Robert Mugabe orders arrest of athletes for not winning medals for Zimbabwe at Rio Olympics 2016

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe, who has often been slammed for running a totalitarian regime among other things and almost ruined the country’s economy with massive hyper-inflation, has in a fresh show of his authoritarianism ordered that all athletes who represented the country in the 2016 Rio Olympics be arrested because they had failed to win a medal.

His reaction seems commensurate with that of another dictator, Kim Jong-un of North Korea, who had reportedly ordered all athletes who had underperformed at the Olympics in Brazil to be sent to work in coal mines. This, despite the fact that they had won seven medals, including two golds.

According to the National Transitional Authority, Mugabe told Augustine Chihuri, the commissioner general of Zimbabwe police, to arrest the entire Zimbabwean Olympic team — a total of 31 athletes, none of whom finished above the 8th position in any contest — as soon as they arrived at the Harare International Airport.

“We have wasted the country’s money on these rats we call athletes. If you are not ready to sacrifice and win even copper or brass medals as our neighbours Botswana did, then why do you go to waste our money,” he said. Copper is often used to refer to the fourth place in a competition, and brass the fifth.

Although this may seem like an overreaction to many, it may not be all that out of place, coming from a man who had once compared himself to Jesus Christ, berated Nelson Mandela for being nice to people of Caucasian origin and being regarded as an overall racist towards white people.

It may be mentioned here that Kim Jong-un, who is said to have punished several athletes of his country for under-performance, has also reportedly rewarded those who won medals. And his source of anger seems to be the contingent not winning the 17 medals he wanted them to, while neighbour and rival South Korea won 29 medals, including nine golds.