The Commonwealth Observer

This tumble by Mugabe didn’t happen, official says

Murray Burt
Written by Murray Burt

Certainly press gallery didn’t fall for official denial

Mugabe, the Zimbabwe president and recently elected chairman of the African Union (AU), was in Harare on last month to give a speech. As he walked down from the podium, he appeared to trip and fall. It was caught on film. For a 90-year-old man, a trip is understandable.

What’s less easy to understand is what happened next: Zimbabwe’s government issued a denial. “Nobody has shown any evidence of the president having fallen down because that did not happen,” Information Minister Jonathan Moyo eventually told the state-owned Zimbabwe Herald, before offering a more obtuse explanation. Formerly Rhodesia, Zimbabwe quit the Commonwealth in December 2003. It has been a dictatorship under Mugabe ever since, with harsh treatment of overt opposition.

About the author

Murray Burt

Murray Burt

Murray Burt has been a journalist for nearly 60 years, starting as a cadet reporter in New Zealand, and doing two stints with wire services on Fleet Street before settling in Canada in the newspaper business. He is a retired managing editor of the Winnipeg Free Press, and former city and national editor of The Globe and Mail in Toronto. He is a past-president of the CJA and has been a life member since 2003, participating in each of its conferences and CPU’s conferences since 1990. He is a director of the Advisory Council of the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, based in New Delhi; president of Manitoba’s newly-reconstituted Royal Commonwealth Society; and has directorships in the Duke of Edinburgh Awards and the Canadian Forces Liaison Council (western Canada).

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