Pot and kettle, Mr Mugabe
William Clowes: Pot and kettle, Mr Mugabe
22 Oct 10

Robert Mugabe: Guardian of electoral integrity. You heard it here first.

Sadly, this new found democratic fervour does not extend itself to Zimbabwe’s next election — just last week the president branded the current power-sharing agreement “foolish and stupid”. Instead, Mugabe’s allies are outraged by the African version of Big Brother. Following the Zimbabwean contestant’s fall at the final hurdle, Mugabe’s office demanded recordings of the show. Mugabe’s nephew, Phillip Chiyangwa, and other loyalists have declared that the voting was not “free and fair” and the Africa-wide voting system by mobile phone was blasted as a “disgrace”.

Fortunately, the injustice done by the Nigerian winner to 24-year-old Munyaradzi Chidzonga, who often appeared draped in the Zimbabwean flag and regularly expressed a desire to meet Mugabe, has been redressed. On his return to Harare and a hero’s welcome, Chidzonga received a high profile meeting with his supportive president and $300,000 raised in donations.

Mugabe and his Zanu-PF party have never been short of audacity, crushing expressions of dissent in everything from elections to cricket. We should not be surprised at this profession of respect for a fair franchise though. Slapstick hypocrisy appears the norm for Mugabe and his party.

The Big Brother incident mirrors Zanu-PF’s pathological aversion to the choices of the populace, especially when the outcome proves inexpedient. It will take quite a shift before we witness a magnanimous departure and hear the words, “Robert, you have been evicted. Please leave the building.”