President Mugabe, looking frail and under the weather, had been surrounded by bodyguards in a convoy caught in traffic while approaching the inauguration ceremonies.
In one unguarded moment, the Nigerian journalist, Adeola Fayehun, and a small team, greeted the dignitary and then, wasting no time, posed the question: “Don’t you think it’s time to step down sir?” A follow up question: “When will there be change in Zimbabwe sir?” was followed by “Will there ever be a change in Zimbabwe”?
She reminded him that Nigeria was taking part in a peaceful transition of power from Goodluck Jonathan to President Buhari.
“I wasn’t trying to make news, I was just trying to ask at least one question on how long this would be, when will you [Mugabe] step down as President” she explained.
While many Africans across the continent have been aware of the appealing TV star , whose weekly satirical news show Keeping It Real was launched singlehandedly in November 2011, it took the daring ambush of Robert Mugabe for her to be noticed in internationally.
After the incident, The Telegraph’s chief political correspondent Colin Freeman wrote: “Compared to the BBC’s John Simpson or CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, Adeola Fayehun from Nigeria is not exactly a global name in the world of television reporting. This week, though, she made broadcasting history as she did something that few African reporters have ever dared do: ask one of their ageing dictators when the hell he is going to quit.”
Fayehun’s style has proved popular: pithy, well-researched social commentary and news combined with satire and comedy, noted an editorial in the Daily Maverick of South Africa. She holds a Masters degree in Broadcast Journalism from the City University of NY and has held numerous broadcasting positions.
Meanwhile, President Mugabe, now in his sixth term in office, has been traveling frequently to Singapore where it is believed he is received treatments for an undisclosed condition. U.S. and European sanctions continue to dog his regime.