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Bob the Boss

The crowd went into frenzy. Old and young, men and women, all listened attentively as Innocent Batsani Ncube recited his poems. I had listened to Innocent earlier on in the afternoon when he did a short piece on the “R” factor in reference to the just ended elections in Zimbabwe.

The “R” referred to Robert Mugabe, Richard Tsvangirai, results, recount, re-run and run-off. This was in a meeting of African Civil Society Organisations in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania on Zimbabwe. I was fascinanted by the inclusion of poetry in this meeting. More often, in the struggle for a new Zimbabwe, there isn’t much focus on poetry as an instrument for accountability and democratic governance.

And yet in the last years, a number of Zimbabwean poets have been in the forefront for a free Zimbabwe. This piece is a celebration of young talent. Innocent Ncube is a Zimbabwean poet, very young and full of energy. Like many in and outside Zimbabwe, he desires a decent lifestyle and access to opportunities. He would like his work published, to record some of his performances and have the opportunity to present his work in local and international audiences. And yet the current situation in Zimbabwe makes it difficult for him and others to follow through on their dreams. Innocent’s work is inspiring for the youth. He is gifted, creative and makes use of poetry to explain the situation in Zimbabwe. The following is one of Innocent’s poems.

I am the ‘bhoza’ of Zimbabwe
I am the bomb
Born of Bona
I am Bob the boss
My people love me
Whether they like it or know it

I am the first and best secretary
Unbeaten in eight major elections
Whether Blair or Brown calls them
Feja feja or feya feya
I am Bob the boss

The commander in chief
The commissar in chief
The secretary in chief
The liberator in chief
The war vet in chief
The intellectual in chief
The warrior in chief
The minister in chief
The governor in chief
The president in chief
Yes, I am Bob
The boss in chief

Triumph after triumph
Since 1980
I came, I saw, I conquered
In Mozambique,
There was Samora Machel
Then came Chissano
Then Guebuza,
I am still Bob the boss!

In Namibia there were the boers
Then came Nujoma
Then came Pohamba
In Zambia, there was Kaunda
Then came Chiluba
Then Mwanawasa
I am still Bob the man!

In South Africa there was Botha
Then came de Klerk
Then Madiba
Then Thabo Mbeki
I am still the boss

In Botswana
There was Khama
Then came Masire
Then Mogae
Now Khama
I am still……

In Malawi there was Banda
Then came Muluzi
Then came
I am still….

In Tanzania there was Nyerere
Then came Mwinyi
Then came Mukapa
Then came Kikwete
I am still……

The Mois have gone
The Jerry Rawlings have gone
The Abachas,Babangidas
Obasanjos , Eyademas have gone
The Mobutus have died
The Kabilas have gone!
I am still around
As Bob the boss!

Margaret Thatcher came
John Major left
Ronald Reagan was there
George Bush snr left
Bill Clinton left
Dubya found me around
Tony Blair resigned
Gordon Brown has arrived
Who am I ?

I formed SADCC
I was there when we removed the other C
OAU I joined
AU I joined
The Commonwealth I joined, chaired and left
27 UN General Assemblies
I have addressed
Butros Butros Ghali I saw
Kofi Annan I saw
Ban ki-Moon I have seen
I am Bob the boss

My ideology is the ideology
Bobocracy is the name of the game
Bobism the sine qua non

I died for this country
I am Bob the boss
2008 is Bob’s year
One president, one people
One party, one ideology
I am Bob the boss

My people love me
Whether they like it or know it
I am the main man

I am Bob the boss in chief!!!


  • Bhekinkosi Moyo is trained in political science and currently shuttles between Southern Africa and West Africa. He works for TrustAfrica-a Pan African oriented foundation that works to secure the conditions for democratic governance and equitable development. In 2007, he edited a collection of chapters: Africa in Global Power Play. He has just completed editing an 18 country book on DisEnabling the Public Sphere: Civil Society Regulation in Africa.