Zambian president Michael Sata is the talk of Africa after his clownish performance at the recent SADC summit in Angola. While most regional leaders demanded reforms before elections in Zimbabwe, Sata kept chanting ‘Pamberi ne Zanu PF’ interjecting anyone who dared criticise Mugabe.
The SADC extraordinary summit effectively ended President Robert Mugabe’s plans to hold polls this year without any meaningful reforms.
Sources who attended the Sadc summit revealed the meeting was full of fireworks. They said Tanzanian Prime Minister, Mizengo Pinda, told Mugabe to behave like an elder statesman and stop calling for elections this year, warning this would only take Zimbabwe back to the “dark days of 2008”.
Pinda did not understand Mugabe’s impatience on holding elections and told him to do it “for the people”, not just himself. Pinda was however continuously interjected by Zambian president, Michael Sata, the only leader to support an election this year.
“Sata kept saying ‘Pamberi ne Zanu PF’, interjecting anyone who dared criticise Mugabe,” the source said, adding that at times, the Zanu PF contingent of Emmerson Mnangagwa, Patrick Chinamasa and Nicholas Goche, seemed embarrassed by the chants.
Sata said Mugabe had no business discussing issues with “these boys who were not there in 1963 (at the formation of Zanu), like Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, who was on holiday, while the two presidents fought colonial regimes in their respective countries”.
During a visit to Zimbabwe this year Sata tried to be a stand up comedian at the Heroes Acre saying that more women should die to make membership there more gender-balanced. “I think more women should die and be buried here,” he joked. The remarks were blasted as facile and tasteless.
Having arrived at exactly 7pm at State House for a state banquet, President Mugabe asked the First Ladies Amai Grace Mugabe and Dr Christine Kaseba to join them for a photo shoot. But President Sata retorted: “Let them wait. After all they joined us later in our lives.”
There were more “jokes” during the signing of two Memorandums of Understanding between Zimbabwe and Zambia. There were two chairs vacant in front of the leaders and Zambian Foreign Affairs and Tourism Minister Given Lubinda offered President Sata a seat.
“Why should I sit when the President (Mugabe) is standing?” President Sata asked his minister.
He then asked President Mugabe which ministers would be signing the MOUs on behalf of Zimbabwe. Mugabe introduced Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Walter Mzembi and Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment Minister Saviour Kasukuwere.
“That big one,” President Mugabe declared pointing to Kasukuwere.
“Ha, Mr President, but they are so young,” Sata said. “What do you need young ministers for?” That was also deemed hilariously funny plunging the audience into “uncontrollable laughter”, according to the state media.
During the signing of the MoU on Youth Development, President Sata looked at the clean-shaven Kasukuwere and chuckled:
“Mr President, why does this man keep a bald head? During our days if a man is shaven like this, it was either he was coming from jail or he is mourning his dead wife.”
During a key note address at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair Sata chanted a Zanu PF slogan. Sata raised his fist Zanu PF-style and chanted Pamberi . . . pamberi ne jongwe (Forward with the cock — the Zanu PF party symbol)”, drawing the ire of MDC-T and MDC officials present at the state function.
This was despite the event being organised by the Industry and Trade ministry, headed by MDC president Welshman Ncube.
Reports say the arena became quiet as people were confused with the Zambian leader’s utterances in support of a political party at a business function. Zanu PF supporters and service chiefs roared with laughter and applauded this faux pas.