Zimbabwe former President, Robert Mugabe, who led the country from 1980 to 2017, died at the age of 95, head of state Emmerson Mnangagwa announced on Friday.
“Explore Notifications Messages Bookmarks Lists Profile More Thread Conversation President of Zimbabwe @edmnangagwa It is with the utmost sadness that I announce the passing on of Zimbabwe’s founding father and former President, Cde Robert Mugabe ” said Emmerson Mnangagwa in a tweet.
“Commander Cde 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” he added.
It is with the utmost sadness that I announce the passing on of Zimbabwe's founding father and former President, Cde Robert Mugabe (1/2)
— President of Zimbabwe (@edmnangagwa) September 6, 2019
“A black cloud has enveloped Zimbabwe and far beyond,” said a former Robert Mugabe minister, Jonathan Moyo, at the news of the death of the former president. “A black day,” tweeted his spokesman Jealousy Mawarire.
Robert Mugabe took the reins of former Rhodesia, which became independent in 1980. During his 37-year reign as head of Zimbabwe, one of the longest on the African continent, he rose from a hero of independence and darling of the West to that of a tyrant who caused the economic collapse of his country.
Welcomed as a liberator in 1980, his policy of reconciliation, in the name of the unity of the country, earned him general praise, especially in foreign capitals. But quickly, the hero is lost in an authoritarian drift and the regime hardens against its opponents.
His abuses against the opposition, electoral fraud and especially his violent agrarian reform launched in 2000 earned him the condemnations of the West.
At the end of 2017, following a coup by the army backed by his party, Zanu-PF, the world’s oldest incumbent head of state at the time, was forced to resign. It leaves a country stuck in a deep economic crisis that continues to worsen today.
He was replaced at the head of the country by his former vice president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, whom he had dismissed shortly before.
Accustomed to shocking, often provocative formulas, Robert Mugabe often provoked the indignation of his detractors as well as the applause of his followers.
Since his humiliating resignation, the frail old man had made very few public appearances. According to the local press, he has made many medical trips to Singapore, where he has been going regularly for several years.
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