PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe’s memory lapses and eyesight problems seem to be increasing with each passing day after he failed to read his prepared speech and resorted to rumbling off the cuff.
It was evident that the long-serving ruler could not read his prepared speech and said he was celebrating his “21st birthday” contrary to what was written.
The portion which Mugabe was reading read: “Once again I thank you for the support, blessings and gifts that you all bring as we come together to celebrate the 21st February Movement which this year coincides with my 91st birthday.”
After being corrected, Mugabe closed the speech and spoke off the cuff, but seemed to suffer further memory lapses and constantly shook his head “as if to shake his memory back into place”.
Mugabe’s rumbling two-hour address before a 20 000 crowd was largely dedicated to attacking his perceived detractors and deposed former Vice-President Joice Mujuru and her cabal, whom he accused of plotting to assassinate him.
Mugabe’s eyesight was tested when he almost fell after missing a step on his way down the staircase from the podium on his way to his waiting limousine.
First Lady Grace came to the rescue after she firmed her grip on his left hand preventing the nonagenarian from tumbling.
Last month, Mugabe tumbled and fell after missing a step on his way down from a podium at Harare International Airport after addressing Zanu PF supporters on his “triumphant” return from the African Union meeting in Ethiopia where had just assumed
the continental bloc’s chairpersonship.
Grace was reportedly still recuperating from an appendix operation in Singapore when Mugabe fell and went on all fours in the absence of the First Lady.
An insider said Mugabe was facing eyesight problems due to old age.
“It’s natural for a person of his age to have eyesight problems,” the official said.
“It’s not newsworthy to concentrate on such trivial issues; instead we should be celebrating his long life.”
Memory lapses could be faced by anyone, the official declared, adding that this should not be used to determine Mugabe’s health.
“How many times have you forgotten something yourself?” he asked. “This happens to anyone and that does not put their health issues into question, so there is nothing to worry about.”
Presidential spokesperson George Charamba could not be reached on his mobile phone for comment - Sothern Eye.