Mugabe reads wrong speech in Parliament

mugabe-495x330Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe on Tuesday read an old speech at the official opening of parliament, in a gaffe set to embolden critics who say he is no longer fit to rule.

Hours after President Mugabe delivered the speech at an elaborate function to mark the opening the third session of the eighth parliament, his spokesperson announced that the delivery had been set aside owing to a “mix-up”.

The live broadcast of the speech had been suspended from live television and radio broadcasting after reports that opposition legislators were planning to disrupt him.

The main Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) had reportedly threatened to heckle the 91-year-old after they received death threats.

President Mugabe repeated the same speech he delivered in a state-of-the-nation address in parliament on August 25, where he was heckled by MDC legislators protesting against the deteriorating economic situation in the country.

“There has been a mix up of speeches resulting in a situation where His Excellency the President delivered a wrong speech,” President Mugabe’s spokesperson, Mr George Charamba was quoted saying.


“The mix-up happened in his secretarial office, therefore the delivery in parliament should be set aside. The error is sincerely regretted and corrective measures are being considered.”

Parliament Speaker Jacob Mudenda had warned the legislators against heckling the ageing leader, saying those who remained defiant would be charged.

President Mugabe arrived at parliament in Harare in a vintage black Rolls Royce car. His speech lasted about 25 minutes.

“Let us, whatever our affiliations, political, religious, social, continue to believe in ourselves, to believe in our collective capacity, so as to overcome adversity and challenges that confront us, including unemployment,” he said.

The veteran ruler has been in power since Zimbabwe’s independence from Britain in 1980.

Zimbabwe’s economy is battling fresh turmoil and in his August 25 speech, President Mugabe had pledged that his government would soon amend restrictive laws to attract foreign investment.