- "Mugabe was an icon of liberation, a pan-Africanist who dedicated his life to the emancipation and empowerment of his people," his successor, Emerson Mnangagwa, tweeted.
- Mugabe ruled Zimbabwe with an iron fist for almost four decades, from independence in 1980 until 2017.
- Mugabe made several controversial statements during his 37-year reign, about power, colonialism, homosexuality, and others.
Zimbabwe’s former president Robert Mugabe has died, aged 95 years old. The country’s current President, Emerson Mnangagwa, has confirmed the news of his death via the social media network, Twitter. “It is with the utmost sadness that I announce the passing on of Zimbabwe’s founding father and former President, Cde Robert Mugabe,” he tweeted.
In a second message, Mnangagwa added, “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.”
Various international news agencies have reported that the former Zimbabwean president died while receiving treatment in Singapore. Mugabe had been frequenting Singapore for treatment for many years.
Mugabe ruled the south African nation with an iron fist for almost four decades, from Zimbabwe’s independence from the United Kingdom in 1980 until 2017. Mugabe was forced to resign by a bloodless military coup d’etat that ushered in the country’s current leader, Emmerson Mnagagwa. For years, rumors circulated that Mugabe was suffering from prostate cancer, although there was no official confirmation.
Mugabe’s 37 years at the helm made him one of Africa’s longest-serving dictators. He employed unorthodox means to stay in power, and made controversial statements during his long reign about power, colonialism, and homosexuality, among other topics.
Mugabe was strongly opposed to LGBT rights, and he was once quoted calling homosexuals “satanic,” in response to a suggestion by former British Prime Minister David Cameron that Britain could deny aid money to countries which don’t respect gay rights. Mugabe then said that homosexuals were “worse than pigs and dogs,” and gave a stern warning to those practicing the vice in his country. “We will punish you severely,” he said in 2001. Mugabe was never apologetic in his consideration of homosexuals. “Those who do, we’ll say, are wayward. It’s just madness, dementia,” he was quoted as saying.
Born under the colonial system, when Zimbabwe was known as Southern Rhodesia, Mugabe became a revolutionary in the 1960s, when the country became “Rhodesia.” Mugabe valued his education and boasted of seven university degrees. He was involved in the struggle for liberation, and spent ten years in jail for subversion against the racist, white minority regime. But since assuming power in 1980, Mugabe’s policies never matched those of the revolutionary hero that he was initially deemed to be. Instead, his policies ruined Zimbabwe’s economy, which made life for the common person very difficult.