This story is over 5 years old.

Question Of The Day

Do You Know Who Robert Mugabe Is?

"Yeah, rings a bell."

(Photo via)

Robert Mugabe has been elected as the president of Zimbabwe for his seventh consecutive time. However, "elected" might be kind of misleading; just like every other time he's come to power, the man who once called gay people "worse than pigs and dogs" has drawn criticism for using violence, extreme intimidation and vote rigging to grant himself the top job.

I wanted to know whether the people of London were aware of this (and I really hoped they were because it was literally all over the news), so I went to ask them a question: Do you know who Robert Mugabe is?


Raefer: Yes, I do.

VICE: What can you tell me about him?
He’s the dictator of Zimbabwe; he’s just won his seventh term.

Yeah. A lot of people are saying it was a dodgy election. What do you think of that?
Well, it's same as before. Nothing’s changed on the ground, so you can’t expect a different outcome. He controls all the political machinery – the elections commission. There can only be one outcome if it’s not free and fair. It might have been free of violence compared to previous elections, but just because it’s free and fair on the basis of violence doesn’t mean that it’s free and fair in terms of presentation.

Pierre: No, I don't.

Okay then. Cheers.

Christian: Yes – he’s been re-elected as president of Zimbabwe and there’s a lot of opposition saying that the election was… questionable. He’s been in power for a little over 30 years and been accused of murder on a grand scale. Perhaps he doesn’t order it directly, but the way that he’s done it is to force people into starvation, so he’s a highly controversial figure. Somebody even tried a citizen’s arrest on him – I remember that.

Shame it didn’t work.
Yeah. Mugabe denies these allegations in interviews, but the rest of the world doesn’t see him like that.

The rest of the world? Britain included?
They [the British government] won’t go in and remove him, but he’s a figure they’ll do business with if it’s a means to an end, like a lot of dictators. They’re not happy to have him in in there, but there are happy to work with them.


Should we be getting involved and trying to kick him out, then?
Well, you have to have some sort of moral standpoint. If you think the election is a shame, then obviously – at the very least – they should enforce sanctions against him, if they haven’t already.

Salem: Yeah, rings a bell.

Is he corrupt?
Maybe, but he knows all about the Western corruption, too: the diamond money, who’s doing the under the table arms dealing. They know he’s the devil, but they can’t get rid of him easily.

What would you call Mugabe? A dictator? A ruler?
Half and half. What started in Tunisia in 2011 – and has happened in Chad and Libya and now Egypt – it’s all related.

Will that spread to Zimbabwe?
You never know. But as long as he has money and all the media on his side, I don’t know.

Lewis: He’s a politician in Africa, right?

Yeah, in Zimbabwe.
Didn’t he rig an election?

He's been accused of it a few times, yeah. 
Oh yeah. He’s been in power for seven terms and he’s been pronounced as a bit dodgy.

That's the one. How does he get away with it? Why do we let it go on?
Well, it’s not exactly us that let him get away with it. We just stand on the side-lines like how British people normally do; they don’t get involved in those sorts of things. We sit on the fence to get away from trouble.

So we just don’t care?

Previously - What's the Weirdest Thing You've Ever Celebrated?