Zimbabwe’s 91-year-old President Robert Mugabe read out an old speech at the opening of parliament without seeming to notice, an error which the main opposition quickly used to question whether Africa’s oldest leader was still of a sound mind.
Mugabe, the only ruler the southern African nation has known since it was recognised in 1980, delivered the same speech he gave on August 25, pinning his hopes on China to help revive Zimbabwe’s struggling economy.
Mugabe finished the speech without interruption and his spokesman blamed officials, adding the president would read the correct speech at a later date.
“The mix-up happened in his secretarial office. Therefore the delivery in Parliament should be set aside,” spokesman George Charamba was quoted as saying.
But the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), which is critical of Mugabe’s long rule, said the blunder called into question his fitness to hold office.
Mugabe shows no visible signs of illness and has denied reports that he suffers from prostate cancer. He has dismissed a fall at Harare airport on April 4 as a slip.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved