Nigerian journalist asked same questions as Jonathan Moyo in 2005
By Staff Reporter
The female Nigerian journalist who accosted President Robert Mugabe in Nigeria last week asked the same questions that were raised by the current Zimbabwean Information Minister Jonathan Moyo in 2005 when he was out in the cold, having been expelled from the ruling Zanu PF party.
An angry Moyo last week labeled Adeola and her colleague Omoyele Sowore “brothers and sisters of Boko Haram” and accused them of asking “puerile” questions (childishly silly and immature) during the inauguration ceremony of President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja, Nigeria.
Appearing during a panel discussion on Sahara TV on Saturday, exiled journalist Lance Guma praised the courage of Sahara TV presenter Adeola Fayehun, who asked the 91-year-old Mugabe when he was going to step down.
“An important point that needs to be made here is that the person who is at the forefront of attacking Adeola (over the interview) is Zimbabwe’s own Information Minister.
“Now the same Information Minister in 2005, when he was still in the opposition wrote that it was important for Mugabe to step down arguing this was “no longer a dismissible opposition slogan but a strategic necessity that desperately” needed urgent action.”
Guma recited some of the more famous headlines from Moyo’s articles including: “Why Mugabe should go now”; “Mugabe now too old, too tired”; ‘Mugabe not telling the truth’; ‘Mugabe leadership doomed to fail’; ‘Mugabe behaving like a cornered rat’; “Tsvangirai defeated Mugabe”; “Mugabe incoherent, disoriented”.
Moyo said under Mugabe’s rule the economy had melted and that the Zanu PF leader was “now too old, too tired.” He felt “the prevalence of unkind jokes about Mugabe “on text messages and the Internet say it all. Mugabe now lacks the vision, stature and energy to effectively run the country, let alone his party.”
All these questions are no different from what Adeola asked Mugabe in Nigeria. Guma proceeded to praise Adeola’s courage saying there was “too much hero worshipping in African journalism” and that the interview was ‘historic’ as it showed that leaders are not gods to be worshipped and “asked for smiles”.
On Saturday Sahara TV anchor Kwesi Baako asked Adeola if she had planned to accost Mugabe whilst she was still in the United States where Sahara TV is based.
“First of all there was no way of me knowing the presidents attending the inauguration and to be honest I did not expect President Mugabe to come to something like that. I went to his car and fortunately I was the only person that tried to peep in through the window and I greeted him,” Adeola narrated.
She said at the moment she did not have a camera and she turned around to try and get a phone with a camera. When she then turned back “the whole car was surrounded by reporters who were trying to get pictures of Mugabe.” At that moment Adeola thought her opportunity had gone and they moved on.
After the inauguration Adeola continued to look for people to interview and she said for some weird reason instead of picking Mugabe from where the event took place, the security team allowed him to walk to his car. “When I saw him walking I was like, wait a minute, I can still ask him my questions,” she said.
“Most of the journalists had gone or were focusing on other things. I wasn’t too happy though in the morning when he came because, so many of the journalists kept saying “oh Mr. President give us a smile” and that did something in me.
“Of all the questions that you could ask Mugabe, “give us a smile”, what do we do with his smile? There are so many questions to be asked, so I was a bit irritated by that. I was not looking for a smile,” she said.
Adeola then followed Mugabe and pressed for an interview to ask about any plans to step down from power and allow real democratic elections in Zimbabwe.
“Mr President don’t you think its time to step down sir?” Adeola asked Mugabe. “Is there something like a term limit” she asked.
“When will there be change in Zimbabwe just like we are having in Nigeria?” she went on.
“Are you happy to be in Nigeria?” “When are you stepping down?” “How is your health?” “How do you feel about the fact that you are in Abuja to witness a democratic handover of power when there is no such in your own country?”
Confused members of the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) close security unit looked clueless on what to do and could only shout in Shona saying mirai, mirai (wait, wait).
Watch discussion featuring Adeola, Lance Guma and Fungai Maboreke: Part 1
Watch discussion featuring Adeola, Lance Guma and Fungai Maboreke: Part 2