Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe is feared for more than one reason.
At the age of 89, Mugabe recently had a seventh dan black belt, also known as “kyoshi”, conferred on him by the World Bino Ryu Karate Do Organisation.
Mugabe was handed the belt at the February 21 Movement Celebrations.
The association gave Mugabe its highest honour for the “peace and tranquillity that persists in Zimbabwe”.
A statement by the grandmaster, Santanu Srinivasan, reads: “It is a great honour and privilege to award the seventh dan black belt and the title ‘kyoshi’ (professor of professors) to your excellency the head of state of Zimbabwe.
“The seventh degree Shichidan black belt is the highest honour to be bestowed on an individual and it is fitting for Mugabe... who will be among other heads of states and governments to be accorded this status.”
Mugabe, who in the past declared he had “degrees in violence”, has since taken a different approach, preaching peace ahead of watershed elections this year.
But his call has been overshadowed by the recent wave of political violence orchestrated by his Zanu-PF party.
The World Bino Ryu Karate Do Organisation originates from India, Zimbabwe’s main partner in the diamond trade.
The belt is seen as a diplomatic charm offensive. In the conferment statement, the association praised Mugabe’s revolutionary past, educational reforms and political prowess. – Nhlalo Ndaba