President of ZimbabweNext
- In-Country Power
- International Power
- Military Strength
- Special Skill: State Self-Destructor
- Official Title: President
- Government: Dictatorship
- Years Left in Office: Life
- Political Classification: Extreme-right
- Education: BA in Administration & Education; BS, MS in Law
- Age: 99 (born February 21, 1924)
Robert Mugabe Facts and Information
- Mugabe is now one of the longest-serving living heads of state
- Mugabe's ZANU-PF political party controls virtually all aspects of government and economy in Zimbabwe.
- Mugabe has overseen the utter devolution and destruction of his country in the last decade, a situation he 100% completely blames on 'the West'
- Mugabe is the poster-child for problems of political corruption in Africa
The African man with the African plan….for total self-destruction of a country that is! Out of Harare, Zimbabwe, the Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and his ZANU-PF political party have held control of his country for over three decades….and has many times promised the world that he will survive in office forever and ever, no matter what ‘the West’, the African Union, or even the people of his own country do to get rid of him. Wow. What a testament to controlled use of power and democratic principles. And all while his country is being completely flushed down the shit-pipes. Thus: he is a serious asshole.
Some background: this dude actually used to be a good guy! Mugabe led the struggle for independence of his country from British colonial power back in 1980. And they did it. He was a hero. As such, he was elected president and he and ZANU-PF initially helped Zimbabwe create a decent government and a thriving economy. But that was decades ago, and good ol’ Robert has held power for 30 years…and that is where the problem arises. Mugabe is the best living example of one of Africa’s most pressing problems: corruption that power brings. So many of Africa’s presidents are popularly elected, and then find the power so intoxicating that they cannot bring themselves to relinquish it when the time comes for another election. Most of the longest ruling ‘presidents’ in the world are out of Africa; many have ruled for decades, and several like Mugabe, are continuing to increase their records as every day passes. No matter how destructive their rule may be to the folks in their country. The true mark of an asshole.
So why the hullabaloo? Why is this dude even in the news, and why does the UK, the US and possibly the wider world even care about this country? Well, Zimbabwe was trucking along at a pretty good clip for its first 2 decades?it was even a model for positive growth in Sub-Saharan Africa for a while. Then for various reasons including an economic recession and an unpopular war with Congo, Mugabe’s popularity started to slip a bit, and other political parties started more aggressively to challenge his long-standing leadership. Here’s where it gets interesting and international….
As a counter move in 1999-2000, Mugabe thought of a brilliant tactic to re-gain his popularity: to take land and possessions from the wealthy white minority and give them to the black majority. A genius ‘populist’ strategy! It was spun as a reparations or ‘re-indigenization’ plan that would fix all the problems of the colonial past, make up for all the British mistakes, and make the black majority love him again. And if those whities accidentally get beaten or killed during the process, oh well! Mugabe and his crew turned a blind eye to violence, intimidation, looting and murder…and even touted the plan internationally as a viable way to right old colonial wrongs. Of course the only real beneficiaries of this ‘redistribution’ plan were all of Robert’s ZANU-PF buddies. Corrupt-ass crony capitalism at its worst. The cads!
This caused widespread violence, which caused domestic turmoil, which caused further economic breakdown, which caused international investors to haul ass out of the country. Because what company in their right mind is going to open a plant in a country whose government is openly encouraging its people to steal everything? It also caused international outcry which led to an international embargo and sanctions against the country. The IMF, World Bank, multi-national corporations, the UN, EU, US, UK all refused to play or pay for anything in this totally corrupt and disintegrating state. And now you know why they are poor?and getting poorer by the day.
Now the Plaid Avenger is not going to debate whether these policies were good, fair, or just ways to combat African poverty. Quite frankly I don’t know. But what I do know is that when any state leader advocates and allows?and even encourages?violence against a minority, it is never a good thing. Never. Ever. Did you hear me say never? It never works out well.
So as international criticism against this guy has grown, what has he done to prove them wrong? Well, he has continued to solidify his hold on power constitutionally. He has helped thwart and discredit all other political opposition. He has destroyed the independent press. He has rigged elections and leveled shantytowns. He has denied the a cholera plague swept through Zimbabwe, and perhaps millions of people have fled the country. He has jailed opposition leaders, and then they mysteriously get the shit kicked out of them while they are in jail. Starting to get the picture here? Mugabe has become the ‘African voice that hates the West’, which routinely gets him visits from folks like Hugo Chavez et al. President Mugabe denounces ‘the West’ as trying to reestablish colonial rule, as well as blaming them for the impoverished state of his own country. Its always refreshing to see a world leader blame every single thing wrong with his country on nefarious outside forces….what a joke.
Robert has spent the better part of this decade watching this worsening scenario unfold while still throwing lavish birthday parties for himself at the presidential palace and going to regional and international meetings with his gigantic security entourage. Lot of good that has done: international sanctions have increased, economy has tanked, inflation has skyrocketed to 1700%, and health conditions deteriorated. Great Robert! Your people are starving to death, and you are berating all world leaders who disagree with your actions. What a brave, bold voice for Africa you are! But I guess its not hard to be bold and brave when you live in a big palace and never want for hunger or security or hookers or whatever the hell else you want. Must be nice.
The pressure from inside and out did initiate a ‘free-er’ election in 2008…in which the opposition party (the Movement for Democratic Change, MDC) promptly won, and Mugabe and his minions promptly refused to recognize, and then they jailed/tortured a bunch of the MDC guys just for good measure. Of course they then held a run-off election in which Mugabe easily won. Surprise, surprise. In an effort to make this sham-democracy appear valid, in 2009 they agreed to a power-sharing deal in which Mugabe is still in charge, but the opposition MDC was awarded the Prime Minister position and several cabinet posts. Its still too early to call, but this appears to me to be yet another meaningless sham which keeps Bob and the ZANU still entrenched in the real power….but with a sweet facade of supposed power-sharing.
However, the cracks in ZANU-PF, as well as Mugabe face, are starting to show now and the group may be turning on each other as the jackals decide who gets to take over when Mugabe kicks the bucket. This, along with the power-sharing deal, has started to melt the international freeze towards Zimbabwe. The IMF is getting ready to re-start loans, and even the EU and US are re-starting diplomatic talks soon. So he is the completely corrupt leader of a crumbling state that has no real political or economic power in the region nor in the world…which does not make him unique in the slightest. So why bother knowing this dude?
Here is why Mugabe is an important figure to know: he is the prototypical poster-child of populist politics and cronyism and corruption that is the biggest problem for Africa as a whole. As the poster-child, he has become the target of the US, the UK, the UN, the IMF, and various other ‘western’ international institutions who are frustrated with this type of corruption and lack of democracy. What’s worse, in an effort to support their fellow African ‘brother’, the other leaders of Sub-Sahara African states have largely turned a blind eye to all these shenanigans…thereby becoming complicit in the death and destruction of this once-prosperous country. Stop the madness!
I mean, I understand that the outside world has not exactly been that kind or beneficial to Africa as a whole throughout history. I understand why other African leaders would want to stand up and show solidarity for one of their own, sticking up for African interest in the face of Western opposition….but come on! At some point even that becomes a moot point, and Mugabe has made Zimbabwe as moot as it gets! Nobel peace laureate and Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa has called Mugabe a ‘Frankenstein’ monster and actually called for international intervention to save the country…you got to love the Tutu! Peace laureate and priest calling for Mugabe to get a kick in the nuts? Are you kidding me? That is priceless! I throw in my lot with Tutu. What are you waiting for Zuma and Kabila and Mandela? And you too Don Cheadle!
So Mugabe madness and how the international community deals with him is an interesting indicator of how events of the future will play out on the planet. Is it feasible that the UN or ‘the West’ would physically intervene to save people from their own leaders in the future? We have seen that an active leader who commits war crimes like genocide will be acted against by the world (i.e. Slobodan Milo?evi? of Yugoslavia, Robert Taylor of Liberia et al.). Will the future of humanitarian intervention against state leaders include economic tyranny or political corruption? Hmmm…no one knows yet. And Robert Mugabe has came as close to anyone so far to finding out! But his old ass is still safe in the palace for now, and he has continued to fight against ‘the West’ and run for office again next election…..at which point he will be 90. Ew.
So know you know why Robert Mugabe is such a villain in the western press, why his country completely sucks giraffe hair, and why his particular situation is one to watch for future international policy. This octogenarian octopus has still got his tentacles in the international scene!
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