Slippery Zimbabwean President Mugabe evaded impeachment earlier this week from members of the military coup threatening to overthrow him by delivering the world’s longest speech. The 93 year-old tyrant was, at least, partially successful as his labyrinthine oratory lasted over 14 hours -with the embattled leader, at times, leaving gaps of up to 25 minutes between words- and so lengthy that it saw the death of over half his detractors from old age before finally ending. Tempers hit boiling point in the room packed with representatives of the armed forces allied against Mugabe when the mumbling leader pretended to make a mistake near the end and suggested that he, ‘Go back to the beginning and start again?’
At the end of the speech one of the surviving generals sitting behind Mugabe grabbed the teetering pile of papers from the doddering despot then thrust them at an attending lieutenant and ordered him to go to Staples to get a 5 litre tub of Tippex [see video]. After his performance the president is reported to have been ‘overwhelmed’ with offers from international telecommunications companies interested in having him make their premium line recorded messages.
The fiasco has once again highlighted African politics’s inability to be taken seriously by anyone who is not personally threatened by its shambolic and deadly uncertainties, though the UK’s understanding of the story currently unfolding in poor Zimbabwe will, no doubt, be hampered by our own incoherent domestic reporting with the Times’ international affairs editor leading the charge on BBC’s The Papers 11/19 and vindicating her enormous salary by insightfully predicting the bleeding obvious; ‘It’s important what happens next!’
Previously, the world’s longest speech was made by Mugabe’s contemporary Zulu Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi between the 12th and 29th March 1993 and lasted for a whopping 17 days but Mugabe’s speech, by virtue of the number of words to its length, was judged by Guinness World Record staff as seeming ‘a lot, lot longer.’ President Mugabe himself is reported to be tired after his marathon efforts but still refuses to be downbeat about his perilous situation and, although army bosses have officially banned him from ever talking publicly again – ‘until he is arrested’, he was allowed to release one ‘short’ press statement in which he confidently claimed, ‘If Hitler moustaches can make a comeback so can I!’
1 day ago – Uploaded by Pindile Mhandu
Switch camera. 0:00. 0:11. 0:00 / 0:11 … Chiwenga hides Mugabe speech sheets. Pindile Mhandu … try …
Mar 29, 1993 – The longest speech made was one by Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi, the Zulu leader, when he gave an address to the KwaZulu legislative assembly between 12 and 29 Mar 1993. He spoke on 11 of the 18 days, averaging nearly 2½ hours on each of the 11 days.