PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe’s spokesperson George Charamba says he has “respect” for MDC-T leader, Morgan Tsvangirai who on Thursday sympathised with the veteran leader whose still images tumbling from a Harare International Airport podium went viral on the internet.
Charamba however singled out MDC-T spokesperson, Obert Gutu for fierce attack after the outspoken politician demanded Mugabe’s immediate resignation upon showing “frailty and old age” through his fortuitous tumble.
Said Gutu: “The fact that he (Mugabe) fell down at Harare international airport this afternoon is just but consistent with what to expect from a man of advanced age and also its quite indicative of the fact that he should immediately step down.
“… since it is quite clear that he is not in a proper physical condition to continue to carry out the onerous duties that are ordinarily carried out by a head of state.”
But Charamba did not mince his words as he fired back at his former classmate and now opposition official.
The fiery Presidential spokesperson said Tsvangirai displayed more maturity in handling President Mugabe’s misfortune than his “foolish” MDC-T comrade.
“I am not even talking about Tsvangirai; I am talking about Obert Gutu. Who is Obert Gutu! That charlatan! Who is he! Tsvangirai is a lot more mature and it’s a pity he has an idiot for a spokesperson,” Charamba told NewZimbabwe.com.
He continued: “He (Gutu) was my classmate by the way; he is my age, only that he is more foolish but for him to poke fun at a man of 91 when he stumbles and to imagine him (Gutu) as a lawyer that a stumble is a substitute for elections is despicable.
“Tsvangirai has not said so (Mugabe resignation); Obert has said so. Who is he! A foolish lawyer.”
Fit to rule … George Charamba with President Mugabe a day after the airport tumble
Asked to comment on Mugabe’s fall on Thursday, Tsvangirai, who since challenging for Mugabe’s job 15 years ago, has taken persistent abuses from his powerful rival, said he felt for Mugabe.
“I feel for him. It was an unfortunate incident and I hope he receives the healthcare that he deserves,” Tsvangirai told journalists in a short interview on the side-lines of a Christian convention in the capital.
Meanwhile, Charamba has steadfastly declared President Mugabe will not relinquish power any time soon because of a stumble, insisting his boss was hale and hearty and was raring to see through his five year term as the country’s number one citizen.
Charamba challenged President Mugabe’s opponents to displace him through the ballot as opposed to making demands through the media for his resignation.
“The road to power is via elections,” he said, “It is not by how well you avoid tumbling and only those that are defeated in elections look opportunities such as those.
“Why are they ducking the democratic question? Let the subject be elections. That’s what installs leaders; not what happens when someone is coming down a podium.
“Can Zimbabweans in their numbers who retain the President electorally make way to a foolish cabal of defeated opposition politicians who think a stumble off a podium is a basis for opening political opportunities for them? Come on!
“These people want to win power by holding on to an accident.”
Asked if he genuinely felt Mugabe was fit enough to deal with the challenges of running the country, Charamba replied: “If you don’t feel him through his government, you only have to commit a crime and you will realise how fit he is.”