His Excellency President Robert Mugabe has been dictating a regime of fear and violence in Zimbabwe for 32 years. The fact that nobody voted for him or wants him there at all is rendered entirely irrelevant by the sheer level of political corruption in my country. Mugabe still does whatever the fuck he wants – he holds and postpones elections to suit himself and releases delayed results when he’s done rigging the votes. Now the man who once said "let me be Hitler, ten fold" is even giving two fingers up to cancer, defying, too, the WikiLeakers whose info predicted he'd be dead by 2013.
This little girl isn't a fan of Mugabe.
Four years ago this month, he reluctantly signed a power-sharing agreement with opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai. Which was pretty swell on Morgan’s behalf, considering Mugabe’s cronies routinely dangled him from tenth-storey windows, regularly arrested and tortured him and killed off half his family before they could be persuaded to sit round a negotiating table.
Anyway, since then, things have been on a slow, uphill climb. Shops gradually filled and daily commodities are no longer luxuries. Except for electricity and water, which aren’t overly necessary anyway, right?
Fuel queues have gone from week-long waits to non-existent. The Zimbabwe dollar has been replaced with the American and now hundred trillion dollar notes are a laughable memory. Though, at the time, working in hexillions and carrying around duffle bags of cash wasn't as fun as it sounds. It was hard to keep up, so when the numbers got too big they just knocked six zeros off, printed new money and started over. Hyper-Zimflation. The new currency is a lot more wieldy, but on the downside street kids can’t be millionaires any more, which is pretty sad :(
Also forgotten is the cholera epidemic of 2008, which Mugabe relentlessly denied even as his people dropped like flies (from cholera) all around him. Even the land invasions, where pro-Mugabe bastards burnt down or descrated farms after brutally beating their white owners, are becoming part of a particularly shitty national history (though that may be because there aren't many farms left).
The "African peasants" that the President promised would benefit from the farm reclamations were actually the families and friends of gluttonous Ministers, but now Mugabe has relocated his loyalties to the Chinese.
The Chinese influence is apparent in Zimbabwe. I go down into the centre of town and there are a ton of them just hanging out in the streets. I don't know exactly what it is that they do, but they always seem to be pretty busy, which is maybe unsurprising given that Mugabe has apparently put most of the economy and natural resources under Chinese control. The result has been constant strikes from workers complaining of poor working conditions and physical abuse. Oh, and the near extinction of the rhino population. Zimbabwe is not quite a colony, but it’s become difficult to distinguish its independence. And this sucks because we kind of need the wealth to be reinvested into Zimbabwe before everyone dies from poverty and all we have left are two Chinas.
The Chinese influence can also be seen in the intimidation methods that thrive when elections approach. Unlike the rest of Africa, where machete massacres and child soldiers are the attack modes of choice, Mugabe’s military militia use slow torture for the best results.
They are given assignments to "bring hell" to anti-Mugabe areas and brag about murder and rape. One notorious youth militia leader, who cleverly goes by the name "Black Jesus", explained that “the community needs to be taught a lesson. It needs re-education. We want people to come forward and confess [to not supporting Mugabe]… you want a change of government? We must hit and kick you until you die.”
That's not an exaggeration. Mugabe's thugs beat buttocks to the bone with iron rods, burn the soles from your feet, force you to deep throat red-hot fire pokers and even attach live wires to your man junk. They go into rural schools and pour boiling oil over children’s clenched hands to permanently seal them into the symbolic fist of ZANU-PF, his party. Which, moronically, is disabling the country’s future voting tools, so God knows what kind of use that is to anybody.
A cheque for Z$253,680,000,000,000,000.00.
During these four years of endless fixing and power sharing, ZANU-PF and the opposition party, MDC-T, have been drafting a constitution for a new Zimbabwe. A constitutional referendum was meant to be held in June 2011, but Mugabe postponed it to October. Then he postponed it again for a year. Next month was meant to be the moment that all Zimbabweans have been waiting for, but he decided, yet again, that he wasn’t ready.
He has refused to agree with legal homosexuality, same-sex marriage and dual citizenship. Most importantly, he has disagreed with having to name a running mate. This would basically be like naming a successor and, of course, the old man is a power junkie, so he didn't really feel like doing that.
The people of Zimbabwe are desperate to knock this tyrant from his pedestal and wait impatiently for the arrival of the ever-delayed presidential elections. But, with those elections usually come campaigns of violence, mutilation and slaughter. Not so far back, the red berets (the merciless, North Korea-trained 5th Brigade) could be seen looking bored in the back of pick-ups with no shit to stir. But brutality surged this year with the anticipation of ballot boxes, and worse is to be expected from the deferment. I live behind a ZANU-PF "re-education" camp, which basically means I fall asleep to the sound of screams, and now there’s another year of that to look forward to. And for what? To watch blood spill while Mugabe decides how much he'd like to win by this time.
If, by some freak Jesus miracle, Mugabe doesn’t win, nobody knows what to expect. The man’s no saint, but a greater evil could spawn from his defeat. Speculation has it that Mugabe’s not much more than a figurehead these days, anyway. He’s old as fuck and acting as a puppet for his fat cat military men. Extensive rumours even claim that he’s already dead and Zimbabweans have had the wool pulled over their eyes by body doubles for years. Some famous guy once said, “Rather the devil you know than the devil you don’t.” Maybe we should look that guy up and give him a listen.
Either way, it’s clear that Mugabe is shitting himself over what’s in store. This is the closest he’s come to losing his empire and all this postponement is a frantic attempt to clutch at straws. He’s had protection in spades since the get go, but his deadly motorcade and crazy artillery won’t protect him from the future. His ability to prevaricate is unmatched and years of dodging death have left his people and his country run into the ground. It’s high time Mugabe went to hell.
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