Monday, July 08, 2013

(NEWZIMBABWE) Tsvangirai an ‘ignorant’ man: Mugabe
Tea buddies ... Morgan Tsvangirai and Robert Mugabe share rare light moment
27/06/2013 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has described Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai as an “ignorant man” but, perhaps to soften the blow, told the MDC-T leader that he had his sympathies.

Mugabe delivered his unedifying assessment of the premier in an interview he gave a Namibian newspaper before leaving the country this week for what officials described as a “routine” medical check-up in Singapore.

Asked to comment of the MDC-T leader’s decision to challenge, in court, his proclamation for elections to be held on July 31, Mugabe said: “I sympathise with his ignorance. He is an ignorant man. That’s not what a Prime Minister should do, that’s not what even the President should do.

“There are lawyers that can represent us if there is a point of dispute and the need to appeal on that point. There are lawyers that can do it for us. And, for a whole Prime Minister to … we don’t even want to talk about it; it’s disgraceful, absolutely disgraceful.”

Tsvangirai has arguably proved to be the biggest challenge to Mugabe’s lengthy stay in power since the formation of the MDC party in 1999.

Over the last four or saw years however, the bitter rivals have shared power in an uneasy coalition and, according to the MDC-T leader, regularly shared a cuppa every Monday, probably giving Mugabe a privileged view of the man who would replace him as President.

Meanwhile, in the interview Mugabe, who turned 89 this year, hinted at possible retirement after the elections, but insisted he would only consider the prospect once he was satisfied that his Zanu PF party held power without sway and that Western attempts to reverse the country’s revolution had been defeated completely.

“I will retire someday but I can’t say I’m going to an election in order to retire. People will say, ah, we can’t vote for your retirement, we are voting for you to rule. That will be decided as and when the situation demands,” he said.

“But … we had to demonstrate to the West that it’s not you who should instruct us to stand down, ha, regime change does not work. Who are you to want our regime to change?”

“So, it was mainly because of that, to demonstrate that and also to hold on, so my party could be together because sometimes when you get voices from Europe like that there are some people, in the party, who begin to worry, to shiver and so on and so forth.

“But we said no, we fought them yesterday you see, we can fight them again. We won’t collapse and we didn’t collapse, we will remain and remain with the leadership they don’t want. That’s it, we were defiant. It was a defiant campaign in a way.

“But we will settle down and naturally we should allow power to transfer. But we must be assured that when we transfer that we are well united and we have in-built strength within the party.”

Zimbabwe is readying for new elections to replace the coalition government this year but Mugabe and Tsvangirai are divided over the timing of the poll with the MDC-T leader challenging his rival’s July 31 date at the Constitutional Court.

Tsvangirai says more reforms are needed to ensure a credible poll and, particularly, cites the need to “realign” the country’s security services, the top echelons of which are seen as fiercely pro-Mugabe and Zanu PF.

Mugabe however, told his rival to be careful.
“You don’t play with the army that way,” he said.

“Every one of the commanders from the police, air force, army, then combined forces, prison service, they all are commanders deriving from the struggle. All of them, they fought the struggle. Tsvangirai ran away from the struggle. He actually ran away!

“And they (security services chiefs) are the protectors of the nation, you cannot tamper with an army, we put it together for that matter, including the Rhodesians, battalions that is Zanla and Zipra plus Rhodesians and that’s what we have now; it’s an army we rely on.”
How he has lived long

“Despite my age, it’s politics that keeps me ticking. It gives me life to me when I think that they are people who would want to, you see, to undermine our revolutionary gains then my whole life comes and I get something telling me no, no, no, no, no, no, no you can’t retire, we will give you more time to fight the enemy

“It’s just the zeal to fight but, of course, to tell the truth, it also has to do with the gift which you derive from your parents. If you have got a strong body the elements that make for long life, well and good.

“So it’s the genes, I suppose. Our parents, our parents were healthy parents. Healthy parents beget healthy children, by and large and children look after themselves. There is a bit of that also on my part, I don’t drink, I don’t smoke and I have annual checks on my health and so on. So, I keep going, I know what to eat and what not to eat. Where I used to eat lots of beef, beef, beef, my late wife used to call us meaters.

“You know, she was Ghanaian, she would say you Zimbabweans are meaters, you like lots of meat, for short — meat eaters — meaters. And, we said because they rely on fish, much more on fish. Namibia its beef and fish, it’s a combination. So, that’s that, but you can’t eat too much of it, there comes a time when you feel, you know, you should take less, less protein and the doctors tell you that also.”
Any Hobbies?

“Hobbies, I used to play tennis some-time ago that used to be my hobby, but I don’t play any games anymore, I exercise every-day. But, I had no hobbies, not even tsoro dzataitamba, oh sorry, I’m talking in Shona, not even the game of draughts, yes, even the European draught, we used to play that in prison quite a lot.

“I used to be very good at that. I didn’t play the more complex one, chess, oh! That one, someone tried to teach me, but I didn’t master it well. It’s a good game, a very intellectual game, a political game. You train to counter your opponents.”

Dietary habits

“I don’t know whether it’s lots of dishes but she makes, she doesn’t take beef anymore. She likes fish, so we normally have fish dishes although waiters can do with beef. The kids like beef. It’s mainly fish nowadays and we don’t have fish so Namibia should be sending us lots of fish! She likes the rare one - rare fish (found) in Namibia, down there . . . oh, the Alfonsio, she likes that. But we don’t get it anymore, but it’s a beautiful fish, I think it’s the most beautiful.

“But otherwise its prawns, sea fish most of the time, but we eat just normal African food. Rice, yes, we try the dishes that we have tasted elsewhere, even foo foo, we do foo foo from Ghana because my late wife used to do it. So, its inherited as one of the dishes, the children like foo foo quite a lot. It’s the pounded cassava or yam.”

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