INFORMATION minister Jonathan Moyo has insisted that President Robert Mugabe, now aged 91, is still fit enough to lead Zimbabwe.
Moyo made the remarks as blasted a local daily over a report asking political rivals and commentators whether the 91-year-old leader should now step down since he was now at an age where diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s were common.
The information minister said mainstream publications should not be leading with “a question mark”.
“It is surprising that a mainstream newspaper leads with a question mark when it is expected to lead with a story,” said Moyo.
“You cannot ask yourself a question in order to give a self-fulfilling answer. The majority of Zimbabweans are not expecting questions, they want answers not to political questions, but to the economic challenges that they are facing.
“Anyone with a political question we are going to meet them in 2018, then they will get their answer. Till then we are pre-occupied with bread and butter issues.”
Mugabe often travels to the Far East for medical attention; trips that cost the cash-strapped government hundreds of thousands of dollars, say opposition parties.
A recent stumble at the Harare International Airport stoked concern about the veteran leader’s physical aptitude for the job.
The opposition MDCs told said Monday that it was time Mugabe stepped down.
“We have maintained that old age is an illness that humanity has failed to cure despite all its best efforts,” said Jacob Mafume of the MDC Renewal Team.
“It therefore follows to reason that at 91, Mugabe is a very sick person who needs intensive care or home-based care.
“Until humanity finds a cure, we need to keep our elderly in a safe place where they can do no harm to themselves or to others.
“That place is usually an old people’s home or if one is privileged enough, home-based care with a dedicated nurse.
“Now to say that such a person is running a country is stretching it too far and an act of gross irresponsibility.”
Obert Gutu of the MDC-T added: “The old man should simply step down and rest.
“He is not doing himself any good by clinging onto power whilst he is now in that state of health.
“It’s time for him to take a bow from the hazardous and extremely demanding job of engaging in active politics. He should start writing his memoirs.”
Moyo however insisted that Mugabe was fit enough to remain in office.
“Our answer is, yes, President Mugabe is fit to lead Zimbabwe. An overwhelming majority of Zimbabweans said Yes only 19 months ago,” said the minister.