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Robert Gabriel Mugabe, President of Zimbabwe

Robert Mugabe, longtime Zimbabwe leader, dies at 95

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) — Robert Mugabe, the former leader of Zimbabwe forced to resign in 2017 after a 37-year rule whose early promise was eroded by economic turmoil, disputed elections and human rights violations, has died in Singapore. He was 95.

His successor President Emmerson Mnangagwa confirmed Mugabe’s death in a tweet Friday, mourning him as an “icon of liberation.” He did not provide details.

“Cde (Comrade) Mugabe was an icon of liberation, a pan-Africanist who dedicated his life to the emancipation and empowerment of his people. His contribution to the history of our nation and continent will never be forgotten. May his soul rest in eternal peace,” Mnangagwa said.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa confirmed that Mugabe died in Singapore in a statement sending condolences on behalf of the government and people of South Africa.

Ramaphosa said Zimbabwe’s first post-independence president was “a liberation fighter and champion of Africa’s cause against colonialism.”

He added: “Under President Mugabe’s leadership, Zimbabwe’s sustained and valiant struggle against colonialism inspired our own struggle against apartheid and built in us the hope that one day South Africa too would be free.”

Mugabe, who took power after white minority rule ended in 1980, blamed Zimbabwe’s economic problems on international sanctions and once said he wanted to rule for life. But growing discontent about the southern African country’s fractured leadership and other problems prompted a military intervention, impeachment proceedings by the parliament and large street demonstrations for his removal.

The announcement of Mugabe’s Nov. 21, 2017 resignation after he initially ignored escalating calls to quit triggered wild celebrations in the streets of the capital, Harare. Well into the night, cars honked and people danced and sang in a spectacle of free expression that would have been impossible during his years in power and reflected hopes for a better future.

On the streets in the capital, Harare, on Friday people gathered in small groups sharing the news.

“I will not shed a tear, not for that cruel man,” said Tariro Makena, a street vendor. “All these problems, he started them and people now want us to pretend it never happened.”

Others said they missed him.

“Things are worse now. Life was not that good but it was never this bad. These people who removed him from power have no clue whatsoever,” said Silas Marongo, holding an axe and joining men and women cutting a tree for firewood in suburban Harare to beat severe electricity shortages that underline the worsening economic situation.

Mugabe in recent years had received treatment at Gleneagles Hospital in the wealthy Southeast Asian city-state of Singapore. The hospital would not confirm that he was being treated there at the time of his death.

The hospital’s parent company, Parkway Pantai, said in an emailed statement that it could not provide details “out of respect for the privacy of Mr Mugabe and his family.”

Zimbabwe’s liberation movement helped South Africa’s struggle against apartheid, and its members were brutalized because of that, Ramaphosa said.

“Many Zimbabweans paid with their lives so that we could be free. We will never forget or dishonor this sacrifice and solidarity,” he said.

He also acknowledged Mugabe’s role in “advancing regional solidarity, integration and development through Zimbabwe’s participation in the Southern African Development Community.”

On Feb. 21, 2018, Mugabe marked his first birthday since his resignation in near solitude, far from the lavish affairs of past years. While the government that removed him with military assistance had declared his birthday as a national holiday, his successor and former deputy Mnangagwa did not mention him in a televised speech on the day.

Mugabe’s decline in his last years as president was partly linked to the political ambitions of his wife, Grace, a brash, divisive figure whose ruling party faction eventually lost out in a power struggle with supporters of Mnangagwa, who was close to the military.

Despite Zimbabwe’s decline during his rule, Mugabe remained defiant, railing against the West for what he called its neo-colonialist attitude and urging Africans to take control of their resources — a populist message that was often a hit even as many nations on the continent shed the strongman model and moved toward democracy.

Mugabe enjoyed acceptance among peers in Africa who chose not to judge him in the same way as Britain, the United States and other Western detractors. Toward the end of his rule, he served as rotating chairman of the 54-nation African Union and the 15-nation Southern African Development Community.

His criticism of the International Criminal Court was welcomed by regional leaders who also thought it was being unfairly used to target Africans.

“They are the ones who say they gave Christianity to Africa,” Mugabe said of the West during a visit to South Africa. “We say: ‘We came, we saw and we were conquered.’”

Many in South Africa remembered Mugabe for having stood up to the British.

Floyd Shivambu, deputy president of South Africa’s far-left Economic Freedom Fighters opposition party, wrote of Mugabe on Twitter: “You fought your battles, refused to bow down to imperialist bullies!”

Spry in his impeccably tailored suits, Mugabe as leader maintained a schedule of events and international travel that defied his advancing age, though signs of weariness mounted toward the end. He fell after stepping off a plane in Zimbabwe, read the wrong speech at the opening of parliament and appeared to be dozing during a news conference in Japan. However, his longevity and frequently dashed rumors of ill health delighted supporters and infuriated opponents who had sardonically predicted he would live forever.

“Do you want me to punch you to the floor to realize I am still there?” Mugabe told an interviewer from state television who asked him in early 2016 about retirement plans.

After independence, Mugabe reached out to whites after a long war between black guerrillas and the white rulers of Rhodesia, as Zimbabwe was known. He stressed education and built new schools. Tourism and mining flourished and Zimbabwe was a regional breadbasket.

However, a brutal military campaign waged against an uprising in western Matabeleland province that ended in 1987 augured a bitter turn in Zimbabwe’s fortunes. As the years went by, Mugabe was widely accused of hanging onto power through violence and vote fraud, notably in a 2008 election that led to a troubled coalition government after regional mediators intervened.

“I have many degrees in violence,” Mugabe once boasted on a campaign trail, raising his fist. “You see this fist, it can smash your face.”

Mugabe was re-elected in 2013 in another election marred by alleged irregularities, though he dismissed his critics as sore losers.

Amid the political turmoil, the economy of Zimbabwe, traditionally rich in agriculture and minerals, was deteriorating. Factories were closing, unemployment was rising and the country abandoned its currency for the US dollar in 2009 because of hyperinflation.

The economic problems are often traced to the violent seizures of thousands of white-owned farms that began around 2000. Land reform was supposed to take much of the country’s most fertile land — owned by about 4,500 white descendants of mainly British and South African colonial-era settlers — and redistribute it to poor blacks. Instead, Mugabe gave prime farms to ruling party leaders, party loyalists, security chiefs, relatives and cronies.

Mugabe was born in Zvimba, 60 kilometers (40 miles) west of the capital of Harare. As a child, he tended his grandfather’s cattle and goats, fished for bream in muddy water holes, played football and “boxed a lot,” as he recalled later.

Mugabe lacked the easy charisma of Nelson Mandela, the anti-apartheid leader and contemporary who became South Africa’s first black president in 1994 after reconciling with its former white rulers. But he drew admirers in some quarters for taking a hard line with the West, and he could be disarming despite his sometimes harsh demeanor.

“The gift of politicians is never to stop speaking until the people say, ‘Ah, we are tired,’” he said at a 2015 news conference. “You are now tired. I say thank you.”

Torchia reported from Johannesburg. AP writers Krista Mahr in Johannesburg, Carley Petesch in Dakar, Senegal contributed to this report.

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32 comments

  1. Good riddance

    • Poor Robert Gabriel Mugabe! He is criticised, judged and even condemned. He is of the newer generation.

      From far back in human history the natural, common factor was migration. People migrated from one place to another for one reason or another and settled or went back after a while. Migration made it possible to establish new civilizations, nation-states and countries.
      . But there was a difference; in the past and even today white migrants are seen and perceived as courageous, necessary and celebrated in history books. That is how we got the Marco Polos, Christopher Columbuses, Mungo Parks, David Livingstones, Albert Schweitzers, Mother Teresa’s and many more.

      But when the non-white people migrated they were greeted with a mixture of curiosity and hostility, judged, challenged and even

      • told to go back where they came from. They are perceived as illegals, criminals, undocumented, etc. Does anyone consider that Robert Gabriel Mugabe, Bachelor of Science in Violence might have been reacting on behalf of this falsely judged and condemned lot?

        • For once I am with you on this.
          Thanks for your analysis

        • Thanks bro Dinga you reasoned well. Have you ever seen Biya, Bongo, and the rest of those western African puppets called dictators by the western (whites) media? This man fought hard for the liberation of his country. At one point he was known as the best African president by the same West as he let the 1% of the population who were white control 85% of the country’s resources after his election. When he decided to redistribute the resources so that every Zimbabwean should gain from the country’s richness, he suddenly became a brutal dictator to the West. They did everything to assassinate him to no avail since he had the support of his people. He, just like Qaddafi had to stay in power to avoid going to the Hague which is a prison for Africans who don’t respect their colonial masters.

        • The West (whites) did everything to destroy the Zimbabwe economy to provoke a revolt from the black Zimbabweans but the wise ones held on as they knew and understood the colonial master’s plot. Every African president who has stood for their people has been either eliminated by the West or called a dictator. If the Zimbabwe people didn’t understand the love Mugabe had for them, they would have been used by the West to eliminate him a long time ago just as they used Compaore to eliminate Sankara. Africans use your useless brains to understand this. An African president the west calls a dictator (Gadaffi, Mugabe) is actually an African president working for his people and an African president the west calls and ally (Compaore, Biya) is actually the enemy of the people of Africa.RIP Great man

  2. I reserve my good riddance for another despot who is about to die in Yaoundé.
    My palm wine is on ice waiting for the celebration. Only then will I find it expedient to say good riddance.
    Fare thee well comrade RG Mugabe

    • Have you thought of a situation where you could “go” before him and your wine will be toasted for your own passing?
      FYI the biyas leave a long life.
      Most do die around 100.
      Good luck to you with your wishes.

  3. **** ATTENTION, ATTENTION, ATTENTION ****

    “Everyone in the nation’s capital Yaoundé is seeing a regime crumbling. The sooner Biya realizes there is no way he can win the Southern Cameroons war, the better for everyone in this country” our source who sued for anonymity noted.
    It is evidently clear that the capabilities of the regime have all been eroded by the fighting in Southern Cameroons. “Clearly we’re into the last stage of the CPDM regime – the writing is on the wall” he observed.
    “We’re seeing Divisional and Sub Divisional delegates including principals of colleges packing their bags from the rural areas in Southern Cameroons and Yaoundé-controlled territory in Southern Cameroons is shrinking before our eyes” he added.

    • “The regime’s major ATM machines in Southern Cameroons including SONARA, CDC and PAMOL have all vanished in thin air and this is leaving government officials awake all night. The disappearance of these streams of revenue has really destabilized the French Cameroun government which is yet to find new sources of revenue. Information filtered this week that Cameroon government resources are running dry, after a recent troop’s deployment to the Far North region.”

      Believe me or not,

      1. The momentum is UNSTOPPABLE
      2. The war is UNWINNABLE
      3. The FINAL resolution to the Anglophone Question will be gotten this time around come rain come shine
      4. At least 95% of SC remains UNGOVERNABLE
      5. Dictator Biya will be the Most Valuable Casualty (MVC) of this struggle.

    • Biya would personally attend Mugabe’s funeral who passed on yesterday at 95 and the hand writing is on the wall especially when a desperate regime starts using land mines to blow up its citizen.

      • The regime can even use ATOMIC BOMBS against Southern Cameroonians, they will NEVER EVER win the asymmetrical warfare.
        Dictator Biya made a fatal mistake to start a war he can NEVER win.
        The dismal FAILURE of the CPDM so-called EFFECTIVE school resumption campaign is crystal proof that SC is now UNGOVERNABLE.

  4. REST IN POWER SIR.
    Thank you for your work and your love for Africa.

  5. If someone actually told Mr. Biya, that the war he declared to a people
    who gave him happiness, wealth, respect etc etc in his Mvomeka hideout,
    is an unwinable war, he would have been dead long ago. The tyrant, is next.

  6. Where is Ni Bah Acho?

    Tah Mugabe was never my man, but I had great respect for his courage.

    He once asked one Briton journalist to tell Tony Blair that he is a fool, that same journalist had no further questions thereafter…

  7. Rest in Peace Mr.MUGABE. you stood your ground so that the world gives a listening ear to AFRICA.you fought a good fight to establish and reinforce your indigenous population.you stood up and destroyed the myth of white superiority in AFRICAN’S hearts.some may call you crazy or all sorts of names, go and rest in peace.You will always live in our hearts.

  8. More be the fool in any black persons heart to believe the fallacy of any white superiority .The secondary active foolishness is to elongate a political mandate because you fear it to be true .Populations need policy makers and inclusion of every citizen in this process serving them not the other way round ,not heroes,fathers,freedom fighters .He could of built up a fair system ,retired in 1986 ,stayed in the background and got amazing results on his previous excellent manoveres,but he didn’t.

  9. And he lived and he ruled for too long. So, what legacy, did he make or leave? Zimbabwe is
    a very poor country and no hope. Inflation in the country, beat the guinnes book of record
    highest level. Unemployment one can not touch that and the show, goes on.
    In up country Cameroon, his replica, is also old, sick and missing in action. What legacy, for
    this stupid one? He is stupid, cause he would have learned from the mistakes of others around
    him. He will also leave a legacy of hatred, joblessness, division, lies telling, corruption etc etc,
    and tribalism par excellence. Someone, who kills with impunity, those he calls his `fellow
    compatriots`. What a disgrace, what a shamefull experiences and legacy.

  10. Died in a Singaporean hospital. That summarises the WHERE, HOW, WHEN, WHAT, WHY, etc of Mugabe’s rulership.
    Where did he die? How did he die? Why did he die?

    For those interested in projecting into the future, it is good intellectual exercise to toy also with Paul Biya, Doctor Honoris causa in the manner as with Robert Gabriel Mugabe, B. Sc. Violence.

  11. Hahahahahaha Johnny Johnny.
    Our own dictator will soon go. His creatures will slaughter themselves in his shadow while the rest of us March to Buea.

  12. From 1983 to 1987, Mugabe (a native of the Shona Tribe) killed 20,000 Ndembeles forcing their native son and Mugabe political rival Joshua Nkomo to flee into exile.

    He name that genocidal massacre “Operation Operation Gukurahundi which means “Clean away the chaff” in Shona tribal language.

    The man was a monstrously sadistic dictator with a very high penchant to kill. Satan is waiting for him.

    The monster of La Republique du Cameroun (LRC), diaper-wearing Paul Lucifer Biya has the same track record

    • You just acted fast on this one. I was going to write this same stuff. Follow any
      interview on SABC youtube , and the fear factor everyone had for him, makes them still tell
      you, how great and wonderfull a president that he was.
      The whiteman, is happy now. Surely, they are having sleepless nights, planning how to
      break the barrier he put against them, and INVADE that country`s resources, with impunity.

  13. Someone wrote somewhere that Cameroonians prayed and God answered Zimbabwe. This man is an African hero, even more so than Mandela who became a white stooge when he left prison. South Africa is independent but black South Africans are financially, economically and morally depraved. A case in point being the current xenophobic attacks in SA.

    Some western journalist on his analysis on the BBC said history would not remember Mr Mugabe would kindly, the kind written by whites. That’s the perspective of the west, because he refused to tow the servitude line, to serve as a stooge. He stood up and dared to fight back, to erect the dignity of the Blackman. The UK championed the quest to poison Mugabe’s legacy, the same Brexit-UK who don’t want Europeans to settle in the UK! Hypocrisy at its best.

  14. That may have been a weakness, but that doesn’t completely define the man in totality. Who is worse, George and Tony Blair and the Iraq war or Mugabe? We can go on and name a long list of horrible Western imperialists and African stooges like Paul Biya, Campoare, the Bongos of Gabon, etc, that are worse for the world and particularly for Africa and for Africans than Mugabe.

    The west focussed on one side of Mugabe, which is his demand for land redistribution and forgot his fight for Zimbabwean independence and his quest to elevate the Blackman’s dignity. He had his faults one of them being sticking to power for too long, otherwise, Mugabe is an African hero when facing the rest of the world. To the Ndembeles, at the local level, which is sad, he is a monster and he will be judged as such.

    • @ Eyallow, You said it all my brother. I don’t understand how some Africans can’t still use their f’cking brains to think as the white man keeps manipulating their brain. The reason he stayed in power was because of security as he would have been eaten alive by the West after he redistributed the land and Zimbabwe’s riches so that everybody can have a fair share and not just 1% of the population which was white. They couldn’t take him out so they decided to destroy Zimbabwe’s economy and unfortunately Zimbabwe is not as rich as Libya where Qaddafi held on. RIP Great One. The same thing will happen to South Africa one day when they will have a great man like Mugabe who will be bold enough to redistribute the land and the wealth that is owned by 1% of the population which is white.

  15. The reason Mandela is called a hero today by the West is because he promised he was not going to redistribute the land and wealth of South Africa so that everybody i.e the blacks and the whites can each have a fair share. The West will do everything in South Africa so that the 1% of the population which is white controls all the resources. Black lives don’t matter to the West. Watch and see what the West will do to South Africa in the future when a brave South African president like Mugabe will redistribute the Resources which is inevitable. It’s going to happen.

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