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Mugabe Fall Goes Viral, Cartoons Set Media on Fire

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, center, falls after addressing supporters upon his return from an African Union meeting in Ethiopia, Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2015. Mugabe, 90, was elected chairman of the African Union and is set to celebrate his 91st birthday on Feb. 21. (AP Photo)

Some Zimbabweans are questioning President Robert Mugabe’s ability to rule the country at the age of 90 while running the African Union (AU) as well as his family following his fall Wednesday after addressing Zanu PF supporters.

His fall has caused a media frenzy with individuals, the conventional print and electronic media, Facebook, Twitter, and others creating cartoons of the president, using pictures of his fall in Harare.

Some of the cartoons include Mr. Mugabe surfing a sea wave, dribbling past an international soccer player, dancing in a top notch American show, Dancing with the Stars, engaged in a fencing game, in top flight using a skate board and riding an unidentified beast with the caption “the never ending dictatorship”.

Other cartoons depict Mr. Mugabe dancing with world class musician, Beyonce, in her world acclaimed song, “Single Ladies” and not to be outclassed, a crafty person had the Zimbabwean president in full flight, running away with a ball in an American football match with a caption “introducing your new starting quarterback for the Washington Redskins.”

The Redskins have of late been experiencing problems with quarterbacks, who are the driving engine of any football team.

Critics say the president, who has been in power for more than 34 years has not transformed most of his policies since independence when he embraced the moribund concept of Marxisim-Lennism used to win the country’s liberation war of the 1970s against the settle government of the late Rhodesian leader Ian Douglas Smith.

They say Mr. Mugabe has overstayed in power and cannot bring any meaningful change to a nation with a declining economy, worsened by lack of foreign direct investment and other factors.

But his supporters say the president should rule Zimbabwe as he was last year elected for another five-year term. He is already being considered for a slot in the presidential race in 2018 under his Zanu PF party.

Reacting to the fall, presidential spokesman, George Charamba, told the state-controlled Herald newspaper that the president was in good spirits Thursday when he addressed a cabinet meeting.

Information Minister Jonathan Moyo came short of saying the president did not fall at all, saying that he "managed to break the fall."

Moyo cited examples of leaders who have stumbled, from Jesus to George W. Bush, in an attempt to deny Mugabe fell down the stairs at Harare airport Wednesday.

He blamed the carpet for the fall, indicating that it was poorly laid.

“Nobody has shown any evidence of the president having fallen down because that did not happen. The hump on which the president tripped was formed by two pieces of the carpet which apparently had not been laid out properly where they joined. And to be honest with you, even Jesus, let alone you, would have also tripped in that kind of situation,” said Moyo.

For perspective reporter Tatenda Gumbo spoke to international relations expert Clifford Mashiri, and former Deputy Information Minister and Zanu PF member Bright Matonga.

Matonga said the fall of Mr. Mugabe is water under a bridge.

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