Zimbabwe strongman Robert Mugabe has to be a journalist's dream, providing that journalist doesn't actually live in Zimbabwe. His incoherent rantings must make headline writers around the world salivate, especially since most politicians stenuously avoid saying anything. The thug accorded a rare interview with a western media outlet, British broadcaster Sky News. Some of his nice observations...
When asked about violence committed against opposition supporters, he said, "You are just looking at violence, alleged violence affecting ZANU PF, what about the other side, have you looked at it also?" This is a cute Orwellian trick since his regime bans most foreign journalists.
Mugabe is one of the world's true masters at cute Orwellian tricks. He equated systematic state- and party-sponsored violence with Britain's Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott confronting a protester.
STUART RAMSAY [Sky reporter]: Trade Union leaders do not get taken out and beaten and left for dead by the police in Britain.
ROBERT MUGABE: I saw Mr Prescott box one person, whether he had been...
STUART RAMSAY: That was a totally different incident. Mr Prescott did not then go and get the police to take that man outside and...
ROBERT MUGABE: Goodness me, you mean the whole prime minister and deputy prime minister beats a person, boxes a person and that person falls down, that is more acceptable than the violence of a small group that might just be mistaken in its own belief that violence will work.
According to Mugabe, Nobel Peace Prize Winner Archbishop Desmond Tutu "is an angry, evil and embittered little bishop." I guess the strongman knows a little something about being an angry, evil, embittered, little man.
He denied that hunger is a problem in Zimbabwe, despite all accounts. When asked to respond to the Archbishop of Bulawayo's accusations concerning hunger and political use of food aid, Mugabe answered, if you can call it an answer, "No, no. That's another Tutu, the bishop, an unholy man, he thinks he is holy and telling lies all the day, every day. Oh come on, 10,000 people, where did they die? Even show me a single person who died of hunger that is." Bulawayo is the largest city in the opposition heartland, not coincidentally.
He distinguished between good white people and bad white people, "The good ones can stay and we have quite a good many good ones who are just and the Britons for one reason or another have that difficulty, psychological difficulty to adjust to rule by blacks. The Afrikaaners in South Africa, no. Yes, you may get a few extremists but they are adjusting and they say they have nowhere to go but perhaps the problem we have about Britons here is they still think Britain is their home, you see. They have two homes, their Zimbabwean home and the British one. In some cases they are three-legged and they have Britain, Zimbabwe, Britain, South Africa."
Given the way Mugabe's goon squads operate, any Zimbabwean, black or white, would be insane not to maintain a foreign residence if they had the means to do so.
How did corruption in Zimbabwe develop? " The same way as it developed in other countries, surely you shouldn't ask that question. Corruption develops, the human being is greedy, in some cases he wants to enrich himself by adopting irregular methods of attaining the wealth he desire and this is what happens. There are thieves who think the shortest way to enriching themselves is by way of possessing that which doesn't belong to them." This tends to happen when a man and party have absolute power for two and a half decades.
Mugabe's personal hatred of British Prime Minister Tony Blair can't be overstated, though he certainly tried. When asked if he was surprised by Blair's visit to Tripoli to visit Col. Gadafhi, a friend of Mugabe's: "Yes, yes I was, I was actually surprised and I knew that the idea was not just to get Libyan oil but also to get Libya to desist from assisting us."
Overall, it was an interesting read. It's always amusing to see the contortions used by criminals like Mugabe and Charles Taylor when they attempt to pass themselves off as decent human beings.