PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe gave his critics an invaluable propaganda gift at the weekend and further cause to demand his exit from power when he was captured in a video footage fumbling with a shovel in an attempt to plant a tree at a Masvingo event.
The 92-year-old leader, dressed in a white overcoat, with his wife Grace and aides watching what was supposed to be an “historical” event of the country’s President planting a tree, did the exact opposite.
With the young plant already in the hole and only waiting for a few shovels of soil around it from the Zimbabwean leader, Mugabe is seen instead scooping out a small portion of soil next to the hole and returning it to a bigger heap just by the side of the hole.
Realising the unfolding debacle, an embarrassed First Lady then holds the shovel which is still in Mugabe’s feeble grip and helps him throw in a portion of soil into the pit.
Onlookers still manage to ululate although it remains unclear whether they were cheering the attempt or the complete failure to plant a tree.
The video, which has gone viral on social media platforms, is a gift to the veteran leader’s critics who have insisted the only black leader the country has known was no longer fit to continue occupying the country’s most influential office.
“Yet this man wants to run for the Presidency in 2018 and there’s a horde of people who think it’s a good idea! Actually, this is cruel,” commented United Kingdom-based university lecturer and political analyst Alex Magaisa on his Facebook page.
The embarrassing incident came as Zanu PF loyalists this weekend chose him as the party’s presidential candidate for the 2018 elections.
Mugabe, already the world’s oldest President, has repeatedly boasted to critics that he was “as fit as a fiddle”.
But he has in the recent past been betrayed by his ageing frame and poor alertness which has often seen him blundering in front of cameras and sometimes missing a step during State functions in foreign territories.
Last month, former State Security minister and former aide Didymus Mutasa made some startling claims that Mugabe once threatened to physically beat him for supporting axed Vice-President Joice Mujuru.