Saturday, April 02, 2005

Zimbabwe Election Shock: Mugabe Wins!

In a victory that has shocked the world, Robert Mugabe and his ZANU-PF party has won the recent parliamentary elections. Given the amount of electoral fraud that appears to have occurred, it is shocking that ZANU won only 78 of the 120 parliamentary seats. I guess the key was to make sure that the results didn't appear too fake.

Mugabe is one of my favorite despots. He has brought a refreshing sense of political irony to Zimbabwe. He helped the country liberate itself from colonialists, then he ran it first as a single party socialist state, then as a democratic farce. At the same time, he has managed to cripple and discredit what had been one of Africa's most promising economies. His presidency has been the perfect storm of ineptitude -- bad for Zimbabwe socially, politically and economically.

Yet, I have a soft spot for the old kook. Maybe its because Mugabe played a key role in a fictional series I wrote about a failed and inept Joseph K congressional run in 2001. The fictional Jospeh K campaign had been geared towards unseating his long term Democratic congressional representative who had held the seat in K's district for many, many years. Mugabe had been brought in briefly as a campaign adviser because of his expertise in dealing with "single party states." I also hired Kissinger as my foreign policy adviser. From there, it all kind of got weird. Some exerpts:

1. "Hired Henry Kissinger as new foreign policy adviser today. Apparently needed the work (thought the guy had gig at Harvard's Kennedy School of Gov't? Odd). He moved into the campaign headquarters in the afternoon. Pitched his first idea to me over lunch: "Bomb Laos." Told him it was the dumbest thing I'd ever heard. Kissinger spent the rest of the day sitting around in his boxers, eating pudding and sulking."

2. "Mugabe, Kissinger and I got up early this morning and started playing Sim City. Kissinger was up first, and he tried to set up a military-industrial complex. For all of the technical sophistication of his industrial city, Mugabe and I couldn't help laughing at the fact that he couldn't seem to design a functional sewage system. Mugabe noted, 'In a city where they manufacture high tech goods, you think you would be able to stave off cholera.' When Kissinger got up to pee at one point, Mugabe took over the controls on the Playstation and wrought a deadly monster attack using one of Sim City's options. Kissinger was crestfallen when he returned. Mugabe simply shrugged and said, 'Well, that is just the inevitable end result of your city's imperialist ways, Henry.'

But, the agrarian city Mugabe set up after Kissinger was done was not exactly a success. He uncreatively called it Mugabeland. His citizens complained regularly about the 80% tax rate and rioted over the lack of basic necessities, like electricity and parks. Mugabe argued that the citizens were ungrateful, and probably had been brainwashed by Western propaganda."

3. "Went bowling with the campaign staff. Brian got all excited when he bowled a 200. We derided him for being a show off. Kissinger got mad because we kept making fun of the fact that he bowled with a nine pound ball (Mugabe: 'Henry, you need to constructively engage a gym.') and went home early looking like he was about to cry (apparently Mao Zedong gave him a really hard time about his girlish bowling style went they went bowling together in the 70s and he never got over it). "

4. "Mugabe becoming real liability. Some of his Zimbabwean war veteran friends have started squatting in neighbor's yards claiming its their land (odd since this so-called Zimbabwe is supposed to be in Africa). Neighbors not happy; posing potential threat to my support in the suburban yuppie, predominantly white constituency. Also, caught him drinking directly from the milk carton for the fourth time yesterday. Must fire him."

5."Dropped Kissinger and Suzy off at Landmark Mall to handout leaflets. When I returned to mall to pick them up, Suzy was mad. Apparently, Kissinger kept getting lost and paging her over the mall loudspeaker. Eventually, she found him chewing out a cashier at "The Great Wall" Chinese fast food place, arguing that he personally shouldn't have to pay $2 for an egg roll because the liberalization he and Nixon brought to China in the 70s was priceless. 'Where is the gratitude?' he kept yelling over and over. Suzy ended up buying the egg roll for him."

6. "Sadat did some research and confirmed that the district has voted Democrat in almost every election since the 1950s. Effectively, it is a one party district, which would undermine my plan to run as an independent. He also did some research on my former campaign manager, Mugabe, and apparently the guy also knows even more about single party politics than democracy. After some cajoling, Mugabe finally agreed to rejoin the campaign as a consultant. He asked if he could move in with me at the campaign HQ. I lied and told him that his hunky good looks would be a distraction to the young single staffers who are now living and working there. 'I know, I know,' he said, 'it really is a curse.'

I asked Mugabe what steps I should be taking to position myself against the long-time incumbent congressman. He responded, 'Can't you just shoot him?'"

It was a long series (used to send it to a group of friends via email in my pre-blogging days) that eventually went nowhere and fizzled out. A bunch of weird characters, stupid policy ideas, and Joseph K as a clueless, inept egomaniac (i.e., being himself). Perhaps I'll post it on Banality Fair in its entirety as a serial over time.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who do you believe Saouth Africans or the others?

6:07 PM  

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