Who was Robert Mugabe? Former president of Zimbabwe who has died aged 95

Who was Robert Mugabe? Former president of Zimbabwe who has died aged 95

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THE former President of Zimbabwe Robert Mugabe has died at the age of 95.

He passed away in Singapore surrounded by his family including wife Grace.

The former president pictured at his home in 2018, a year after he was deposed
Reuters

Who was Robert Mugabe?

Mr Mugabe, born 21 February 1924, was a communist and nationalist revolutionary.

In the 1970s he led a guerrilla campaign against the minority white government in what was then known as Rhodesia.

In 1979, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher announced that the UK would officially recognise Rhodesia’s independence if it moved to democratic majority rule.

Mugabe was elected Prime Minister the following year when his ZANU-PF secured 63 per cent of the national vote.

He has clung to power since by crushing opposition through constitutional changes and cracking down on dissent with state force.

Mugabe abolished the Office of Prime Minister to appoint himself President of Zimbabwe in 1987.

Human rights groups have accused him of blatant abuses and overseeing a wave of anti-white discrimination and state corruption while the economy tanked.

Many believed that his wife Grace, at nearly half his age, had been lined up for the job.

e resigned after being captured in a military coup in the early hours of 15 November 2017.

At the time he was the world’s oldest head of state and was the only leader the country had known since its independence in 1980.

It is believed he had been receiving treatment for an undisclosed illness since April.

Current president Emmerson Mnangagwa had said in November that Mugabe was unable to walk due to ill-health.

He was regarded by many as a tyrant, willing to unleash death squads, rig elections and trash the economy in the relentless pursuit of power.

Instagram(@gxshxngo)

A recent picture of Robert Mugabe in wheelchair with his son Robert Jr.[/caption]

Mugabe and his wife Grace, who is 41 years his junior. She was being lined up to succeed him

Who are Robert Mugabe’s family?

Mr Mugabe was married to Grace (nee Marufu), his former secretary who he began an affair with in 1987 while his first wife Sally (nee Hayfron).

Grace is 41 years his junior, and together they have a daughter Bona, born in 1988, son Robert, born in 1990, and youngest son Bellarmine, born in 1997.

In 1992, Mugabe’s wife Sally died. Four years later, Mugabe and Grace were married.

The Mugabe family are known for displaying their lavish lifestyle on social media, with Grace and her children often seen wearing designer clothes.

Tanks on the streets on 14 November 2017 taking part in the coup that deposed the tyrant
Reuters

Why was Mugabe toppled?

Mugabe had led Zimbabwe since 1980 before being ousted from power after a military coup in 2017.

He went from a figure who initially reached out to the country’s white population after the long war between black guerrillas and the white rulers of Rhodesia.

Tourism and mining flourished and Zimbabwe was a regional breadbasket.

But in the 2000 he led a campaign to evict white farmers from their land.

His supporters, the so-called “war veterans”, occupied white-owned farms and a number of farmers and their black workers were killed.

The action served to undermine the already battered economy as Zimbabwe’s once valuable agricultural industry fell into ruin.

Zimbabwe moved rapidly from being one of Africa’s biggest food producers to having to rely on foreign aid to feed its population.

Factories were closing, unemployment was rising and the country abandoned its currency for the US dollar in 2009 because of hyperinflation.

In the meantime, Mugabe held onto power despite mounting opposition

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

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.

When did he resign?

Despot Mugabe resigned as leader of Zimbabwe on Tuesday, November 21.

Parliament speaker Jacob Mudenda read the dictator’s resignation letter to the country’s lawmakers.

“I Robert Gabriel Mugabe in terms of section 96 of the constitution of Zimbabwe hereby formally tender my resignation… with immediate effect,” said speaker Mudenda, reading the letter.

Following the resignation announcement, there were joyous scenes on the streets of the capital Harare and in parliament.

Reports first emerged on November 15, 2017, that Mugabe had been placed under house arrest by the Zimbabwean armed forces. 

Tanks were seen roaming moving through the streets as troops entered buildings in Harare.

He refused to leave office for eight days ahead of a military takeover.

Thousands of Zimbabweans had gathered outside parliament to urge MPs to ensure Mugabe left power.

On November 23, Mugabe and his wife were granted immunity from prosecution, the military said.

It’s after Mugabe told negotiators he wanted to die in Zimbabwe.

The frail leader vowed to stay in power in a rambling 21-minute speech
AP:Associated Press


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