- Robert Mugabe has passed away
- His struggle to free Zimbabwe from colonisation will forever be applauded
- However, his legacy was clouded by corruption and violence
Zimbabwe’s former President Robert Mugabe has died in Singapore aged 95. The former state leader had been battling ill health. His legacy is marked by both victories and scandals.
Robert Gabriel Mugabe was born on 21 February 1924 at the Kutama Mission village in Southern Rhodesia's Zvimba District. He was one of six children born to his father Gabriel.
He spent 1945 to 1960 teaching in Zimbabwe (formerly known as Rhodesia). In 1949 he was awarded a scholarship to study at the University of Fort Hare in South Africa. He later relocated to Ghana to work at St Mary's Teacher Training College in 1958.
Angered that Southern Rhodesia was a colony of the British Empire governed by its white minority, Mugabe embraced Marxism and joined African nationalist protests calling for an independent state. He was arrested for making anti-government comments and jailed between 1964 and 1974.
After his release, he fled to Mozambique and established the ZANU party. His party fought in the Rhodesian Bush War, fighting Ian Smith's predominantly white government.
Mugabe took part in peace negotiations with the UK and the Lancaster House Agreement resulted. The agreement ended the war and resulted in the 1980 general election, which led to a Mugabe ZANU-PF victory.
As Prime Minister, Mugabe's administration expanded healthcare and education. He began to pursue the idea of decolonisation by emphasising the redistribution of land owned by white people to landless black natives.
From 2000 he encouraged black Zimbabweans to violently seize white-owned farms. This resulted in widespread outrage from the global community and international sanctions. Opposition to his leadership began to grow. He was re-elected in 2002, 2008, and 2013 through campaigns that were allegedly dominated by violence and electoral fraud.
In 2017, Robert Mugabe was ousted from power in a military coup back in November 2017 and his deputy Emmerson Mnangagwa took over. Some of the last words Mugabe said to Zimbabwe in his resignation speech were:
"Asante sana, goodnight."
Briefly.co.za reported that Mnangagwa had confirmed his predecessor had left Zimbabwe to seek medical treatment in Singapore.
Mugabe was a controversial figure. Some praise him as a revolutionary hero of the African liberation struggle who helped free Zimbabwe from British colonialism, imperialism, and white minority rule. Critics, however, call him a dictator responsible for widespread corruption and crimes against humanity.
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