Robert Mugabe
Home Politics No Ordinary Bus – Robert Mugabe’s Luxury Bus Protest Message

No Ordinary Bus – Robert Mugabe’s Luxury Bus Protest Message

by Brett M. Christensen

Outline

Protest message claims that a series of attached photographs depict a luxuriously appointed coach that President of Zimbabwe Robert Mugabe bought himself despite the dire economic straits that nation endures. 

Brief Analysis

There is no credible evidence to support the claim that the coach shown in the photographs is owned by Robert Mugabe. The pictures in the message depict a bus made by US-based luxury coachbuilder, Newell.

Example

Subject: Mugabe’s bus

Thought it was a joke, Mugabe is in Heaven on earth!!!!!!!

Believe it or not, this is no ordinary bus!And you thought Zimbabwe is broke!!!! This is what selfish leaders do, even when their people are dying of starvation and suffering from inflation rates as high as 3000% !

For now, Zimbabweans need your prayers to liberate them from a leadership that only thinks of itself. We need God’s intervention because even Kenya is not far from the same. It will be appreciated it if you pass this around…..

 

Detailed Analysis

This widely circulated message, which features a series of photographs depicting a luxuriously appointed motorhome, claims the vehicle belongs to Robert Mugabe, President of Zimbabwe. The message decries Mugabe’s selfish indulgence given the dire economic predicament that Zimbabwe is currently enduring. The message asks that recipients pass on the information as a protest.

Mugabe certainly could be described as selfish and self-indulgent to say the least. That said, however, there are no credible reports that support the claim that the bus in these images actually belongs to Robert Mugabe. In fact, the very same images have been circulating – with nary a reference to Mugabe – since 2007. In fact, the bus in the photographs is one produced by the Newell Coach Corporation of Miami, Oklahoma. 
Moreover, the bus in the photographs is clearly built to be used in a country where motorists drive on the right side of the road, as befitting its American origin. But, motorists in Zimbabwe drive on the left. One would think that, if Mugabe was willing to spend the very large amount of money required to buy a Newell bus, he would have at least ordered one compatible with his local road conditions.

The current story may have evolved from a 2007 report that claims that China gave Mugabe a luxury bus as a birthday present. A February 22nd 2007 report published on the “Monsters and Critics” website notes:

“Harare – China has given Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe a luxury coach for his 83rd birthday, the official Herald reported Thursday. The coach, meant for the use of Mugabe’s family, was presented to the president by the Chinese ambassador to Zimbabwe, Yuan Nansheng on Wednesday.

[…………….]

Mugabe’s coach was designed by China’s First Auto Works (FAW), the company that is also supplying buses to Zimbabwe’s state-run ZUPCO bus company.”

However, further details about this supposed gift remain sketchy. The same report about the gift has been republished on numerous other websites, but I could not find any other credible sources that confirm the claims in the article. Nor could I find any photographs of this Chinese made luxury bus.

That said, First Auto Works (FAW), has indeed had dealings with Mugabe. A 2005 press release on the FAW website describes a visit to the corporation by Mugabe and other Zimbabwean officials. Another FAW report notes that “50 right-hand-steering city buses produced by FAW were loaded onto a ship at the Shanghai Port and were ready to be exported to Zimbabwe in Africa”.

But, even if Mugabe was given a luxury bus by China, it is not the vehicle featured in the above photographs.

This protest message is quite reminiscent of another widely circulated email that featured a series of photographs depicting a large and luxurious mansion. The message falsely claimed that the mansion belonged to Robert Mugabe. In fact, the pictures show a home located in the wealthy community of Bel Air, Los Angeles and have no connection whatsoever to Mugabe.

Given Mugabe’s reprehensible history of incompetence, criminal neglect of his people and dictatorial governance, one wonders why anyone would feel the need to actually make up such stories about him. His arrogant and destructive antics over many years would surely provide a great deal of easily verifiable ammunition for anyone intent on circulating protest messages about him.



Importance Notice

After considerable thought and with an ache in my heart, I have decided that the time has come to close down the Hoax-Slayer website.

These days, the site does not generate enough revenue to cover expenses, and I do not have the financial resources to sustain it going forward.

Moreover, I now work long hours in a full-time and physically taxing job, so maintaining and managing the website and publishing new material has become difficult for me.

And finally, after 18 years of writing about scams and hoaxes, I feel that it is time for me to take my fingers off the keyboard and focus on other projects and pastimes.

When I first started Hoax-Slayer, I never dreamed that I would still be working on the project all these years later or that it would become such an important part of my life. It's been a fantastic and engaging experience and one that I will always treasure.

I hope that my work over the years has helped to make the Internet a little safer and thwarted the activities of at least a few scammers and malicious pranksters.

A Big Thank You

I would also like to thank all of those wonderful people who have supported the project by sharing information from the site, contributing examples of scams and hoaxes, offering suggestions, donating funds, or helping behind the scenes.

I would especially like to thank David White for his tireless contribution to the Hoax-Slayer Facebook Page over many years. David's support has been invaluable, and I can not thank him enough.

Closing Date

Hoax-Slayer will still be around for a few weeks while I wind things down. The site will go offline on May 31, 2021. While I will not be publishing any new posts, you can still access existing material on the site until the date of closure.

Thank you, one and all!

Brett Christensen,
Hoax-Slayer