HARARE, Zimbabwe — Saying that it “really took a lot out of [him],” Zimbabwe’s leader of the last 33 years, President Robert Mugabe, relaxed in his private study with glass of single-malt scotch after successfully faking yet another election.
“My mind and spirit are still that of a young man – thwarting democracy and consolidating power with ease,” said Mugabe, 89, “but these bones. Ah, these old bones.”
This week, in polling that monitors called “seriously compromised,” the political party of Mugabe, the only authority post-colonial Zimbabwe has ever known, won 137 of the nation’s 210 parliament seats. The opposition leader, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangi, called the election “null and void” and “a sham.”
“Sure, but hardly one of my best shams,” said Mugabe, his tie undone and his feet up on a brown, leather ottoman. “When I clearly lost in 2008 and only offered a coalition government while of course keeping all real power myself – now that was a classic.”
The mood of Zimbabwe’s de facto ruler-for-life brightened considerably when reminded that, if recounts give his Zanu-PF party a two-thirds majority, it will have the power to rewrite the constitution.
“Haha,” Mugabe said, “still got it.”
Once the election results are certified, Mugabe says, he plans to release a statement praising the democratic progress “just to show a little bit of style.”