THE DEVIL CAME FOR MUGABE
And Mugabe awoke with a hoof on his throat and he struggled and howled to be free,
And tripped on the racks of his English shoes and clawed at his English suits,
And crashed down the unlit corridors where his wife has collected her loot,
Screaming “You may not condemn me - there are by-laws and statutes and fines”
But the Devil replied “God’s law trumps that, and by his law you’re mine.”
Come, see what you’ve done to your people, see what you’ve done to your land,
And then I’ll haul you back into the light, and see if you understand;
Then the Devil seized him by his neck and dragged him up into the night
And Bob hung limp, for one against one was not his idea of a fight
They spiralled down to a wasteland, and Mugabe sprawled on his face,
“Spare me, spare me” he whimpered, “spare me this terrible place”,
For he saw charred beams and scattered bricks, filth and ruin and weeds,
And through the dawn came children, sifting the dust for seeds.
“Eight years ago” said the Devil, “this place was heavy with maize,
There was fruit on the trees and crops in the earth and grass for the cows to graze,
It was farmed by those who loved the soil, who knew it and tended it well,
And now it’s farmed by cellphone, from the Monomotapa hotel.”
“Racist” screamed Mugabe, “Imperialist, Colonist, Queer!
These people are free, that’s down to me and that’s why I rule here!”
“Free to do what?” asked the Devil, “to cower and cringe to survive?
The farms are going, the work is gone, now only your thugs can thrive,
Preying on women and children, feeding on horror and fear,
Flying flags of hate and despair that had no business here;
Look at your mindless militias, look in each alien face,
Condemned by their own insanity, exiled for life from the race,
Watch them go into action, cheer as they take up the fight,
Beating up Zimbabweans for the crime of being white,
Red-eyed from drink, thick-tongued from drugs, watch them go off on a spree
Burning the homes of Africans who dared to be honestly free.”
Mugabe licked his lips and whispered, “All freedom comes at a price,”
“Indeed?” said the Devil “And for the record - what was your sacrifice?
Did you give blood to the struggle? How many times were you mortared?
Or did you play politics in a hotel, and wait till your rivals were slaughtered?
If ever you tasted honour or pain those tastes were long since forgotten,
Eclipsed by the flavours of power and greed, the aromas of all that is rotten.
Come, Mugabe” and up they flew and soared over country and town
And each time they swooped, hunger and horror reached up to pull them down,
And the souls of children streamed past them, and on and up into the light
And Mugabe whimpered and twisted, to shield his eyes from the sight
“Sons of despair,” said the Devil “and daughters of desolate selves,
It’s the West that gives food to your people, while your cronies are stuffing themselves,
The West you despise and prosecute is the innocent’s sponsor and friend,
But when your young ‘veterans’ seize the supplies, these fragile lives have to end;”
“I did not know,” croaked Mugabe and the Devil applauded with glee:
“Save your lies for Mbeki, they make no impression on me.
Now, look at the shuttered factories, look at the overnight queues.”
“Blame the British,” Bob stammered, “the whites, the Norwegians, the Jews.”
But the streets sent up a whisper, a whisper as loud as a roar:
“The old man who stole three elections - it’s time that we showed him the door!”
A scream rose up from the city, a scream rose up from a cell,
And the Devil plunged them into the earth and a cameo from hell
Of shadowed figures with smiling lips that shone with delight and disdain,
Of a body convulsing and wrenching, shaking apart from the pain;
“Applaud your police,” said the Devil, “corrupted beyond repair,
And caress the electrodes, the batons and guns, and the innocent tied to the chair.”
But as Mugabe stretched out his hand the scene was gone in a flash,
And he stared instead at a drive full of Mercs and a house full of money and trash,
And then at the gloom of an upstairs room, heavy with malice and lies,
Where fat men sat and talked poison, avoiding each others’ eyes:
“Here are your generals,” the Devil hissed, “your ministers, judges and hacks,
They have fortunes and forex and farms they can’t farm, it’s only a future they lack,
Do they flee for Malaysia , Libya , France with their women and all they can pack?
Or do they just turn and remove you, and claim dispensation for that?
Look at the wealth that seeps from them, and then hold your nose at the stench
Of the paltry crew that cleave to you, the cowards, the fools and the French;
See them plotting and scheming; hear your folly despised,
Even your reptiles want you gone - you made them, are you surprised?
Now do you know what you are Mugabe, now do you understand?
You’re the Lord of the bloated thousand, and King of an empty land.
What gave you most pleasure Mugabe? Which wickedness tasted most sweet?
The mass murder of Ndebele? The children with nothing to eat?
The whites you had casually butchered? The election results that you changed?
Or the war that you fought in the Congo , for diamond commissions arranged?
The perversion of half of the system? The enrichment of those you despise?
The limos and money and power? The lies and the lies and the lies?
I ought to admire you Mugabe; you’ve certainly earned your hellfire,
And all for small motives, self interest and fear, that aspect I have to admire;
Better by far that you never had lived, Robert Gabriel,
The world will heal the wounds you’ve left, but I cannot heal you in hell!”
Then the Devil’s right hand grabbed Mugabe, and Mugabe he screamed in his fright,
And scrabbled and pleaded and whimpered and begged…
And awoke to an African night,
And sweated and panted and shuddered, calling his aides to his side,
Reconstituting his ego, his vanity, evil and pride,
But then screamed again, recoiling, from that he could not bear to see:
The slogans burning his eyes from the walls and the words… we want to be free!
Enough is enough! Zvakwana!! Sokwanele!!
The Devil meandered down Second, and strolled up Samora Machel,
“The brave will inherit,” he murmured, “when I have Mugabe in hell:
And the dawn will return to Zimbabwe , and children will learn how to smile,
Zimbabwe is one of God’s countries… but at least it was mine for a while!”