Mugabe Reads Wrong Speech at Parliament Opening

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Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe read the wrong speech at the opening session of parliament on Tuesday.

The 91-year-old leader repeated the same speech he gave on August 25, during his state-of-the-nation address, when he was heckled by opposition MPs. The ageing president read the speech from start to finish, seemingly unaware of the mistake, although it didn’t take long for his audience to notice, according to BBC reports.

A quiet audience

However, MPs had been warned in the build-up to the opening session of parliament that a repeat of last month’s heckles would not be tolerated. Six MPs from the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) are reported to have received text messages from a sender calling themselves “Death” prior to the speech:

“Warning: Immunity ends in parliament… act wisely by not disturbing the proceedings of parliament,” is the message one opposition MP has shown to reporters.

Calls for Mugabe to resign

Voices have been mounting in Zimbabwe that President Mugabe is no longer fit to act as president and the speech blunder has done little to help. The MDC has since called on Mugabe to “immediately tender his resignation,” claiming the mix-up shows the acting president is not fit to carry on his duties.

MDC spokesman Obert Gutu released a statement to address the speech blunder, claiming Mugabe’s retirement is overdue:

“The MDC would like to call upon Robert Mugabe to immediately tender his resignation and the President of Zimbabwe. This is a sure sign of senility and grossly failing mental and physical health,” he said. “Zimbabwe doesn’t deserve to be run by a nonagenarian president who, in fact, is long overdue retirement.”

Meanwhile, presidential spokesman George Charamba has explained a “mix-up” in the secretarial office lead to the president being handed the wrong speech and that corrective measures are being considered to prevent similar errors in the future.

 

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Robert Mugabe, 12th AU Summit, 090202-N-0506A-187” by U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jesse B. Awalt/Released – This Image was released by the United States Navy with the ID 090202-N-WR307-187 (next).This tag does not indicate the copyright status of the attached work. A normal copyright tag is still required. See Commons:Licensing for more information. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.