Aha, so now we know. Mr Mugabe doesn’t sleep at meetings. He closes his eyes against bright lights, television lamps and flashbulbs.
According to his spokesman, the light-sensitive eye condition requires specialist treatment in Singapore and other heads of state, including Westerners, don’t always have the competent medical expertise at home for their own unusual medical conditions.
That sounds far fetched, but let’s leave it there. Do other heads of state, though, spend as much as $1 million chartering a luxury jet to go for “eye treatment” in Singapore when run-down hospitals at home hardly have an aspirin at hand.
Mr Mugabe returned from the last five day trip to Singapore on the morning of the hero’s burial of ex-chief justice Godfrey Chidyausiku. He gave one of his shortest eulogies for such an occasion – only about 20 minutes.
Was it not lost on his party sycophants that the very bestowal on Chidyausiku of hero status at the ZANU PF shrine put an end at last to any pretense Zimbabwe had an independent judiciary? Most official obituaries, including Mr Mugabe’s tributes, praised the judge for interpreting the law to benefit ordinary black people when he overturned previous court rulings on the land ownership rights, enshrined in the law, of white farmers. Chidyausiku was a true revolutionary, a true party cadre, chirped Mr Mugabe’s media.
Obvious, really, isn’t it? The courts at the party’s bidding. And then, does anyone care that Minister Dokora made a laughing stock of all of us by saying school fees can be paid in goats. “No lessons today, the teachers are out herding goats,” went one of the legion of jokes and jibes.
The confused Mr Dokora then denied he said it at all, arguing what he meant was that rural folk all along sold goats and maize to pay school fees. He said more recently parents should now contribute to providing teaching aids, computers and suchlike because the education ministry couldn’t afford to.
Mr Dokora’s party, Mr Mugabe’s ZANU PF, then sets off to spend $60 million on fleets of cars, some with Mrs Grace Mugabe emblazoned on the side, twin cab off-roaders and campaign buses for next year’s elections.
Is this why Zimbabwe cannot be considered a fragile state? Which way was Mr Mugabe looking, eyes closed or not, at the World Economic Forum in Durban when he said there’s no fragility here?
In case you haven’t heard it, the story goes that Lameck broke with tradition at a funeral, saying all the gushing praise for the dead person was absolute rubbish; the deceased was bad, very bad, the devil incarnate, one who had even poured a jug of urine over his daughter.
In other words, it is time to face up to the truth and resist being pissed on from above.