The manager of the safari camp has bet me 15 coconuts that Robert Mugabe will be ready for embalming before the year is out. He certainly looks overdue if recent photos are anything to go by. Yet Mugabe is telling his followers that he plans to live to 100, by which time he might resemble the skull and crossbones on a pirate flag. Zanu PF could then create a new party emblem called the “Jolly Robert” to terrify their opponents into submission.
My jungle instincts tell me that a man of Mugabe’s character has too much demonic energy to die of natural causes. He feels the world is against him, which makes him cussed and resilient, capable of puffing out defiant rhetoric until his enemies have run out of steam.
Enemy Number 1 is the former colonial power, which he refers to as the “Gay United Kingdom”. Relations hit rock bottom during a private visit to London in 1999, when a gay rights campaigner jumped into his limousine and tried to arrest him. Mugabe was badly shaken by the incident, believing, in his vanity, that he was about to be molested. Every since then he has railed against the British government and its “gay gangsters” for orchestrating a queer conspiracy against him.
Many Zimbabweans, of course, believe that Mugabe himself is a repressed homosexual, like Mr Garrison in South Park. There is certainly something rather camp about him when he pontificates and postures in one of his brightly-coloured shirts. My own theory is that his hatred of gay men originates from his dealings with the late Canaan Banana, his old Zanu PF comrade, who gave him regular prostate examinations. When it was later discovered that Banana was a gay date rapist, Mugabe felt violated and humiliated, even though he’d probably enjoyed the examinations as much as Banana.
Perhaps the manager is hoping that an assassin will finish Mugabe off. The cleanest method of dispatch would be to shock him to death with a devastating insult. African autocrats have incredibly fragile egos which can’t handle disrespect from the common rabble. Mugabe was so upset when a policeman used his private toilet that he sent him to prison, even though the poor fellow was desperate. It would be wrong to single out Mugabe for this peculiarly African vice. In neighbouring South Africa, a man was arrested and roughed up for showing Jacob Zuma his middle finger.
In an ideal world, an assassin with an exceptionally wobbly behind would moon at Mugabe during his daily breathing exercises, causing him to expire with his tongue hanging out. Unfortunately, it’s unlikely that the mooner could get close enough to dominate his field of view. A more feasible plan would be hiring a fearless wag to traumatise the tyrant with vulgar abuse from a megaphone.
“Hey Mugabe!” he might boom to get his attention. “Your head is so far up your arse that you don’t know whether you’re talking or farting!”
A scatological barb of that severity should puncture his airbags for good.
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