Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader, Julius Malema, yesterday blasted President Robert Mugabe, saying his continued stay in power was not good for Zimbabwe, SADC and “the African revolution project”.
Malema, who is often described as an ideologue taking after Mugabe, told journalists in Braamfontein, South Africa, that what was happening in Zimbabwe was bad and chided Zanu PF members for being cowards in failing to tell the Zimbabwean leader to go.
“Zimbabwe’s situation is bad. President Mugabe can’t even control a spade. He is no longer capable of discharging his responsibilities,” Malema said.
“We don’t hate the man. 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 President Mugabe, please, with due respect, let go.”
Malema said the late Cuban leader Fidel Castro was wise enough to let go when he realised that his strength was letting him down.
“Commandant, Fidel Castro, when he realised that it was no longer doable, he let go, so President Mugabe should let go, the legacy of the land question will carry it. We are following in his footsteps, we are proud of the actions he has taken, but his overstay is not doing justice on the African revolution project, he is destroying his own legacy, it’s bad,” he said.
Malema said Mugabe should celebrate that he was not a South African president, as he would have been removed a long time ago.
Mugabe has been in power since Zimbabwe’s independence from British colonial rule in 1980. Turning 93 next month, Mugabe has already been nominated as the Zanu PF presidential candidate for next year’s general elections, with his diehard party supporters vowing to have him as their leader as long as he is still alive, something Malema took exception to.
“President Mugabe’s stay in power and him being a presidential candidate in 2018, those comrades in Zanu PF can insult us anyhow they want, we are not going to be good friends if we are not going to tell them that which they are doing (sic) is not good for the Zimbabwean people, is not good for SADC, is not good for the struggle of reclaiming the land in Africa, because those who are leading that struggle then they overstay and destroy that legitimate programme,” he said.
“We say this out of love, not because we hate him. We celebrate Mugabe, we celebrate what he has done. But, grandpa, it’s enough.
“Now you must let go and allow other people to continue with that legacy.”
Malema said there many young radical and capable people who could lead Zanu PF and continue with the revolutionary mantle.
Contacted for comment over Malema’s remarks, Zanu PF youth league leader Kudzai Chipanga said: “Malema is a double coward. The fact that he left a revolutionary party, the ANC, to form that burial society (EFF), which is more like a drunkards’ club, he is a good candidate for being a coward. From his revolutionary background, he knows that when we chose leaders, we chose revolutionaries.
“You cannot talk of revolutions leaving out the names of Mugabe, Nelson Mandela, Oliver Reginald Tambo, Joshua Nkomo and Kwame Nkrumah, just to mention a few. The fact that our own hero is still alive, why does he want us to ditch him and opt for second-hand characters?
“He can import the person he thinks is a competent leader to join his EFF club, it’s high time Malema minded his own business and stopped interfering in ours.
“Since he left the ANC, he has never received a call from us. We also don’t expect him to come to us, our former colleague can certainly go to hell and hang.”
Leading figures in Zanu PF are locked in a bitter tussle for power as they look beyond Mugabe, but continue to sing the nonagenarian’s praises, even as it becomes apparent that nature is taking its toll on the Zimbabwean leader, who turns 93 next month.
Malema also blasted opposition MDC-T leader, Morgan Tsvangirai and his party, describing the former Prime Minister as an “imperialist puppet that seeks to undermine the legitimate land question in Zimbabwe”.
“We are not even talking about MDC. MDC is not an alternative in Zim. It’s [an] imperialist puppet that seeks to undermine the legitimate land question in Zimbabwe,” he continued.
“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.”