via Irony Is Dead And Robert Mugabe Murdered It – BuzzFeed News Jun 17, 2015
The strongman is also a funnyman. At least according to his fellow African leaders.
This week, African leaders met in South Africa for the 25th African Union Summit. They did previously scheduled things, like write up a list of development goals called “Agenda 2063,” a rather future-forward way of “learning the lessons of the past.”
But some unexpected things happened, like when Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir almost actually got arrested for genocide.
Al-Bashir has been indicted for genocide and war crimes by the International Criminal Court, for his hand in the conflict in Darfur, in western Sudan.The AU had promised not to arrest any of the presidents who attended, but a South African court said the South African government was legally required to arrest him. By the time the court came to that decision, he’d already flown back home, even though there’d been a court order blocking his departure.
Al-Bashir would have been the first sitting president arrested for ICC charges.
Or like when Robert Mugabe, who has run Zimbabwe for 35 years and currently heads the AU, started telling jokes about leaders who cling to power. Addressing his fellow presidents, Mugabe briefly turned from statesman into stand-up comic.
The audience roared with laughter, or what counts as roaring when a room full of politicians — all without irony, many corrupt, and some literal war criminals — meet up for statecraft.
The real joke, though, is in the delivery. Mugabe is the very cliche of the African strongman, the president who refuses to leave power no matter how bad things get for his people.
He was a revolutionary leader in the fight against apartheid in southern Africa, but in his later years he has presided over incredible inflation and serious corruption. His re-election bids have been accompanied by violence, especially in 2008, when his ruling party, widely thought to have actually lost the election, was accused of terrorizing opposition members and raping women to intimidate them into voting for him. In 2013, he was re-elected to his 7th term.