PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe obstinately flew out of a burning Zimbabwe yesterday, oblivious to the bedlam around him to attend the Sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD VI) which began in Nairobi, Kenya, yesterday.
While tempers flared in Harare and the situation threatened to explode into full-scale anarchy, for Mugabe it was business as usual.
Pro-democracy groups and opposition parties have in the past few months cranked up pressure against Mugabe’s increasingly authoritarian regime through protests.
But the 92-year-old Zanu PF leader has reacted with his fashionable brute force, bludgeoning activists to a pulp in the process.
While police engaged in running battles with protesters in the capital, Mugabe was posing for photographs with a group of students departing for studies in China.
Mugabe’s spokesperson George Charamba could neither deny nor confirm the Zanu PF leader had left for Nairobi.
“I am not going to answer whether he has gone. You should have come to State House where he gave a speech. I cannot paraphrase what the President said, but can only give a statement in anticipation of what he is going to say,” Charamba said. “On TICAD VI, you can write your story that the President went to Japan and you can background your story on that.”
Mugabe has become a frequent flyer in his old age and continues to blow millions of taxpayers’ money on foreign trips, some with little benefit to the economy.