As a war leader , Mugabe is a pygmy in my shadow. With the 1987 unity accord and a raft of constitutional amendments, Mugabe grasped the power to declare war without consulting his parliament. He seized the prerogative of a king. What did he do with it? In 1998, he committed Zimbabwe’s troops to a dangerous and costly war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In 1817, when I first took up spear as a King, I had 350 warriors and 1,500 citizens. Ten years later, I had 40,000 warriors, 250,000 citizens, and two million square miles of territory. An altogether more meritorious achievement.
In the time of Shaka Zulu, no one said my name without fear in their voice. Mugabe has learnt the lessons of fear but he is definitely in a lower class of fear mongers.
His mobs will bludgeon opposition supporters and white farmers, often to death. He is candid about his bloodletting. After the 1980 election, his instruction to his to Zanu PF followers was to Endai munogobora zvigutswa zvese (go and uproot all the stumps). When Joshua Nkomo’s PF Zapu became a threat to his quest for absolute power, he resorted to the genocide of 20,000 Zapu sympathisers in Matabeleland. He made no secret of his plans for Nkomo himself, by declaring that "to deal with a cobra you have to crush its head". Even supposed allies will meet mysterious deaths in accidental car fires which fail to disguise the bullet holes that riddle the bodywork.
That doesn't impress me much. My warriors killed more than two million people during my kingship. When my mother died, I executed seven thousand people who didn't look sad enough about her passing. Defeated tribes were massacred in their entirety if they didn't offer me full submission. When I wanted to get rid of a opponent, I was much more inventive. I always suited the punishment to the crime. That is why I locked Ntombazi, the Queen of scavengers, in a hut with only a starved dog-hyena for company. Surely no one doubts that I was considerably more scary than Robert Mugabe?
I will admit to a small degree of envy. For his anti-imperialist, pan-African stance. Mugabe is a much honoured man. Even the proto-imperialist, Great Britain, has recognised him. He was appointed an honorary Knight Grand Cross in the Order of the Bath by the great white Queen, Elizabeth II. Her great, great, great ancestor, George III, had too many French and American troubles on his plate to acknowledge the huge strides I was making towards African unification.
Mugabe also has many academic and honorary degrees. Some of them are more dear to him than others. As he made clear to Morgan Tsvangirai during the 2000 elections "we have degrees in violence". ( Only not with First Class Honours, which is what I would have been awarded if there had been any universities in Zululand.)
Mugabe seeks to cap his long reign by being appointed President for Life. As part of a campaign to bring this about he has recently transformed himself into a pop star. He may be drawing inspiration from my life. It is important to be loved as well as feared. Not only was I the greatest warrior general African has known, I was also a wonderful singer. When I delivered my great judgements to the Zulu people, I would sometimes wait for the ecstatic applause to die down and then sing one of the great songs I had written.
‘Toita Sei?’ is not a great song and Mugabe sings it like a wildebeest with its throat cut. It whines about the injustices of British colonial rule and asks the question no great leader would ask, “What Shall We Do?”.
The final answer might not be to his liking.