“President”: Dirty Rotten Scoundrels in Zimbabwe Exposed in Magnificent Documentary

Dirty rotten scoundrels exist in politics just about everywhere. The United States just put one on the backburner for the time being. He tried to steal the Presidency of the United States but the military was not swayed by his fantasies of an election steal.

Matters in the 2018 election in Zimbabwe were clearer cut rife with fraud, corruption, beatings, rapes, sodomies and assassination attempts.

Robert Mugabe who we know in his declining years as a ranting and deluded tyrant was deposed in a coup by his Vice President E.P. Mnangagwa (EPM) in 2017. EPM had been in Mugabe’s cabinet and acted as advisor to Mugabe for many years so one knows immediately the cloth he is cut from. EPM announces elections for 2018 as acting President and promises they will be fair, honest and credible. Comforting words from a Mugabe hack. Like a rabid dog he turned on his handler.

EPM is running for President against Morgan Tsvangirai of the MDC Alliance who dies before the election and is succeeded by 40-year lawyer and activist Nelson Chamisa a victim of beatings and an assassination attempt or two. Such is the Mugabe tradition!

The fair, free and credible election is off the rails early on by EPM’s Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) which is headed by a ZANU appointed justice. ZEC refuses opposing political parties a say in ballot design.

Meanwhile Chamisa is attracting thousands to his rallies. They stretch as far as the eye can see. There is hope in their eyes hoping to tear up the Mugabe and his toadies’ yoke of corruption and intimidation.

EPM’s ZANU rallies are sparse with “supporters” being trucked in from the countryside. And a day before the election Chamisa receives yet another death threat.

Any surprise Chamisa loses the vote for President? The voting tallies are quite obviously rigged helped of course by beatings, rapes and intimidation by soldiers and police supported by many afidavits. The fraud is badly managed so the election results are mathematically established to be a fix. Demonstrations erupt and live bullets are fired at demonstrators in Harare killing six. EPM sidesteps questions about who ordered live ammunition to be used. A Chamisa press conference is busted up by the army and some of his supporters carted away by police. The electoral results proceed to court for a decision and all the judges are ZANU appointed. EPM is declared the winner and installed in a grand inauguration ceremony.

If I called the results of this election as soon as Mugabe’s interim successor and toady, EPM, was appointed as President I am sure Chamisa predicted the same result but he went through the motions to show the citizens of Zimbabwe and the world the iron grip of ZANU on Zimbabwe.

I might use the terms tragic and depressing to describe this documentary but I will use “predictable” instead. Zimbabweans felt a spark of hope and joy which was crushed by a Mugabe henchman. It is only hoped that this taste of freedom remains on their palate.

Think of the film as Mr. Reformer vs. a dirty rotten bastard.

This is close to two hours but the story flies by and speaking of flying you are going to be a fly on the wall without a narrator to guide you. It is raw drama and beautifully edited into a magnificent documentary. In person showings at Ted Rogers Hot Docs Theatre in Toronto on February 23 and 24 and streaming online to devices in Canada.

Directed by Camilla Nielsson.

You can see the trailer here https://hotdocs.ca/whats-on/films/president#President

RKS Film rating 95/100.

Published by Robert K Stephen (CSW)

Robert K Stephen writes about food ,drink, travel, film, and lifestyle issues. He also has published serialized novels "Life at Megacorp", "Virus # 26, "Reggie the Egyptian Rescue Dog" and "The Penniless Pensioner" Robert was the first associate member of the Wine Writers’ Circle of Canada. He also holds a Mindfulness Certification from the University of Leiden and the University of Toronto. Be it Spanish cured meat, dried fruit, BBQ, or recycled bamboo place mats, Robert endeavours to escape the mundane, which is why he has established this publication. His motto is, "Have Story, Will Write."

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