- 15th November, 2017
News comes today that troops are in the streets of Harare and the Kleptocrat-for-Life, Robert Mugabe is under ‘house arrest’ in his Neo-Rococo-Mafioso official residence. Normally, this would comprise grounds for rejoicing, but as details emerge, it seems any celebration would far too premature.
Zimbabwe is still beautiful in many ways, and well-endowed with nature’s bounty. Most of its people are as generous and kindly as any, and they’ve been brave too… they’ve had to be.
Back in 1980 when Rhodesia had become Zimbabwe, Mugabe had been part of a coalition of Black African leaders who had survived the 15-year civil war, but had emerged as Moscow’s man on the spot. In true Soviet style, he eventually picked off Canaan Banana (the first president) and Joshua Nkomo (head of a rival party to Mugabe’s); put up some heroic statuary, ignored election results he didn’t like – all of them – and set up a strong-arm state.
George Orwell’s Animal Farm soon came to life as Mugabe’s ZAPU (Zimbabwe African People’s Union) pigs soon proved to be far more equal than all other pigs. Marxism can forgive kleptocracy by party’ thieves, but when thieves join the party in numbers all hope is lost. Mugabe was only too happy to blame the former White administration and ‘colonialism’ for all of Zimbabwe’s woes, but must have found the electoral preference by the Black majority for White candidates to be embarrassing.
Zimbabwe wasn’t always quite that bad, Mugabe did put in the appearance of being conciliatory when first appointed Prime Minister in 1980, but power corrupts, and nowhere does it corrupt so thoroughly as it does in Africa. In any event, many of the awards and honours extended to Mugabe in the 1980s have since been revoked; almost all of the commercial and technological elite (educated Whites) have long since fled, and Zimbabwe’s economy collapsed.
Time catches up to all tyrants, and Robert Mugabe is now 93. His wife (his second) is known as ‘Gucci Grace’ and his children aren’t much better when it comes to mounting conspicuous displays of wealth in a nation with a per capita GDP of $908 – still far below where it had been, 57 years ago in 1960. ZAPU has come to think of itself as the perpetual governing party, and has been wondering about which one of its not-so-skilled technocrats would be the successor in waiting to the old thief.
The word has been that Mugabe’s wife was stating that she would be his successor, but Mugabe had apparently promised the job to Emmerson Mnangagwe, his vice president. Last week, Mnangagwe had been sacked, ran off to South Africa, but – lo and behold – has just returned to Harare this very day.
In the meantime, the Zimbabwean Army has announced that it is deeply concerned about the ‘Thieves’ around Mugabe… it is nice to know they have finally noticed after decades of deeply embedded corruption. The Army’s chief of staff has declared that this is not a coup, but that the military is there “to pacify a degenerating political, social and economic situation in our country, which if not addressed may result in violent conflict.”
Indeed, and no doubt the good general is “shocked, shocked to find that corruption and inefficiency is going on here!” The long-suffering people of Zimbabwe are smart enough not to hold their breath as they wait for change.
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