Sunday, May 20, 2007

Mugabe Follows the Trend

One of the most predictable markers of the malignant narcissism that afflicts authoritarian rulers is the inevitable temptation toward lavish self-aggrandizement. The desire to construct great momuments apotheosizing themselves usually comes late in their reigns, after they've ruined their nations and are setting about to squash any hope for a properous future after they finally die (or fall). Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe, having destroyed his country's economy and forced his people into starvation, illustrates this principle perfectly as he prepares to erect a momument to himself.

HARARE, Zimbabwe -- The country's economy is crumbling and its people are struggling to survive in the face of nearly 4,000 percent inflation, food and fuel shortages and the prospect of power cuts for up to 20 hours a day. Yet longtime Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe is spending almost $4 million on a grandiose project -- a monument to himself.

Work has already begun on a museum dedicated to the life and dubious achievements of the 83-year-old president, in his home district of Zvimba, 65 miles west of the capital, Harare.

"As we speak right now, groundwork for the construction of the museum is at an advanced stage," a government minister said. "The president wants the project to be speeded up so he can open it next year, possibly after winning the [presidential] elections."

Mr. Mugabe's policies, such as the seizure of white-owned farms, are blamed for an economic crisis in which inflation leaped to more than 3,700 percent in April. Unemployment is running at about 80 percent and there are severe shortages of staple foods such as corn and wheat.

Construction of the grand edifice, which will cover an area the size of a soccer field and has been dubbed the "Mugabe shrine," is being supervised by the local government minister, Ignatius Chombo.

Perhaps the North Korean leadership can give him asthetic advice.

But Mugabe has his enablers, some of whom are helping him with his little project.

Materials are understood to have been obtained from countries with regimes friendly to Zimbabwe, such as Malaysia, which supplied the timber for Mr. Mugabe's lavish Chinese-built residence in Zvimba.

Well, of course.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home