Grandpa, it’s enough now, Malema tells Mugabe

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\n HARARE – An opposition party of South African radical leftists has urged President Robert Mugabe to step down, saying he is no longer capable of discharging presidential duties.

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\n Urging Mugabe to take a cue from Gambia’s Yahya Jammeh who was forced by Ecowas to cede presidential power last weekend after his defeat to his rival Adama Barrow, Julius Malema’s red beret-wearing Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) — who are demanding nationalisation of mines and banks and a redistribution of wealth to poor blacks — said Mugabe, who is turning 93 in February, must not taint his legacy by hanging on to power.

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\n “Zimbabwe’s situation is bad. President Mugabe can’t even control a spade. He is no longer capable of discharging his responsibilities,” Malema told the media in Braamfontein yesterday after a plenum at which the party discussed its plans for this year.

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\n Malema was referring to an embarrassing episode in December when Mugabe — dressed in a white coat and a wide-brimmed hat — struggled to lift a shovel to move soil to plant a tree in Masvingo on the sidelines of the Zanu PF annual conference.

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\n In the short video clip, officials watched nervously as Grace Mugabe, the president’s much younger wife grabs the shovel from him and finishes off the shovelling herself.

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\n “We don’t hate the man,” Malema said.

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\n “They can respond and insult us anyhow they want, but they are a group of cowards, those comrades in Zanu PF to be scared to say to an old man like  . . .  Mugabe, please with due respect let go,” he added.

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\n The EFF, whose statement was congratulating the people of Gambia for the peaceful transfer of power by the  terrified long-time dictator, said Africa was “entering an interesting period.”

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\n Jammeh lost the presidency to opposition coalition leader Barrow on December 1 after 22 years in power. Barrow, a former businessman, vanquished Jammeh, who was seeking a fifth term.

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\n Mugabe’s spokesperson George Charamba has brushed aside widespread calls by opposition and civil rights activists for Mugabe to follow in the footsteps of Jammeh, telling the Daily News recently that Zimbabwe’s doddering president had a ringing endorsement from the country’s 10 provinces to continue ruling and stand for re-election in the next presidential election in 2018.

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\n Malema said it was time for Mugabe to handover the baton.

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\n The veteran Zimbabwean leader, who has ruled since independence from Britain in 1980, would not quit anytime soon, his spokesperson declared.

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\n But Malema said: “His overstay is not doing justice on the African revolution project. He is destroying his own legacy.

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\n “We celebrate Mugabe. We celebrate what he has done and we will continue his legacy, but grandpa, it’s enough now. You must let go and allow other people to continue that legacy.”

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\n Malema curiously repeated Mugabe’s refrain, dismissing the Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC as “pathetic puppets” and “Western-sponsored stooges.”

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\n “We are not even talking about MDC,” Malema said.

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\n “MDC is not an alternative in Zim. It’s (an) imperialist puppet that seeks to undermine the legitimate land question in Zimbabwe.”

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\n Mugabe’s campaign in 2000 to seize white-owned farms for redistribution to landless blacks gutted commercial agriculture in Zimbabwe, with more than five million people now facing hunger.

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\n “We are not aligned to anything that seeks to reverse the land question and we genuinely believe that comrades in Zanu PF who are young can continue,” the radical EFF leader said.

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\n MDC spokesperson Obert Gutu said Malema comes across as a “delusional populist” and “a rather misguided rubble rouser.”

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\n “Of course, he is intellectually challenged and his grasp of global politics as well as Zimbabwean politics is pretty warped and extremely shallow.

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\n “We are a Pan-African social democratic party and for Malema to brand us as imperialist puppets clearly proves that he should go back to school and carry out a more informed study of Zimbabwean politics.

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\n “Anyway, we suggest that Malema concentrates on transforming his small protest movement, the EFF, into a serious political party that can be able to become a serious alternative government in South Africa.

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\n “With friends like Julius Malema,who needs enemies?” Gutu said.

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