Zimbabweans finally laugh at ex-leader Mugabe in new comedy

"Operation Restore Regasi," a play which chronicles the final days of former President Robert Mugabe's rule.

Harare, Zimbabwe (CNN)Robert Mugabe, 94, was once the most feared man in Zimbabwe, but lately artists have been imitating and mocking the former ruler.

A satirical play, "Operation Restore Regasi," based on the military takeover and impending impeachment that ended the 37-year rule of the dictator, packed out theaters in the capital city, Harare.
"The response was overwhelming. I thought with the hard economic hardships Zimbabweans are facing it would not attract many people," said Charles Munganasa, the Comedy Director.
    "We were wrong. We had to run it last week and we are going to run it thrice during the Harare International Festival of Arts (HIFA)."
    Carol Magenga plays Grace Mugabe, Khetani Banda as the former Zimbabwean president and Charles Munganasa as the former army commander General Costantino Chiwenga.
    HIFA is an annual, week-long event that brings international artists to Zimbabwe.
    Asked about why he called it "Regasi," Munganasa said: "It came from the way General Constantino Chiwenga used to pronounce the word "Legacy," and Zimbabweans used to talk a lot about it."
    President Emmerson Mnangagwa's was inaugurated in November, and after Chiwenga was made Zimbabwe's Vice President.
    The comedy left audiences in stitches. One scene shows former First Lady Grace Mugabe trying to seduce Chiwenga, the army commander, as a tired looking Mugabe is asleep.
    "Another reason why it is popular is that Mugabe is gone and people can now say anything about him," said Munganasa.