PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe yesterday said he will, in the next two days, unleash unspecified action on all “economic saboteurs”, who created artificial shortages and “unilaterally” hiked prices of basic commodities as part of a plot to trigger mass uprisings against his government, while he was at the United Nations summit in New York.
BY BLESSED MHLANGA
Addressing thousands of Zanu PF supporters soon after landing at Harare International Airport, Mugabe said he “will deal with the issues in just two days”.
“How can we have shortages of cooking oil and massive price hikes, all this happening while I was away?
“These are saboteurs, who want to cause panic against the government, so that people can riot against us, but our people are clever. They will not be swayed in that way.
“This is not an issue you should worry yourselves over. We will deal with it in just two days,” he said.
In a thinly-veiled attack against his own party and government officials, Mugabe told the party supporters that his lieutenants could also be behind the price spikes, which caused panic buying over the weekend.
“Be wary of these people, who do things to undermine our unity, especially ahead of the 2018 elections. Some of them are people we play with every day, people we drink beer with, who are supporting the enemy,” he said.
Zanu PF Mashonaland Central provincial chairman, Dickson Mafios set the agenda before Mugabe’s speech, when he declared war against alleged saboteurs, whom, he said, always foment chaos in the Zanu PF leader’s absence.
“Down with those who cause chaos in the absence of President Mugabe. Down with those who hike prices in the absence of President Mugabe,” he thundered, as he welcomed Mugabe.
Mugabe only spoke about the economic problems facing Zimbabwe as an afterthought, dedicating less than three minutes to issues at home after nearly an hour of bashing United States President Donald Trump.
He took most of the time massaging his own ego, telling supporters how he had faced up against the American President, whom he accused of being hellbent on causing war and bullying other nations because of the huge size of the US army.
“We are all equal regardless of size. No nation is superior than the other and that is what I have said no to and I made sure to censure Trump on his bullying tactics. We don’t want a Goliath,” Mugabe said.
The Zanu PF supporters, who had been bussed to the airport from as early as 10am, had to endure four hours under the scorching sun, while sitting on the burning tarmac, with Mugabe only arriving after lunch with his entourage.
The supporters appeared lost as Mugabe, in his speech against Trump, at times confused North Korea with Vietnam, while scarcely mentioning the crisis at home.
As a result, dozens of supporters started walking out before the party’s Harare political commissar, Shadreck Mashayamombe, ordered the police to block them.
Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who was acting in Mugabe’s absence, also added his voice, saying the return of his boss would bring sanity to the economy, which appears to be on the tipping edge.
“Your Excellency, while you were away, prices went up and there were shortages, but now that you are back, I am sure all the problems will be solved,” he said.
Mnangagwa also went into overdrive waxing lyrical about Mugabe, describing him as the Biblical David, who stood up against Trump, the modern-day Goliath, in his own country.