Time to chalk off, in terms of numbers, the biggest DDP hit of the year thus far. And what can you say about Robert Mugabe? Well, he was a big Cliff Richard fan – indeed, he wanted The Peter Pan of Pop to play at Zimbabwe’s independence celebrations in 1980, rather than Bob Marley. He eventually settled on Jimmy Cliff as a compromise.
Indeed Mugabe, like many other African leaders of the post-colonial era, had a strange Anglophilia: his love of cricket (it “makes civilised men out of savages”) and Savile Row suits were well known. So it must have been a bit of annoyance in 2008 when his Knighthood Grand Cross was revoked by the Queen. He joins an elite group of people to have had their honour revoked by royalty, alongside Benito Mussolini, Anthony Blunt and Phil “The Power” Taylor.
While the early years of Mugabe’s prime ministership (and later presidency) were relatively stable by comparison to other post-colonial nations, by the early 90s military pensions were eating away at the country’s budget. Mugabe tried to claw the cash back via tax hikes, which proved massively unpopular with his base and saw widespread protests. So he switched to land seizures from the whites and accusing all of his black opponents of being gay. I mean you can say it didn’t work but he stayed in power for another two decades, so…
Mugabe’s health had long been the subject of rumour and speculation (as with all the best dictators, there were legends that he only had one testicle), and the 2017 coup in Zimbabwe only further roused deadpoolers’ interests. His replacement as leader, Emmerson Mnangagwa, did not attend his funeral.