In a hilarious reminder of why I love the British press, the Times of London runs a supposed diary of Zimbabwe’s thugocrat, Robert Mugabe. Hugo Rifkind skewers Mugabe in grand Fleet Street style, and manages to nail South African Mugabe toady Thabo Mbeki along with him. A sample:
Tuesday I cannot see this moustache, although my eyes are not what they were. I would ask my fashionable wife, but she has taken the jumbo jet to Paris to see how many shoes she can get for 20,000 hectares of Matabeleland.
The telephone rings. It is little Thabo Mbeki of South Africa. Although I am careful never to exploit this, I am told he is in awe of me, because I am the original hero of southern African independence. Last month he lent me series five of The West Wing on DVD. He keeps calling to ask for it back. “You can’t have it,” I say.
“I understand,” says Thabo, solemnly. “Might I be permitted to ask why?”
“No,” I say. “Go away.” Little Thabo rings off. Later he rings back to apologise.
The pinnacle of Rifkind’s deliciously nasty satire comes when Mugabe writes that British propaganda consistently portrays Zimbabwe’s abandoned farms, 1800% inflation, and collapsed economy in a bad light. Read the whole thing; I wish I had written it.