HARARE, Dec 15 – Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe may have been deposed as
president, but some of the ruling party’s senior officials are struggling to
stop mentioning the man who dominated their country for 37 years.
Two government ministers were left embarrassed at a party congress on Friday
when they used the name of the veteran leader when referring to the man who
replaced him after last month’s de facto coup, new president Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Energy Minister and ZANU-PF spokesman Simon Khaya-Moyo chanted “Forward with
President Mugabe!” in the native Shona language before hastily correcting
himself to “Forward with President ED Mnangagwa”.
Mnangagwa, who was sworn in as president of the southern African country on
Nov. 24, initially sat stony-faced before breaking into a smile when another
official whispered to him.
Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa also started referring to Mugabe as the
party’s candidate for elections due in 2018 before correcting himself. Mnangagwa
was endorsed as the ZANU-PF leader and candidate for the top job for the vote
which he said on Thursday said could be sooner than expected.
Mugabe himself was out of the country. Sources said he visited a hospital in
Singapore this week, apparently for medical checks.