He is commonly regarded as one of Africa's most ruthless tyrants, unleashing persecution and violence on anyone who dares challenge his iron rule.
So it came as a surprise to Zimbabwe's main opposition when they discovered that President Robert Mugabe has the manners of a Victorian English gentleman.
Why it should be regarded as a matter of surprise, let alone comment, is beyond me. We already know this, OK - people can be charming and also brutal, cultured and cruel. We know it, big time. After a day in the death camps presiding over the most revolting cruelties, men crossed the wire to be with their families - 'decent' men at home, who loved their children, refined men who listened to Bach and Beethoven.
The thing with Mugabe was never, like, 'Oh, how uncouth he is, what a boor; he swears in company, he belches at the table'. Politically, he's a criminal, that's all.