Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, 93, on Friday told unemployed youths to “go and herd cattle” in the rural areas amid a critical shortage of jobs in the southern African country.
During his election campaign of the 2013 polls, Mugabe promised Zimbabweans that his government would create more than 2.2 million jobs.
However, latest statistics indicated that Zimbabwe had a formal unemployment rate of around 80%.
Addressing his supporters at a rally at Mucheke Stadium in Masvingo, Mugabe said Zimbabwean youths who had no jobs should look for ideas so that they became entrepreneurs.
“We always hear youths from the (opposition Movement for Democratic Change) MDC saying that they do not have jobs. I say to them come to me and I will laugh at them first before telling them to go and herd cattle,” said Mugabe speaking in the vernacular Shona language.
“I encourage you to keep chickens, grow mushroom and keep quails instead of folding your arms and saying there are no jobs. You have to be entrepreneurial, be enterprising.”
Mugabe’s remarks drew criticism from MDC spokesperson Obert Gutu who accused the nonagenarian of lacking seriousness.
“Of course, Mugabe can’t be serious. It’s quite possible that he is losing his senses. No serious minded and responsible head of state can utter such outrageous nonsense,” said Gutu.
“This clearly proves, beyond a shadow of doubt that Mugabe is no longer fit for purpose. He is not even conscious of the agony and suffering that millions of unemployed youths go through each and every day of their lives. With a president like Robert Mugabe, who needs enemies?”
Mugabe also urged Zimbabweans to do more fish farming and warned new black farmers and traditional chiefs that they should not allow displaced white farmers to come back “and till the land”.
“We chased away these white farmers a long time and we don’t want a situation where you bring them back so that they work on the land while you (black farmers) are sleeping in the comfort of your homes in Harare or Bulawayo, No,” said Mugabe.