Who’s Robert Mugabe

Title: Dinner With Mugabe

Author: Heidi Holland

Type: Biography

Publisher: Penguins Books (2008)

If interviewees in this book, Dinner With Mugabe, have anything to go by, the former statesman was a stubborn loner and revolutionary who preferred to be in elegant suits and could not even pull a pistol trigger. Even his presidency was ushered on a silver platter – for the sake of peace in Zimbabwe. Thanks to the second-grade deal struck in London, at the Lancaster House in 1979.

Mugabe has similar traits with his predecessor and political archrival, Ian Smith. He loathed democracy and blamed everyone else but himself when things went wrong in Zimbabwe.

His mentor Edgar Tekere says the retired president sidelined him because he stood up to him. Tekere says Mugabe was surrounded by genuine revolutionaries and also thugs who used him to fulfill their crooked ambitions. He also accuses the second wife, Grace Mugabe, of having had bad influence on the statesman.

President Mugabe’s father abandoned him at the age of 10. He took solace in books. His peers and even his siblings were always ridiculing his love for books. Nevertheless, he was his mother’s blue-eyed boy and his Catholic school trophy. He was well behaved and performed exceptionally well in his studies. Probably he is the most educated president under the sun with seven academic degrees – some he attained while behind bars.

In this book, the late author, Heidi Holland, interviewed several people acquainted with Robert Mugabe from his childhood at Kutama in Rhodesia, the revolutionary, husband, detainee and ultimately the first Black Zimbabwean president. Apparently, the idea was to understand the behaviour of the intelligent man whose once flourishing country crumbled under his nose.