Pamela Shumba Bulawayo Bureau
Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Walter Mzembi has said President Mugabe is the right candidate to stand on the ruling Zanu-PF party ticket in the 2018 elections. In a BBC HARDtalk interview to be aired on Monday, Dr Mzembi said President Mugabe is still capable of doing his job and is “of sound mental state and completely in charge of his faculties”.
The minister said this after the BBC’s Sarah Montague had questioned President Mugabe’s candidacy.
“Absolutely, as long as the people ask him to carry on, as is the case now; and they’ve already indicated at the last national conference that they want him to stay on. It’s not really about the statistic but what he’s offering and his leadership,” he said.
Asked if he wanted President Mugabe to continue leading the country, Dr Mzembi said: “I want him to stay on . . . Because his faculties are still completely in place. I have just parted ways with him just recently from Ghana. The way I was able to watch him in action. Who would imagine that he is 92/ 93?
“It’s just a statistic really because he’s completely sound. He’s of sound mental state and completely in charge of his faculties.”
He said despite claims that the President sleeps in meetings, the minister said he has not seen him sleep in meetings.
Dr Mzembi said the President presides over Cabinet every Tuesday and he’s completely awake to the task.
The minister was also asked about his previous claims that the country should adopt the South African rand and he said that was “still part of the discussion”.
Dr Mzembi said the bond notes had alleviated, to a limited extent, the cash crisis.
He said the country’s inability to actually appreciate the value of the US dollar was driving US dollar denominated inflation.
“I would have equated the bond note actually to the rand and I still make that argument up to this very day,” Dr Mzembi said.
“I have absolutely nothing to be ashamed of in terms of the ideas that I have advanced because they work.
“They are economic ideas that work and have been tested elsewhere.”