Zimbabwe’s economy is in disarray: ATMs sit empty and government employees go unpaid. Last year, 35 quadrillion old Zimbabwean dollars could be traded in for just one U.S. dollar. (Due to hyperinflation, Zimbabwe began using U.S. currency in 2009.)
Clearly, 92-year-old President Robert Mugabe’s public image could use a makeover. But maybe revealing two new statues of himself, one of which has already been compared to a Simpsons character, wasn’t the best place to start.
The piece unveiled by Mugabe over the weekend stands about 12 feet tall and depicts the president tilted sideways, wearing his trademark thick-rimmed glasses, with one hand outstretched in salute. At the unveiling ceremony, the frail leader seemed pleased and praised the work as “wonderful art.”
But pictures of the statue immediately became a lightning rod for Zimbabwean scorn. Many took to Twitter, mocking the statue’s exaggerated features as a surreal parody of an increasingly out-of-touch leader, and comparing it to a cartoon.