Minister says Mugabe sleeps away at meetingsBy KITSEPILE NYATHI in Harare | Tuesday, August 28 2012 at 16:49
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe sleeps at crucial meetings and has become a liability for the country, one of his ministers has said.
Prof Welshman Ncube who leads of one of the two Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) formations said the 88-year-old leader slept at the recent Southern African Development Community (SADC) summit in Mozambique.
The President had to be roused by Zambian President Michael Sata after he fell asleep a few minutes after the meeting that was meant to discuss the Zimbabwe crisis had began, the opposition politicians told party supporters.
“If you are strong and young, you sleep in a dignified way but his whole body collapses when he sleeps".
He added, “You sleep as early as 9 am to a point that you are woken up by an equally old Sata. Who would tell other leaders to wake Mugabe while he was sleeping?
“Do you think that person can rule Zimbabwe? We need fresh leaders with strength who you do not have to look at and check if they are still awake.”
There have been reports that President Mugabe is battling advanced prostate cancer and several other chronic ailments. In April there were even reports which were quickly discounted that he had died while receiving treatment at a Singapore hospital.
Mugabe often scoffs at reports about his death, joking that he has resurrected more times than Jesus Christ. He has visited Singapore several times since last year but has said it was for an eye check-up after undergoing an operation in the Far East last January.
President Mugabe has already been endorsed by his Zanu-PF party to be its presidential candidate in elections expected next year. Pary spokesperson Rugare Gumbo dismissed Prof Ncube’s statement as "immature".
He said: "We do not attach any credence to his statements. He does not represent a majority of views in society.”
President Mugabe is likely to be challenged by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai in the next elections. Mr Tsvangirai beat the veteran ruler in the first round of the 2008 presidential election but was prevented from contesting the run-off poll after President Mugabe’s supporters embarked on a violent campaign.
Meanwhile, Mr Tsvangirai has rejected renegotiating the country's draft constitution despite demands by President Mugabe for major amendments.
The Prime Minister, who heads the main MDC wing, was reported Tuesday as saying he was ready to reconsider "one or two issues" but complained that Mugabe's Zanu-PF had altered the draft entirely.
Zanu-PF has rejected the draft, causing a political stalemate. Among other things, the draft dilutes the historically strong powers of the President.
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