Journalist Adeola Fayehun explained her attempts to interview President Mugabe of Zimbabwe at a Sahara TV panel on Saturday. She explained that she was surprised that the other journalists at Eagle Square only asked him to smile for the cameras. When she got access to Mugabe afterwards, she decided to question the President.
“I wasn’t trying to make news, I was just trying to ask at least one question on how long this would be, when will you [Mugabe] step down as president”, she explained.
The Zimbabwean President is often hard to get hold of, and does not often grant interviews. As he finishes his 6th term in power, many have wondered if the 90 year old can perform the duties of the office, especially as Zimbabwe faces economic problems and a disturbing human rights record, especially towards opposition activists, politicians and journalists. The question of whether any person should rule for 6 terms in a republican democracy has also been raised.
Lance Guma, speaking on the same panel, lauded Adeola. Guma is an exiled Zimbabwean journalist living in the UK. “A lot of people are happy that someone had the courage to ask the obvious questions,” he declared.
The Zimbabwean Minister of Information had led the backlash to Adeola’s questioning, insisting that she had disrespected the President and jeopardized his security by questioning him so aggressively. Adeola insisted that she had no desire to claim the limelight.
“I wasn’t trying to make news, I was just trying to ask at least one question on how long this would be, when will you [Mugabe] step down as president”, she insisted.
Guma insisted that Moyo had missed the point. “All she [Adeola Fayehun] did was ask questions that our own Information Minister [Moyo] asked in 2005.”
“There is no different whatsoever in the questions asked so I do not think simply asking someone when they are going to step down, why there is no democracy in Zimbabwe can constitute a breach of security”, he pointed out.
As Fungai Maboreke, the thrid panelist concluded, Adeola had brought up a question that was important. “I think at this point, its the length of time and this continuous persistence of trying to keep running the country”, he explained. “You can clearly see that you [Mugabe] failed on all sectors, he opined, pointing out that “people want to try and understand why at that age after enjoying such a lustrous career.”