Mugabe heads East
Posted by CM on April 4, 2007
There is a report today that Mugabe has gone on a few days’ “private visit” somewhere in Asia. The report is accompanied by the usual hopeful speculation that he may be ill and has gone to seek urgent medical attention.
Whatever the reason for the trip, the symbolism is vintage Mugabe. In the last few weeks that he has gloatingly approved the recent orgy of violence against the opposition there have been mountains written about how this time he may have gone too far and may finally be on his way out. There have been un-substantiated reports of an alleged coup, rumours of plots against him within his own ranks have been rife, and so on and do forth.
Whatever else this trip is, it is a way of Mugabe thumbing his nose at the world. It is his way of saying, “I know many of you cannot stand me, but I am confidently here and in your face, what are you going to do about it?” By seeming to nonchalantly travel abroad when many observers say he is at his weakest and most insecure, he sends a message that he is calm and very much in control.
Love him or hate him, unless and until he finally falls, his play-acting symbolism is brilliant.