A Government spokesman has dismissed what Harare has described as a rant by former President Robert Mugabe over the shooting and killing of unarmed civilians as the irrelevant opinion of an old man.

During his 95th birthday celebrations last week the former president took Harare to task over the shooting of defenceless civilians in August last year and in January this year, following the deployment of soldiers as protests and unrest erupted, saying the government was showing bad leadership.

Nick Mangwana, the Ministry of Information’s permanent secretary, said Mugabe, now aged 95, was struggling with feebleness of mind.

“Former President Mugabe is an elderly man whose age is quite advanced. At that age, people tend to have some feebleness of the mind,” said Mangwana.
“That state of decrepitude manifests in different ways. Some of the ways are that one is taken advantage of by having words deceptively attributed to them and, in other cases, manipulated to say things they have no lucidity or presence of mind to make sense of,” said Mangwana.

The permanent secretary added that most people aged 95 could not be held responsible for their actions or words. But despite this Zimbabweans would continue to remember the positive contributions Mugabe had made.

Under Mugabe’s leadership many unarmed civilians were killed. One of the more infamous incidents was the Gukurahundi series of massacres of Ndebele civilians carried out by the Zimbabwe National Army from early 1983 to late 1987 where an estimated 20 000 people were slaughtered.