President Robert Mugabe gave his critics an invaluable propaganda gift at the weekend and further cause to demand his exit from power when he was captured in a video footage fumbling with a shovel in an attempt to plant a tree at a Masvingo event.
The 92-year-old leader, dressed on a white overcoat, with wife, Grace and aides watching what was supposed to be an “historical” event of the country’s president planting a tree, did the exact opposite.
With the young plant already in the hole and only waiting for a few shovels of soil around it from the Zimbabwean leader, Mugabe is seen instead scooping out a small portion of soil next to the hole and returning it to a bigger heap just by the side of the hole.
Realising the unfolding debacle, an embarrassed First Lady then holds the shovel which is still in Mugabe’s feeble grip and helps him throw in a portion of soil into the pit.
Onlookers still manage to ululate although it remains unclear whether they were cheering the attempt or the complete failure to plant a tree.
The embarrassing incident came as party loyalists this weekend chose him as the party’s presidential candidate for the 2018 elections.
Mugabe, already the world’s oldest President, has repeatedly boasted to critics that he was “as fit as a fiddle”.
But he has in the recent past been betrayed by his aging frame and poor alertness which has often seen him blundering in front of cameras and sometimes missing a step during state functions in foreign territories.
Last month, ex-state security minister and former aide Didymus Mutasa made some startling claims that Mugabe once threatened to physically beat him for supporting axed Vice President Joice Mujuru.