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23.03.2007 General News

Is Old Bob About To Fall?

When President Kufuor returns from Lisbon, he may have to figure out how he might conjure up an emergency miracle, because the national power crisis has now spun hopelessly out of control, Jomo.

Unscheduled and prolonged power cuts continue to make rank nonsense of the national load shedding schedule.

The crisis is certainly one domestic problem the President will have to accord serious attention, even as he is preoccupied with pressing matters of the African Union, and not least, the case of Old Bob in Zim.

Some people say President Kufuor committed his first diplomatic blunder in office as AU Chairman, when he declared in London that Zimbabwe is an embarrassment to the union.

Even the village clown has an opinion and so do I on this matter: Mine is that the President is right on this score.

Most people here are wondering what is up with Bob. After ruling Zimbabwe for a whole millennium, why does the old boy not gracefully go home to snooze in a hammock like every decent-minded octogenarian who has paid his dues?

You cannot help wondering whether it is a problem of chronic senility, plain old psychosis or a case of the old man having been afflicted with that virus which throughout world political history, has created tyrants out of leaders and then driven them to self-ruination.

Do not repeat this yarn to anyone, lest you get us both into big trouble, Jomo: Queen Elizabeth [how I am loving her!], George Bush and Robert Mugabe died and went straight to hell, see? Queen Elizabeth said, "I miss England, I want to call England and see how everybody is doing.”

She called and talked for about five minutes and then turned to the Devil: "Hey, Devil, how much do I owe you?”

“Five million dollars,” says the Devil. The Queen wrote him a cheque and went to sit back in her rocking chair.

George Bush starts screaming, “Hey, it is my turn, buddy! I gotta call The States too!" He called and talked for about two minutes, then he asked: “How much do I owe you, Devil?” The Devil says: "Ten million dollars.” Bush wrote a cheque and went to sit back in his chair.

Now Old Bob starts to bellow for the Devil's attention. “I want to call Zimbabwe too, I want to see how everybody is doing, except Morgan Tsvangirai.”

Mugabe called Zimbabwe and talked for about twenty hours. He talked and talked and talked, then he asked, “Well, Devil, how much do I owe you?”

The Devil says: “One dollar.”

Old Bob stares at the Devil in disbelief. “What! Only one dollar? You think the black man is that poor?”

The Devil explains: “If you make a call from one hell to another hell, you pay local call charges.”

As far as many in the West are concerned, hell is what Mugabe has turned Zimbabwe into. Television reports from Zimbabwe have consistently confirmed this, no?

I suspect that some democrats are scratching their heads in perplexity and trying hard to remind themselves that, although a most tempting consideration, using the military option to drive Old Bob away from office is not the best one.

Why have his people not voted him out of power on the several occasions they had the opportunity? Why? Because the man has evidently consistently exploited incumbency and networked the electoral system to his advantage, in his apparent determination to remain President right up to the grave.

The world has seen some really strange cranks who have ruled nations, Jomo, but Old Bob threatens to beat some of them and that includes even Niyazov.

When the former Soviet Union suddenly began to come apart, the people of Turkmenistan declared independence and by popular vote, elected Niyazov President, only to realise that they had saddled themselves with a most eccentric crank.

What does the man do on assuming office, Jomo? He bans the wearing of beards and the use of car stereos, and renames the month of January after himself and the month of April after his deceased mother.

Amid high levels of poverty, he squanders huge sums of cash on a gold leaf covered statue of himself.

Although his is a largely Moslem country, he permits the sale of alcohol everywhere and even has his portrait on the labels of most brands of vodka produced in Turkmenistan, but imposes hefty on-the-spot fines on people found smoking cigarettes in the streets!

The man is so obsessed with his appearance that even after the age of 60 he keeps dyeing his hair blacker than natural black hair and his portrait is on every banknote.

Toward late 2002, his presidential motorcade was attacked. To show the opposition that a mad man is not necessarily a moron, the man began to do what Old Bob is doing in Zimbabwe — brutally suppressing the opposition.

He died in 2005 at 66 of a heart attack leaving behind the infamous legacy of prisons bursting at the seams with political detainees and adding to the growing list of strange characters who have ruled their people throughout history.

Supporters of Old Bob say the man is neither a crank nor a dictator, but an African leader reacting naturally to persecution from the West with a little help from the political opposition at home.

They insist the problem in Zimbabwe has its roots in the land distribution programme Old Bob undertook years ago, which appalled the West.

Some say the roots of the problem date farther back to the days when Zimbabwe was called Rhodesia and a white man called Mr Smith was in power.

In his senile misjudgment and defiant misadventures, Old Bob appears to be underestimating the danger he faces from powerful forces in the international community, Jomo.

He appears oblivious of the campaign in the West that he be made to face international criminal justice for the systematic atrocities in Zimbabwe.

In an article in the International Herald Tribune in April 2004, titled “The World Versus Robert Mugabe”, journalist Mark Ellis wrote that “if we [the international community] are sincere in pursuing Saddam Hussein of committing acts of state terrorism, we must also look honestly at Zimbabwe.”

Ellis's simple argument was that “when atrocities are committed in accordance with state policies that sanction or turn a blind eye on systematic human rights abuses, those who authorise such acts must be held accountable and Robert Mugabe is one of such people.”

The last thing we Ghanaians want is to see our octogenarian brother-in-law being hassled about at the International Court of Justice like the late Saddam, no? Saddam kept telling his foes to go hang, but they hanged HIM, didn't they?