Two Zimbabwean politicians discuss their suits

Jun 4, 2011

BT:  Chief, what a coincidence! We're dressed almost identically. I bought mine off the rack in Harare. Where did you get yours?

MT: I had it custom tailored on my last trip to Europe. But I feel sort of uncomfortable in it, can you tell? Black pin-stripes says 'banker' or something similar, and here I am, the president of what is supposed to be a workers' party, dressed like this.

BT: Nah, don't worry about it, they can't use that against us in their propaganda. Our chief enemy likes to pose as an anti-British revolutionary, but he has set the standard in this country for stiff, bourgeois style dressing. I sometimes wonder if he showers in his Brooke Brothers suit, ha ha ha. He never seems to take it off.  

MT: Maybe you're right, we would be able to throw their propaganda right back in their faces on that one, heh heh. But you know what? I'm so uncomfortable in these clothes, particularly in the hot months. I'm sweating all the time. I'm more used to dressing for comfort than being bundled up in suit like like this in tropical Africa in the hot season. It just doesn't make sense.

In his case he is always in a suit and fully buttoned up to try to conceal his bullet-proof vest. But I am a man of the people; I have nothing to fear from dressing normally and appropriately for our climate.

BT: Ah well, this is how I used to dress in my pre-politics profession so I'm used to it.  Besides, remember the advice of that high-priced image consultant our donors recruited from London? He said it was advisable if we dressed as Europe business-conservatively as RGM if we were to be taken seriously. You know how our people have bought into that kind of thinking as thoroughly as the old man, even as the former colonisers who taught us to dress like this now dress more casually than we still do. We must resign ourselves to dressing like this for now.

MT: You may have a point but I really look forward to rallies, where I can cast the suit off and just be one of the people. We should be trying to emphasize how we are different from the despot and his team, not be seen to be trying to emulate them. I don't want to defy the donors but I sometimes question their wisdom. When I get my turn at State House I think I will introduce a more sensible dress code.

By the way, your suit is almost as good as mine and the shirt is a nice match but that loud, old-fashioned striped tie from the 1970s disco era has got to go, ha ha ha! It just doesn't work, and goes against the rest of your good sartorial efforts.

BT: (sheepishly) Geez, I guess you're right. My father bought it for me when I was a boy so it has sentimental value. I thought it would be give me luck in balancing the national budget. I admit I didn't consider if it matches the suit. Is it really that bad boss?

MT: (laughing) Yes, it's terrible. But don't worry, maybe people will say your colour-coordination is bad because you spend more time thinking of how to fix the country's finances than the old man, who is more concerned about appearances than about substance. Your lousy tie could be an opportunity to counter  that old despot's party's relentless propaganda against us.

BT. (relieved) Ah, you think so? Yes, that's a good thought. So chief, see you at the gym at dawn tomorrow then? The image consultant suggested we do that as well.

MT: Uhm, actually... ah, ah...that part of the advice I haven't got to yet. I'm too busy trying to save the nation from the dictator.

BT: (brightening up) I haven't started exercising yet either! Oh well, there's always next year. See you at the next cabinet meeting boss.

MT: Yes, see you then, and don't forget to get a tie that looks more ministerial. 

(Hint: satire)


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