from Germany to Britain, their leaders are less than 55 years of age.

“The role of elderly statesmen and politicians like President Mugabe, Mandela and Kaunda is to retire in peace and advise the young leaders of their time,” he added.

Charity Takawira from Greenside believes it is impossible for Mugabe to continue ruling.

“Is it possible at 90 years, at 91, 92, 93, 94 and 95 — to rebuild this country? It’s surprising there are people who are still saying forward with Mugabe,” she said.

Also doubtful was Isaiah Shirichena, who said Mugabe had now become too old to rule the country in an effective manner.

“We are saying Zimbabwe now urgently needs younger politicians to effectively tackle the many problems facing the country,” he said, adding that it was disappointing when leaders hung on to power despite their advanced age.

He said: “If civil servants are forced to retire when they reach 65 years of age, it is imperative for political leaders to do the same.”

But Brian Hamadziripi from Sakubva said Zimbabwe was the best example in Southern Africa in terms of peace and stability because of Mugabe.

“It should not be forgotten that if the most powerful nations on Earth can cook up blatant lies against one man, President Mugabe, in order to remove him from power, it shows he is better than they and their evil political machinations, because he has his people at heart,” he said.

Hamadziripi added: “I am happy that President Mugabe has refused to be among some African leaders’ recruits who are agents of the globalisation of Western capital and massive exploitation of African resources.”

Shalom Musabayana from Palmerstone said Zimbabweans should draw lessons from the fact that Mugabe gave land to the people.

“Whites used to have larger portions of land and now we are happy that we are allocated land to do our farming. I am now a proud farmer and would like to thank President Mugabe for that,” she said.

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