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02.02.2017 Feature Article

Mugabe’s Diary: How It Ended Up In My Ghetto

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In Africa the only warning they take seriously is Low Battery—Robert Mugabe

I first learned it was kept in Santa’s grotto. I’d asked the white-bearded man to lend me the maverick’s diary but he refused to do so. Why would he lend out something he considered a trove? He wouldn’t trade it for anything because of the name associated with it, Robert Mugabe.

You know mosquitoes don’t like to be at water fronts. The breeze makes them uncomfortable plus they feel edgy. They’re tiny and the wind is too strong for their wings. Yet it’s a fertile ground for breeding.

There’s gulf between them and comfort. If their eggs happened to be laid near the beach they’re hatched within 24 to 48 hours and carried miles away by the unfriendly waft. They’re dispersed like seeds of wheat and could land on anybody’s closet, desk or anywhere at the weather‘s choosing.

Of course the world knows Robert Mugabe as President of Zimbabwe. The world knows him as a dictator, power-drunk and a stubborn cat. The world knows Mr. Mugabe as one of the longest-serving leaders in Africa who has ruled the southern African nation for more than three decades.

Indeed, Mr. Mugabe who will turn 93 years old on Tuesday February 21 2017 is not going anywhere until death invites him. That I can guarantee. And none of that surprises me, they’re no longer newsworthy.

But lately, Zimbabwe’s first gentleman has found himself plying into other professions. He’s become a poet, motivational speaker, and an activist. Uncle Bob has become a marriage counselor, witch doctor, hair stylist, high priest, match commissioner (or a referee), sex therapist, a masseur, chef, carpenter, bus conductor, football coach you name it.

Truly, he’s become Jack of all trades... The irony is that unlike the proverbial Jack Mr. Mugabe has mastered all the trades above mentioned and he’s still venturing into other disciplines deemed tough and rugged. So, how did the world not know that the Zimbabwe powerful man is versatile and not a stubborn cat or an autocrat?

How did the world not know that he’s not only a president but also a plumber? How did the world not know that he’s a mediator (when it comes to relationships) and not a dictator?

I’m still wondering and pondering how did all that go unnoticed?

Yes, the world didn’t know!
My architect told me this: When Judas is around no one takes responsibility for a crime. After all he’s a known betrayer and a good kisser. He takes responsibility for no rains, no shelter, and no food. When Judas is around he’s blamed for all manner of crimes be it murder, robbery, perjury, arson, treason, terrorism etc.

When Judas is around all statements are attributed to him—spoken or unspoken, written or unwritten. All sort of quotes and weird sayings end up in his big basket. The quotes are dispersed across the world just like seeds of wheat. They’re transmitted or forwarded on the back of social media (WhatsApp is the biggest carrier).

The quotes are hashed and rehashed, tweaked and re-tweaked, forwarded and re-forwarded. The cycle goes on unabated. And who do they give credit to? It’s none other than President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe. It appears he’s the manufacturer of most of these side-splitting quotes. Evidently, he’s not the author of any of these quotes, yet they’re attributed to him.

Here are a few examples: The first quote (a rhetorical question) cast the Zimbabwean president as an activist and a motivational speaker:

“How do you convince the upcoming generation that education is the key to success when we are surrounded by poor graduates and rich criminals?”

“Don’t call your girlfriend an angel because there are no females among the angels.” That represents s Mugabe as a High Priest.

“Stop praying to God to bless your relationship rather, pray to him to bless all your boyfriends. That way you’d have a backup, if the first relationship fails.” That’s Mugabe the counselor or adviser.

The following quote cast him as hair stylist. “African women would be afraid to go to Brazil for the World Cup because they might meet the owner of their artificial hair.’

“Sometimes you look back at girls you spent monies on rand you go like ugh. You wished you’d rather sent them t to your mum. There you realise witchcraft is real.” That’s Robert Mugabe as witch doctor.

And I bet you would like this: “When they move from Europe to Africa they’re viewed as voyages of discovery. When we move from Africa to Europe, we’re called illegal immigrants.”

There are also short sayings believed to have come from the eccentric leader.

A group of Africans in Europe or America are called refugees.

A group of Europeans and Americans in Africa are called tourists.

A group of Africans in the bush are called poachers while a group of Europeans in the bush are referred to as hunters.

Black people working in a foreign country are known as foreigners. White people working in a foreign country are called expatriates. And he winds up with this: “This world has failed Africans.”

At times Mr. Mugabe uses sarcasm to put his supposed messages across. I’ve two here to share with you: “Africans have no time to rest, even after dying they have to work as ancestors.”

“Though sometimes democracy is good, it should never be left at the whim of the people. People have an unquenchable affinity for wild options. They were once asked by Pontius Pilate: Do you want Jesus or Barabbas? And all said Barabbas. Now it’s Trump.”

Okay I’ve been reminded to add a third: “Donald Trump is winning in the US presidential election--and this is all Barack Obama’s fault for not seeking a third term like a true African leader.”

“Excuse me, where did you get all those quotes from and who said that I Robert Mugabe, a Kutama native is responsible for them?’

Sir, they’re all over the cyber space, spreading like mosquitoes---breeding by the day and putting smiles on faces. Great thing is I think whether you’re the source of these quotes or not the world is having a good laugh. Everyone seems to be enjoying them.

“Where did you say you’re from?”
I’m from Ghana your Excellency.
“O Ghana that’s where I met my first wife Sally. I taught at St Mary’s Secondary at Apowa in Takoradi. Yes I was a teacher there.”

Really, I didn’t know that. Awesome!
Any fond memories and did you like it there?
“Of course, I did. Ghana is a lively place and the people are beautiful and friendly. Back then your first President Dr. Kwame Nkrumah had plans to make the city one of the most beautiful places in Africa. And from nowhere that small boy emerged. , What’s his name?”

I think you’re talking about Afrifa.
“That’s right. Thank you. Where is he now?

See…small boys are young. He allowed the westerners to use him to achieve what they badly wanted. That’s one of the reasons why, I am not ceding power to any of my kinsmen. I don’t trust them and they cannot be trusted. They would betray you and betray the nation.”

Mr. Mugabe I cannot let you go without asking you this question. It seems the whole world wants to know when you are leaving office. What’s your plan?

“Well, did I hear you mentioned it somewhere in your piece? I think you’ve divulged my unspoken wish. I’m staying put. Till death they say…”

Gordon Offin-Amaniampong
Gordon Offin-Amaniampong, © 2017

The author has 466 publications published on Modern Ghana.Column: GordonOffinAmaniampong

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