Why should I be concerned about funny quotes from Robert Mugabe, the 92-year old President of Zimbabwe, when there are more pressing issues to interrogate in our political space? Does this not tantamount to one running after rats and rodents when one’s house is on fire?
I have my reasons:
One, is that I need a break from our politics. Writing about politics all the time, essentially about the ever widening gap between ‘what is’ and ‘what ought to be’ embeds a certain ‘kill joy’. You get frustrated and even angry at things you have no power to change. And this was precisely why I resisted pressure to study medicine in my younger days. Knowing myself, I did not want the empathy about the suffering of my patients to deny me a ‘normal existence’. Political discourses can inflict as much pain. An article like this is therefore escapist, enabling me to write while at the same time living out the late Bola Ige’s ‘siddon look’ philosophy.
Two, Robert Mugabe became Prime Minister of Zimbabwe in 1980, precisely the year I both completed my secondary education and gained admission to read political science at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. Mugabe was then regarded as the greatest African reconciler. He forgave those who jailed him for more than ten years in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) between 1964 and 1974. After his release from prison he escaped in 1975 to launch guerrilla warfare against the illegal White supremacists from a base in Mozambique during the Rhodesian Bush War. After the war in 1979, Mugabe, who was a Marxist, surprised his enemies by calling for reconciliation between the former belligerents, including White Zimbabweans, some of whom he appointed into his cabinet in April 1980 when he became Prime Minister. This bit of history is important in contextualizing the current image of Mugabe as a reverse racist and bugaboo in the Western imagination.
Three, Robert Mugabe is a clear epitome of how a certain form of politics could encourage the phenomenon of sit-tightism in Africa. Some fervently believe that without political power, Mugabe’s enemies, especially the West, in collaboration with their local allies, will make sure he ends up at the International Criminal Court (ICC) to answer for the apparent insults he heaved on them during his reign. If this is so, will anyone blame the old man for thinking that it is better for him to die in office than to be treated as a criminal in ICC? And what lessons can we learn from Mugabe about creating enabling conditions for peaceful handover of power by incumbents?
Four, despite his famed penchant for ‘dozing off’ during public functions, I cannot help but marvel at how a 92-year old is able to appear so strong, jetting around the world and making public speeches. On January 30 2015, at the age of 91, Robert Mugabe was elected Chairperson of the African Union. He had earlier led the AU’s precursor the Organisation of African Unity between 1997 and 1998.
Recently some news started circulating in the social media about Mugabe’s supposed immortality. One of such was from a Zimbabwean publication called Zimbabwe Newsday, which on April 20 2016 had the following screaming headline: ‘UK Scientists CONFIRM President Mugabe can’t DIE! He was born to live FOREVER’. The publication quoted one Dr. Irvin Koch, the supposed lead scientist in the supposed research as saying: “We have never seen anything like this. At first we could not believe it, but after running a series of tests, we then realized that Mugabe is really immortal.” It was also claimed that Mugabe never cuts or dyes his hair. Though the piece was meant to be a satire, it went viral, with different versions.
During Buhari’s First Coming, when he promulgated Decree No 4, which made it an offence to publish anything that was capable of embarrassing public officials whether such was true or false, Nigerian journalists devised what they called ‘journeying to Afghanistan’. It was a sort of escapism where they concentrated on reporting foreign news because of the fear of being caught by Decree 4. Today with virtually no cheering political or economic news out there for most Nigerians, I have chosen to journey to Zimbabwe in search of something to cheer us all up. And what can be better than compiling the funny quotes from Oga Mugabe?
Let me mention that most of the funny quotes attributed to Mugabe were never really uttered by him, and it is not certain why he was ‘chosen’ as the sage extra ordinary. Is it because he has seven University degrees, six of which he gained by correspondence while in prison? Or because of his age? I am not sure. I will divide the quotes into the controversial ones which he certainly made and the funny ones that were simply attributed to him:
Controversial Quotes from Mugabe
“The only White man you can trust is a dead White man.”
“So, Blair keep your England, and let me keep my Zimbabwe.”
“We don’t mind having sanctions banning us from Europe. We are not Europeans.”
“I’ve just concluded – since President Obama endorses the same-sex marriage, advocates homosexual people[sic], and enjoys an attractive countenance – thus if it becomes necessary, I shall travel to Washington, D.C., get down on my knee, and ask for his hand.”
“[Nelson] Mandela has gone a bit too far in doing good to the non-black communities … That’s being too saintly, too good, too much of a saint.”
“Even Satan wasn’t gay; he chose to approach unclad Eve instead of unclad Adam.”
Funny Quotes Attributed to Mugabe
“The only warning the African takes seriously is low battery.”
“Sometimes you look back at girls you spent money on rather than send it to your mum and you realize witchcraft is real”
“If you like school girls, buy a uniform for your wife to wear for you”
“Racism will never end as long as white cars are using black tyres; if people still use Black to symbolize bad luck and White for peace, if people still wear white clothes at weddings and black clothes at funerals; as long as those who don’t pay their bills are blacklisted and not white-listed. But I don’t care as long as I am using the white toilet paper to wipe my ass”.
“It is hard to bewitch African girls these days. Each time you take a piece from her hair to the witch doctor, either a Brazilian innocent woman gets mad or a factory in China catches fire”.
“South Africans will kick down a statue of a White man but won’t even attempt to slap a live one. Yet they can stone to death a Black man simply because he is a foreigner”.
“Some women’s legs are like rumours, they keep on spreading”.
“Some girls have never seen the doors of a gym but look physically fit because of running from one man to another”.
“And to those of you who do not actually go to church but watch it on TV, you will not actually go to Heaven, but you will be allowed to watch it on TV!”
“You smoke weed and you take some coke. Few minutes after, you hear ‘chooboi chooboi’ in your head. It’s a set up. The moment you answer, “Yei”!, you are mad.”
“The only public place Ghanaian ladies can be romantic is around the ATM machine.”
“If you are a lady and you don’t respect men, you will end up serving jollof at your younger sister’s wedding.”
“Dear ladies, if your boyfriend did not wish you a happy Mother’s day, stop breastfeeding him”.
“Whenever things seem to start going well in your life, the Devil comes and gives you a girlfriend”.
“I stopped trusting ladies when my class 3 girlfriend left me for another boy all because he bought a sharpener with a mirror”.
“When one’s goat gets missing, the aroma of a neighbour’s soup gets suspicious.”
“Treat every part of your towel nicely because the part that wipes your buttocks today may wipe your face tomorrow”.