When Robert Mugabe turned 88 in February, he celebrated with five massive cakes, a soccer tournament dubbed the "Bob 88 Super Cup," and a beauty pageant. "The day will come when I will become sick," Mugabe told Radio Zimbabwe, according to AFP. "As of now I am fit as a fiddle."
Fortified with Botox, vitamin shots and black hair dye, Mugabe still seems pretty feisty, last week running down civilians with his motorcade and taking a bloated entourage to the United Nations sustainable development conference in Rio de Janiero, Brazil.
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe is limping along, its economy broken and its government barely functioning. But while Mugabe continues to get all the international attention, he can't be held solely responsible for Zimbabwe's ongoing turmoil. Here's a list of five people who also deserve a bit of the blame.
1) Emmerson Mnangagwa
Known as "Ngwena," or "The Crocodile," for his reputed brutality, Mnangagwa is Zimbabwe's defense minister and the current favorite to succeed Mugabe. A veteran of the guerrilla war against the British, Mnangagwa went on to head the secret police in the 1980s, and he is thought to have orchestrated the slaughter of about 20,000 ethnically Ndebele civilians by a North Korean-trained army unit in the 1980s. Sokwanele, an activist group, called him "perhaps the one figure in Zimbabwe to inspire greater terror than President Mugabe."
More recently, Mnangagwa was Mugabe's chief election officer during the violent 2008 runoff vote, when thugs from the ruling party, Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (Zanu-PF), waged a bloody intimidation campaign against opposition supporters. The Sunday Telegraph reported in April on a secret pact: Mugabe allegedly told Mnangagwa he would anoint him his successor -- as long as he ensured Mugabe's victory in the second round of voting. Mnangagwa dismissed this as mere noise intended to stir up interparty conflict. But according to Zimbabwe political analysts, "The Crocodile" is fighting hard in Zanu-PF's continuing power struggles.
Mnangagwa is also heavily involved in the construction of a military college near the capital, Harare, dubbed the Robert Mugabe National School of Intelligence, the Zimbabwean newspaper reported last year. Built by a Chinese construction company, the college has been financed with a $98 million Chinese loan, funded by a diamond deal with Chinese firm Anjin Investments. Mnangagwa recently admitted to Zimbabwean military involvement in the diamond trade, telling a university audience in Gweru that the Army struck deals with Chinese and Russian diamond firms to counter Western sanctions.