Saturday, March 31, 2007

My Week: Robert Mugabe

The life of a dictator is difficult. Often they are so misunderstood, who shall I arrest today? What shall I wear? These questions can cause all sorts of angst, and yes, even self doubt. So what sort of a week has our beloved comrade Robert Mugabe been having?

Monday We are out the back of the sprawling presidential compound, having a relaxed afternoon braai. With three US dollars’ worth of Zimbabwe currency on the fire, the flames have been burning for four hours. And the British say I have harmed this country? “Why do my people no longer love me?” I demand. “What more can I give to them?” I am attended by a team of recent graduates from the University of Zimbabwe. They were given the choice of working for me or going to jail. They are all extremely loyal.

My graduates all shrug, and continue gorging themselves on the barbecue. It is a surprise to see them eat this way. They seem to have adopted this European look that has become popular. Grace, my fashionable wife, calls it “size zero”.

“Maybe it’s an image thing,” suggests one. “Maybe it’s time to ditch the moustache.” I have a moustache?

Tuesday I cannot see this moustache, although my eyes are not what they were. I would ask my fashionable wife, but she has taken the jumbo jet to Paris to see how many shoes she can get for 20,000 hectares of Matabeleland.

The telephone rings. It is little Thabo Mbeki of South Africa. Although I am careful never to exploit this, I am told he is in awe of me, because I am the original hero of southern African independence. Last month he lent me series five of The West Wing on DVD. He keeps calling to ask for it back. “You can’t have it,” I say.

“I understand,” says Thabo, solemnly. “Might I be permitted to ask why?”
“No,” I say. “Go away.” Little Thabo rings off. Later he rings back to apologise.
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