President Robert Mugabe is referred to in many ways, mostly extremely uncomplimentary – unless you are a follower such as our own president – and, to be fair, he has worked hard at earning the scorn and verbal abuse. But to add to the ever-growing list of criticism must be “party animal”.
Four weeks after his 90th birthday he is still celebrating surrounded by cringing sycophants and praise singers. There is even a “movement” called the February 21st Movement in respect of his birthday that has for years held parties in his honour. For the occasion the party jackals all wear their uniform, which consists of a red neck-scarf, to identify themselves with the uncomfortable spectacle. Julius Malema would be proud of such worship and may even consider adding the neck-scarf to his red-beret uniform.
The latest gathering of Mugabe worshipers last week was with various civil servants where he was described as “a messenger of God”, an indication perhaps that they are fast running out of innovative superlatives of ingratiating loyalty. They are eternally bonded together by crimes of the past living in fear of retribution.
Accepting the adoration with insincere magnanimity, the President basked in the glory and emboldened by the moment indicated that he was looking for a pay rise in April. Not satisfied with having a home fit for a billionaire which cost the few taxpayers more than US$15million and includes 25 bedrooms with bathrooms and spas, and his regular US$5 000 per month “salary”, Mugabe expects more from the bankrupt economy. While the citizens battle to survive the leader of the revolution of old still claims the spoils of corruption presently enjoyed by his comrades-in-sleaze.
The emperor may well get his new clothes but his promise of wage reviews for all civil servants will remain a pipe dream for one simple reason – there is no money.
The country has run out of reserves, investors and financiers. Even the new friends from the East, China, turned down a recent desperate request for financial help as the country is unable to repay any of the debt it has accumulated in the recent past.
Times are tough, really tough, though Mugabe will not take that as gospel. Once they have packed their red neck-scarves away for a year his sycophantic government will be tasked with raising the money. He has to raise that money or he will have serious problems of dissatisfaction in the pack. Even jackals have to eat and for that they need a regular and ever-increasing amount of money.
Watch this space for further egregious episodes.