Robert Mugabe is a man who dislikes taking blame on anything and is in a bid to clean his name.
This came to show yesterday when he shocked his outgoing cabinet by labeling them as the worst in history. He said they only look at themselves and are unreliable. “This Cabinet that I had was the worst in history. They look at themselves. They are unreliable but not all of them,” he said.
But Mugabe, never fired a single minister despite knowing that they are unreliable.
Mugabe says he will soon announce a new cabinet and hinted that he might not include a single MDC official. “The MDC does not want to come in apparently. This time they have been promised by the British that sanctions would be more devastating, that in six months time the Government will collapse,” he said.
“I do not know when that day will come. I wish Tsvangirai well on that day,”
He said the claims soon after officially opening the seventh parliament.
But he did not have it easy.
MPs from Movement for Democratic Change snubbed Mugabe by staying firmly in their seats when he walked into the chamber. They soon broke into song, denouncing his party. “ZANU is rotten!” and “We have a pact with the people’ were the popular chants.
“He looked nervous but put on a fake brave face and continued his irritating speech to the MDC MPs” said an observer.
This was probably the first time that Mugabe, who is shielded from public criticism, has ever faced an openly hostile audience.
He was jeered when he talked of the negotiations with the opposition, mediated by Thabo Mbeki of South Africa, which are now stalled without agreement.
“Landmark agreements have been concluded, with every expectation that everyone will sign up,” he said, expressing his increasingly unlikely hope that the MDC will sign up to deal.
The anger on the opposition benches rose to a crescendo as the 84 year old Mugabe launched into one of his characteristic denunciations of the West and the supposed sanctions that he claims have reduced Zimbabwe to penury, rather than his own mismanagement.
The volume reached its peak he referred to the carnage inflicted by thugs loyal to him following the first round of the presidential election in March, which saw the MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai pull out of a run-off.
“Happily, all political parties in the country have acknowledged culpability in this violence,” said Mr Mugabe.
At times Mugabe was drowned out by the heckling, having to raise his voice to be heard, and with his humiliation broadcast live on Zimbabwean state television for the entire nation to watch.
After his boring speech, MDC MPs and Senators petitioned Mugabe.
The document states that :
1. This official opening of the 7th Parliament of Zimbabwe is a clear breach of the Memorandum of Understanding and is therefore of no force and effect.
2. The purported opening by Mugabe, the illegitimate usurper of the people’s will as reflected on 29 March 2008, is illegal and of no force and effect.
3. For the avoidance of doubt, the only person who can officially open this session of Parliament will be determined by the outcome of the on-going dialogue sponsored by SADC.
4. The appointment of Senators and governors by Mugabe is an affront to the MOU and a fraud on the people of Zimbabwe, which wrongfully and unlawfully was designed to affect and did affect the election of both the President and Vice President of the Senate.
5. The continued harassment, arrest of MDC legislators and activists by members of the police and related security institutions is a direct affront to the will of the people of Zimbabwe.
6. The people of Zimbabwe await anxiously for the resolution of the SADC-brokered dialogue in order that the humanitarian crisis they face is urgently and immediately addressed.