When President Robert Mugabe does eventually die, no one will believe it. In fact, he won’t even believe it himself.
Everyone will be expecting him to pop up again, in his shiny grey suit, accusing the media of yet another imperialist plot. And wherever he then finds himself, I have no doubt he will be plotting some sort of a comeback, especially if St Peter decides he is not heavenly material.
Each time he flies off to Singapore – and he did so eight times last year – there is speculation about his health.
But the air in Singapore must be wonderfully rejuvenating, because when he returns he is always, in his information minister’s words, “as fit as a fiddle”.
In an interview with Radio Zimbabwe on his 88th birthday in February, he actually said he had died many times, explaining: “That’s where I have beaten Christ. Christ died once and resurrected once. I have died and resurrected I don’t know how many times. I will die and resurrect.”
Naturally nobody believed him.
But I do.
I believe he does it each time he goes to Singapore.
Not in an Air Zimbabwe plane, by the way. The national airline has itself died through lack of funds, so the president flies off to be resurrected in an aircraft owned by some or other wealthy businessman keen to stay in his good books.
The curious thing is that while he himself readily admits he has repeatedly died, he gets very cross at suggestions that he is ill.
The news editor of the online website that reported Mugabe to be at death’s door, Tendai Matarutse, was fired.
Apparently the MDC cabinet minister who saw Mugabe collapse in Harare before flying out for his resurrection was suffering from an hallucination.
Now anyone who suggests the president is not in the pink of health is liable to suffer a sudden bout of ill-health themselves, courtesy of Zanu-PF.
Besides, more and more Zimbabweans no longer want him to die. It’s not like when Dr Verwoerd was assassinated and Private Eye ran a picture on its front cover showing hundreds of blacks leaping for joy with the caption: A NATION MOURNS.
There may be genuine mourning if and when Mugabe kicks the bucket because the aftermath is too ghastly to contemplate.
Yes, he has run the economy down to the ground, flouted human rights while thousands of opposition supporters have been tortured and murdered, undermined the judiciary and banned freedom of expression, including reports about his health.
And he is fast running out of white farms to give away to pals. He even gave one to Stephen Muzhingi, for winning his third consecutive Comrades Marathon last year.
But now he knows he dare not die, because if he does, civil war will break out between the supporters of Joyce Majuru, his deputy president, and Emmerson Mnangagwa, his minister of defence, both of whom want to take over what Mugabe’s left of the country, which admittedly isn’t much.
So multiple resurrections have become a necessity of life. And after that he may have to resort to cryonics, in the hope that he can be unfrozen in time to make a comeback.
If all else fails he can act as a national poltergeist and smash things up. It can’t do more harm than he’s already done in life.