The robe is the one with which Kenyan chiefs declared Gaddafi “King of Africa,” six months before the former Libyan ruler was dethroned.
Paul Kamlesh Pattni, the national chairman of the house of traditional leaders in Kenya described the 88-year- old leader as a great man during the Chiefs Annual Conference in Bulawayo.
Kamlesh Pattni is the one who also presided over the crowning of Gaddafi early last year.
He said, “Mugabe stands for African leaders and the rights of Africans as a whole. We saw it fit to give this gown which was given to us by Gaddafi before his death and we saw it fit to give it to Mugabe because he stands for Africans.”
Mugabe accepted the gown but he didn’t touch it and it was grabbed by chiefs’ council president Fortune Charumbira.
Instead Mugabe mocked Gaddafi saying he was murdered by his European friends after France, Britain and the United States launched airstrikes in Libya. Mugabe said Gaddafi never made any meaningful investment but splashed his money in Europe.
Mugabe also attacked Europeans for ‘trying to wipe out humankind through homosexuality.’
He said, “I want to see the man who is able to make men present here to be pregnant for nine months. The devil cannot do it. The Europeans want to destroy nature and destroy humankind. Let us never, never ever accept homosexuality.”
He also took a swipe at South Africa for failing to empower the black nationals there through the land reform and indigenisation, saying poverty is rampant among the black population yet that country is reported to be rich.
“People of Soweto are still poor. We do not know when their lives will improve. Poverty in Soweto will never be alleviated through getting jobs. It will only be alleviated through land and empowerment.
“They (blacks) do not have land because their country’s constitution did not give them the right to land like our constitution. We included the issue of land in our constitution in 1980,” he said.
Reacting to Mugabe’s coronation, Bulawayo, Chief Musarurwa who is also the Mashonaland East provincial chairman for traditional chiefs declared Mugabe as ‘King and who will die in office.’
Musarurwa said,“Zimbabwe is ruled by a monarch and President Robert Mugabe is our King. Mugabe is our King who will die ruling Zimbabwe. Those who are saying we should remove him through elections are wasting their time.
“Elections and democracy were brought by the white colonialists. As Zimbabwe traditional chiefs, we do not believe in that, but we believe in our monarch that is why we still support Mugabe, we want him to continue as Zimbabwe leader and not only as Zanu-(PF) leader”.
Meanwhile, South African President Jacob Zuma is expected in Harare for make or break talks with Mugabe and other principals in the shaky inclusive government on the timing of elections.
Zuma is fresh from a whirlwind trip to Botswana, Namibia and Angola where he was reportedly mobilising regional support to tackle the sticky Zimbabwean problem.
Mugabe, who turned 88 last month, has intensified calls for polls this year with or without a new constitution, a move that was rejected outright by South Africa early this week.
The dispute between the ageing leaders Zanu PF party and Zuma’s facilitation team on fresh elections has degenerated into an ugly public spat setting the stage for a confrontation between the two leaders.
Zuma is also expected to consult the other principals Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara on the way forward.
Tsvangirais’s national executive committee met yesterday and reiterated that while it was readying for polls anytime, it would not take part in a plebiscite called before the adoption of a new constitution.
Zuma’s advisor Lindiwe Zulu confirmed that her boss was preparing for the trip.
“I don’t have the exact date yet, but all I can confirm is that he has to come to Harare as soon as possible,” she said.
Mugabe has threatened to reject Zuma as the appointed mediator in the power sharing talks accusing him of bias.
Relations between the two leaders soured last year when Zuma tabled a report at a special summit in Livingstone, Zambia, laying the blame on Zanu PF for the inclusive government’s failure to implement urgent reforms.
In recent interviews to mark his birthday, Mugabe claimed he had confronted Zuma during meetings in Angola and Zambia last year threatening to have him removed as the mediator.
The fallout worsened last week when South African Foreign minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane told parliament in Cape Town that Zimbabwe would not be allowed to hold the polls before reforms.
Zanu PF reacted angrily to the statement with politburo member Jonathan Moyo telling online media that South Africa must stop treating Zimbabwe as one of its provinces.
But Zulu yesterday maintained that Zuma would not be drawn into a public slanging match with Mugabe.
The President will engage President Mugabe on an ideal platform not in public, Zulu said.
- Culled from ZimEye Zimbabwe and Newsday