'That isn't true', he snorted. 'Zimbabwe is the most developed country on the continent after South Africa. We have a bumper harvest, not only of maize but also of tobacco and many other crops. We are not a poor country.'
Mugabe's head then slumped on his chest as he returned to dreamland - before he could be told of the violent clashes on the tobacco sales floors in Harare, where riot police fired teargas at desperate farmers demanding payment for their crops. They complained 'hurumende yedu haichadi vanhu yakutirwisa Smith aiva nani' (The government is now fighting us; the Smith regime was better.)
An exasperated denunciation of Zimbabwean political apathy came from Linda Masarira, a supporter of our sister organisation Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe. She asked: 'Why are Zimbabweans pretending that everything is ok. Today Mugabe is lying in South Africa. We all know it is a lie. We are the laughing stock of the world.'
Linda said on Facebook: 'We all have to stand up for our rights. Why are you not doing anything? Let us show Zanu-PF and the world that we are fed up.'
Linda knows to her cost the perils of confronting the regime, having spent many months in jail for protesting against injustice. She has been campaigning with Patson Dzamara, brother of the murdered activist Itai. Patson is reported to have been moved to an intensive care unit of a Harare hospital after being jailed again last week.
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