Sorry Gushungo

RECENTLY our dear president Robert Mugabe, the most enduring comrade, loving husband to her eminence Comrade Doctor Amai Grace Mugabe and conqueror of the evil Western imperialists fell from a short flight of steps at Harare International Airport.

According to the official line, Mugabe inevitably tripped due to a poorly laid carpet.

Tripping is not particularly a preserve or attribute of any age group.

The whole spectrum of humans from toddlers to those endowed with longevity and from the physically frail to the extremely fit can accidentally trip and fall.

However, for people over 60 to experience more than normal episodes of falls.

Human beings become more susceptible to falls when their balance mechanism is either structurally or functionally impaired.

Visual impairment can send distorted and unreliable sensory input to the brain resulting in dizziness and vertigo.

Surely Zimbabwe’s Ministry of State for Liaising on Psychomotor Activities and Vocational Training can explain this phenomenon better.

Mugabe is almost 91, suffers from visual impairment and he was probably fatigued due to a punishing schedule in Addis Ababa.

This could have militated towards him misjudging the steps leading to an embarrassing fall.

His medical team should be advising him to start accepting that being old is not an insult, but it is a blessing.

He should accept the health hazards that come with advanced age. More importantly he should stop pretending to be as young, his absent wife Grace.

The other major cause of falls in humans is the influence of substances such as drugs and alcohol.

It can only be malicious speculation that Mugabe took alcohol and other substances to celebrate his elevation to the African Union chairmanship.

The idea that he could have taken some medications or stimulants to enable his frail body to match his hectic responsibilities lingers on. Only those close to him know what he takes to give him an artificial sense of fitness.

Physics tells us that an object with a high centre of gravity is more likely to topple over if it is tilted or when slightly pushed.

The design nature of humans is such that their centre of gravity is high when standing. Humans usually compensated for this design flaw by the coordination of the senses and limbs.

Our two feet enable us to manipulate the centre of gravity downwards for stability. Keeping the feet together while negotiating a flight of stairs is a cocktail for a tumbling disaster.

In the case of the president, it is highly unlikely that he was pushed by one of the details from his close protection team.

The men and women who protect Mugabe rely on him for their sustenance and survival.

It is seditious and malicious to suggest that one of the over-paid, over-zealous and over-fed members of the protection team would think of giving the president a deliberate or accidental nudge from behind.

On this occasion, it was Mugabe’s turn to fall! It was a rare spectacle of the president of Zimbabwe going through an incident just like normal people do.

Within Zanu PF, the combative approach is to portray Mugabe as infallible, free from age-related ailments and always as fit as a fiddle. The party’s view was that the incident sent signals of both Mugabe’s and Zanu PF’s fallibility.

In the eyes of the staunch of the staunchest in Zanu PF, Mugabe cannot fall and if he has to do so, it should not be in front of glaring cameras.

The party maintains a wacky and an uneasy approach to members of its hierarchy falling.

Augustine Chihuri had to blame the wrong type and size of footwear when he fell during a police pass-out parade. If Chihuri’s fall raised a stink, imagine how much of a smell Mugabe’s fall would exude?

Humans like us fall and pick themselves up while supposedly superhumans like Mugabe trip and break the fall.

Surely he who is considered infallible cannot and should not be photographically captured doing the unthinkable.

Jonathan Moyo, the propagandist who responds whimsically to all situations, blamed the mishap to shoddy workmanship in the laying of a carpet on the staircase.

The erudite professor aided the proliferation of the issue by stubbornly insisting that even the real son of man who famously walked on top of water would have fallen if he had walked on that carpet. This added a great amount of fuel to what was a small fire.

A flurry of Internet memes lampooned the whole affair with hashtag MugabeFalls trending with unimagined alacrity and fury.

Surely the incident would not have gone viral had it been taken as one of those things that happen to human beings.

Mugabe should be consoled by the knowledge that he is neither the first nor the last president to fall.

In 1975 United States president Gerald Ford tumbled and fell down the Air Force One stairs.

Like Mugabe, Ford did not become a lesser human being.

If propaganda had not been brought to play most people would have been sympathetic to Mugabe’s fall.

Very sorry Gushungo!

Masola waDabudabu is a social commentator

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