Mugabe awarded the Confucius Peace Prize!
The news that Robert Mugabe, the 91 year old president of Zimbabwe has been awarded the prestigious Confucius Peace Prize from China was met with mixed reactions, all of them incredulous.
Liu Zhiqin, spokesperson for the Chinese award committee defended the decision, saying that Mugabe was honoured for “injecting fresh energy in the global quest for harmony.” As if this is not enough to cause hysterical giggling, he went even further, saying: “Ever since Robert Mugabe was sworn in as the president of Zimbabwe in the early 80’s he has worked hard to bring political and economic order to the country and to improve the welfare of the Zimbabwean people by overcoming hardship.” Zhqin could not resist adding a cherry on top of all that and went on to praise Mugabe’s stewardship of the 54-member African Union since he took over as chairman earlier in 2015.
Gordon Moyo, Secretary General of the official Zimbabwean opposition People’s Democratic party, reacted to the news with outrage. “The rule of Mugabe is paved with blood, violence, arson and cruelty” he said. He said that his party was disgusted by the Chinese tribute, calling Mugabe a “warmonger and a sadist who delights in the misery of his people.”
Qiao Damo, chairman of the Chinese award committee, responded to the widespread ridicule and anger by defending the decision. “If Zimbabwe did not have Mugabe as president, the country would be facing great difficulty” he explained. He further compromised his integrity by saying “Zimbabwe is a very stable country and stability is precious in the African continent.”
Perhaps this award should be viewed in the light of where it originated. The Chinese set up the Confucius Peace prize as protest when the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Liu Xiaobo, a dissident writer languishing in a Chinese jail. Perhaps the prestige attached to the award is further clarified by the fact that previous winners include Fidel Castro of Cuba and Vladimir Putin. Mugabe is in good company.