Breakfast with Mugabe – it’s true

The satirical comedy, Breakfast with Mugabe, opens in the West End this week. The following statement on the reality of life in Zimbabwe under Mugabe, by Glenys Kinnock MEP, Co-President of the ACP EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly, has been included in the programme, ensuring that incredulous thea


tre-goers understand that the play is not just a figment of someone’s imagination: The tension and intensity of ‘Breakfast with Mugabe’ reveals and reinforces the truth. The swaggering tyrant, brilliantly portrayed by Joseph Mydell in the play, has actually declared himself to be an admirer of Hitler. As all evidence shows, he models himself on ruthless autocrats who have governed through repression, intimidation and political violence. Zimbabwe’s economy is in tatters. The regime has driven away many foreign investors and the country’s commercial, farming, mining and manufacturing sectors have been ruined. Mugabe’s Zanu (PF) Government has dragged Zimbabwe into bankruptcy, fixed elections, tried to terrorise the judiciary, the press, the unions and the people. In his rantings, he claims heroic stature and absolves himself of any responsibility for the tragedy and suffering he has caused. The land which he misrules once had one of the best standards of living in Africa. It has now fallen to the bottom of the pile. Since 1996, GDP has almost halved and income per capita slashed by 60%. Life expectancy for women now stands at just 34 years making it the lowest in the world. For men, it is 37. Zimbabwe’s unemployment currently stands at 80% and inflation at 913%. About 4.6 million people rely on food aid and 3.5 million Zimbabweans have fled – mainly to South Africa, Botswana and the UK. Political opposition is growing more audacious in Zimbabwe. Now, their efforts to restore democracy need and deserve to be backed by their neighbours and by the international community. In the last 10 years, the liberation that offered so much hope has been perverted into terrible tyranny. Zimbabwe’s leaders exploit memories of the past with posturing and political symbolism whilst multiplying the agonies that – naturally – inflict the worst harm on the poorest and the powerless. Against this background, the staging of Breakfast with Mugabe is indeed timely. The continuing slide to disaster demands urgent action. The Mugabe regime – those who implement its policies and those who benefit from its corrupt despotism – may think that the international community will stand back. They must be proved wrong. We must not tire of supporting the suffering people and the courageous efforts of Zimbabweans who strive for democratic change without resorting to violence. Breakfast with Mugabe tells us why.

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