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Luke-ing the Beast in the Eye: ED’s million dollar stunt – Is he illiterate, a clown, a drunkard or all three?

Social media has gone agog with a video that has gone viral of Mr Mnangagwa, a whole Head of State, “teaching”Zimbabweans how to write one million in figures.

Only it was a million dollar boob, with the man alleging the figure 000, 000, 1 is equal to 1 000 000. Only the latter is how a million is written in figures. .

There is now little wonder why Zimbabwe’s priorities are upside down and why ED’s government is mortgaging the country’s resources for a song.

Capacity and aptitude are needed at the level of the Head of State. But when your President, even an illegitimate one, does not know what a million looks like, then you have a serious problem.

You certainly cannot send such a President to engage in bilateral negotiations with other countries. He will sell out the country to underworld criminals, as evidenced by Al Jazeera’s Gold Mafia documentary.

Even at the village vegetable market, customers will troop to the illiterate vegetable seller. They know they can give her less money and still receive their bundle of veggies or they can be given more change than was due to them.

That is why criminals of all shades and colours are trooping to Zimbabwe to sell their buses to ZUPCO, to invest in lithium mining, to “donate” a Parliament building to us or to engage in deals of all sorts and manner.

With a leader who is so poor with figures and with sidekicks so eager to get rich, we are in serious trouble as a nation.

Maybe there is little wonder why the man is now sending his wife and twin sons to engage foreign heads of State. He knows his math is poor and cant trust himself to engage.

After watching the video where ED lectures to a bemused nation on how to write the figure one million, my daughter who is doing Grade Five quipped it was no one else but the President who needed to go for extra lessons, which extra lessons ironically his own government has banned and declared illegal.

And to think the man purports to be a lawyer and purports to have studied law, where accounting courses are compulsory because lawyers look after trust funds!

I have always maintained that Mnangagwa may have undergone some crush paralegal studies at some backwater college in Zambia’s Copperbelt region and returned to Zimbabwe masquerading as a lawyer. His deportment appears to vindicate my theory.

The million dollar boob of a whole President who cannot write a million in figures has caused an animated debate in Zimbabwe.

Is the man unhinged, is he simply illiterate, is he a clown or he was simply drunk at the occasion?

There is a strong view doing the rounds that the man had taken to the wise waters and was heavily inebriated at that occasion.

I seem to be swayed by this theory as it reminds me of yet another video that similarly went viral when a dishevelled ED was heavily drunk, with neither scarf nor tie, grinning sheepishly and appearing out of sorts .

Indeed, it may be that the man was drunk especially if one considers the previous video of the man and the funny things he has done before which only a clown or a drunkard could do.

ED’s legacy of drunken utterances

The dictum that leaders are a reflection of their countries sometimes makes perfect sense.

When weather-beaten Zimbabweans say ” Nyika Yadhakwa “, they could well be talking about the country’s leader ensconced at the very apex of the State.

Social media pundits have reproduced the following catalogue of Mnangagwa’s infamous statements and concluded that he could well have uttered them while under the influence, as he did with his million dollar boob.

1. At one time, after officially opening a mortuary building, Mnangagwa said he had placed his hand inside and felt that the temperature was OK as it was very cold, adding that he would give a prize to the first bereaved family to use the mortuary: Ndakaisa ruoko rwangu maitonhorera chaizvo . Kana watanga kupinda umu ndinomupa mari .”

2. At one time, he told despondent Zimbabweans to avoid meat if they could not afford it. He instead urged them to settle for cheaper relish such as vegetables and potatoes. He hollered: “ _Idyai murivoooo nemapotatooooo ”

3. At the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, Mnangagwa drunkenly exhorted every Zimbabwean to get vaccinated. He made his public statement while smiling sheepishly: ” “ Jungwai . Munhu wese anofanira kujungwa ”

4. At one time, ED said the government would arrest anyone whose house was found with roaches and other creeping insects: “ Tichasunga munhu wese ane musha une mapete ”

5. When Zimbabweans complained of high prices of goods and services, Mnangagwa urged them to equally hike the prices of whatever they were selling themselves, adding that those who had no price to hike should hike their own trousers and pants: “ Kana_ usina chokukwidza kwidza bhurungwa ”

*6.*Upon his return from the COP26 summit in Scotland, where his minions appeared with trolleys laden with whiskey bottles, Mnangagwa, with the exhilaration of an impressionable teenager, told a shocked nation that at last he had shaken hands with US President Joe Biden and the then British Premier Boris Johnson. A rookie in the world of diplomacy, Mnangagwa naively expressed gratitude that the two leaders had smiled back at him when he greeted them: ” Ndakavakwazisa vakanyemwera ”

Thanks to the leaked million dollar video, and a previous one when he was visibly drunk, Zimbabweans now have some insight into the state ED was in when he made these infamous, drunken utterances referred to a above.

Leaders that drank themselves silly

Many Zimbabweans rightly or wrongly believe ED was drunk. If so, Mnangagwa has certainly not broken any new ground as a good number of African Presidents were famed imbibers. But of course, that he is not alone in this embarrassing penchant for the bottle is no defence!

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Closer home, Edgar Lungu, Zambia’s former President— a key ally and friend to our own ED—drinks like a fish, including during the time he was in office.

In March 2015, less than two months after taking over from Michael Sata who died in office, Lungu collapsed on the podium while presiding over a Women’s Day celebration in Lusaka.

In 2013 while he was Home Affairs Minister, Lungu was exposed by fellow Patriotic Front officials who provided Zambian media with a photo of Lungu having lunch with other officials. Beneath the table on which they were having their lunch was a crate of beer.

In 2019, Lungu dismissed all reports of him being a heavy guzzler of the wise waters. While acknowledging that he did take some alcohol “ with moderation ”, he said reports that he was close friends with the bottle were a smear campaign by his enemies.

In May 2013, while on a visit to Ethiopia for the 50th anniversary summit of the African Union in Addis Ababa, the then Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan missed his slot to address the conference because he was too drunk to walk.

Apparently, he had spent the entire night drinking after he received some not-so-good news about a State election loss back home in Nigeria.

Early in the year 2013, I had the privilege to accompany the then Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai across Africa to meet some key Heads of State ahead of our own election in July of the same year. We met with President Jonathan late in the night in Abuja.

As I sat in that meeting, I could see the red eyes and a visible restlessness characterised by a frequent clasping and unclasping of hands. With the benefit of hindsight, one could surmise that maybe, just maybe, Goodluck had had one too many that eerie night.

They say former Kenya President Uhuru Kenyatta just loves his whiskey. At one time, he reportedly gave a public speech while visibly drunk. In fact, they say the then President Kenyatta’s favourite drink was not actually beer but whisky, especially Jameson and John Walker Green Label.

In 2017, Kenyatta was photographed drinking a glass of beer at a plant where he officially opened a private brewery. He had been offered just a sip of the brew after he inspected the facility with Kenya Breweries Limited management.

Instead of a simple sip, Kenyatta took one huge gulp to the surprise of everyone, draining the whole mug without flinching even once.

Uhuru’s father, Kenya’s founding father Mzee Jomo Kenyatta, they say, loved roasted goat ribs downed with a glass of muratina, a traditional Kenyan honey beer.

Mwai Kibaki, a one time President of Kenya, is also famed for his frequent thirst for cold beer. In his heyday as a Cabinet minister in Daniel Arap Moi’s government, Kibaki was a regular drinker. He is known to have frequented various entertainment spots in Nairobi, including red light districts. He however was forced to quit the habit following a serious car accident in 2002.

Milton Obote, the man who led Uganda to independence in 1962 from British colonialists served as Prime Minister from 1962 to 1966 then as President from 1966 to 1971. In January 1971, Obote was overthrown by army general Idi Amin while on a State visit to Singapore. Apollo Milton Obote died in 2005.

Media reports claim he died of a stroke, or anaemia, or liver damage, or kidney failure. Other reports, however, indicate that his death could have been alcohol-related.

Obote was well known for alcoholism. President Yoweri Museveni makes reference to Obote’s drinking habits in his biography Sowing The Mustard Seed

Jackie Chan’s Drunken Master movie series remains an epic watch across the globe. Ardent movie fanatics have been held rapt by the shockingly prudent stunts the renowned martial arts icon performs in the series and how he beats his opponents while in a high state of inebriation.

Since a jaw-dropping video of a drunken Emmerson Mnangagwa first leaked into the public domain some time ago , many Zimbabweans have been boldly swearing their putschist leader could yet give Jackie Chan a run for his money for his drunkenness if not for anything else.

ED showcased his own unique stunts in the leaked drunken video that gone viral in the country and beyond a year or so ago.

His million dollar video made me watch again the earlier video when he was visibly drunk, which I wrote about at the time.

The optics told their own drunken story:—- the goblin, trademark scarf was not strangling the neck as usual. In its place was an unknotted, dangling pink neck-tie that hung loosely across the old, creaking alabaster shoulders while on his face lay a sheepish, stupendous grin that betrayed a vacuously blank mind as two aides held his outstretched hands. The aides are seen accosting him to what looked like a reluctant podium that appeared not keen to host one so highly inebriated!

My 11-year old daughter Lee-Anne Tapiwanashe is a movie addict and one of her favourite blockbusters is Legend of the Drunken Master in which an intensely intoxicated Jackie Chan, who stars as Wong Fei Hung, competently dishes it out to an international criminal cartel that was underpaying Chinese workers and stealing Chinese cultural treasure.

When I watched ED’s leaked video at the time, and as I watched it again after his recent million dollar stunt, my mind quickly went back to Legend of the Drunken Master , a Golden Harvest Presentation produced by HongKong Stuntman Association Limited Productions.

Only Mnangagwa, unlike Jackie Chan, was not dishing it out to any of his international allies in the criminal underworld who are extracting the Zimbabwe’s vast mineral resources and salting away the proceeds to their offshore accounts.

Hell no. Mnangagwa was not dishing anything out like Jackie Chan. All evidence pointed to the fact that if anything, he had dished into his old body all the beer brands that were available during that scholarship launch at State House.

At that function, ED ironically proved himself an ardent scholar of the wise waters and a keen imbiber of the intoxicating products of the world’s renowned breweries.

Indeed, ED may well have equally launched his own scholarship and announced—in his own unique way—his entry into the infamous alumni of world leaders who are remembered for their intense drinking habit.

Now it appears he was at it again.


Lastly, the question still remains after his million dollar stunt. Is ED illiterate, is he a clown or he was drunk, as usual?

More importantly, is the man fit for office? Can we send him to represent the country at the highest level and still expect him to do so with the high reproach befitting the highest office in our land?

Hell No.

However, we are lucky that in a few months time, we have the perfect opportunity to vote him out and send him home to perform his silly stunts while playing with his grandchildren.

Luke Tamborinyoka is a citizen from Domboshava. He is by profession a journalist and a political scientist. He is also a change champion in the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC ). You can interact with him through his Facebook page or via the twitter handle @ luke_tambo.