Long standing Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe read the wrong speech at the opening of the country’s parliament on Tuesday, Reuters reported.
Mugabe, 91, who has ruled the Southern Africa nation with a iron-fist since he came to power after independence in 1980, unknowingly read the same speech he gave during the state of the nation address on Aug. 25, in which he placed the country’s hopes on China.
Lucky for him, the opening of parliament was not broadcasted live after the country’s main opposition party threatened to disrupt the event.
Even Mugabe’s supporters in parliament failed to realize the mistake, with some like the minister of parliament, Joseph Chinotimba, going ahead and praising the speech to the media outside the August house.
The government spokesperson, George Charamba, blamed the mess-up to a confusion in Mugabe’s secretarial office. He said the correct speech was later read at a hotel in the capital Harare.
The country’s education minister, Jonathan Moyo, went to the defence of the president’s speech on twitter, saying that Mugabe was not the first world leader to read a wrong speech.
“(The) speech was wrong for the day but otherwise right. Facts in earlier speech remains relevant, important and cheerable,” Moyo said on his twitter account.
“For the sake of perspective, even Obama the orator has read a wrong speech!” he added.
The opposition, who also failed to realise the president was reading a three-weeks old speech, reacted after the parliament opening saying the mess-up confirmed that Mugabe was too old to be in office.
“This is a historic blunder. Anyone who is still of a sound mind would have quickly picked it up that the speech was the wrong one,” Obert Gutu, the spokesperson for the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), the country’s main opposition party, told Reuters.
In February this year, the Zimbabwean president, who oversaw the eviction of thousands of white farmers from their land at the dawn of this century, hit the entertainment headlines after he fell down a set of steps outside a Harare airport.
Photos of Mugabe falling down the stairs became an instant online sensation. His press office send out a statement saying the president did not fall, but just missed a step.
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