Robert Mugabe has died, aged 95. Picture: Phill Magakoe/AFP Photo
Robert Mugabe has died, aged 95. Picture: Phill Magakoe/AFP Photo

Dictator Robert Mugabe dead

Robert Mugabe has died aged 95.

The former Zimbabwe prime minister died in Singapore on Friday morning.



Mugabe had reportedly been receiving treatment for ill-health since April.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa told a Cabinet meeting two weeks ago that doctors had discontinued his treatment.

On Friday he confirmed the news in a tweet.

"It is with the utmost sadness that I announce the passing on of Zimbabwe's founding father and former President, Cde Robert Mugabe," he said.

"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."

Rumours of ill health have dogged Mugabe for several years.

In 2010 there were reports that he had prostate cancer, and in January 2014, further reports surfaced stating he had collapsed at the State House in Zimbabwe's capital, Harare.

According to reports, the message confirming his death said: "Gushungo is no more. Rest in Peace Sekuru." Gushungo is Mugabe's clan name and Sekuru means "uncle".

Mugabe became prime minister of Zimbabwe in 1980 and served as the country's president from 1987 until his forced resignation in 2017.

He was accused of vote rigging, intimidation and embezzlement until the military coup booting.

Mugabe's rule was a reign of discord and terror for the fledgling African republic.



He presided over periods of hyperinflation and famine, persecuted opposition politicians and homosexuals and was widely regarded as having rigged multiple elections in an effort to hang on to power.

Although Mugabe was given multiple honours by Western nations during the 1980s and early 1990s - including an honorary Knighthood by the Queen - by the turn of the century his reputation was that of a despotic dictator, responsible for massive human rights abuses, including the seizure of lands owned by white farmers.

He was stripped of most of the honours he had previously earned, and in 2005, the White House listed Zimbabwe as one of six "outposts of tyranny".

In 2005, he quietly adopted constitutional changes that made it easier for the state to seize private property and prevent opponents from travelling abroad to criticise his 25-year rule.

When Mugabe lost the presidential election to Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the opposing Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), on March 29, 2008, he was unwilling to let go of the reins and demanded a recount.

A run-off election was to be held that June but in the meantime, MDC supporters were being violently attacked and killed by members of Mugabe's opposition.

Mugabe's refusal to hand over presidential power led to another violent outbreak that injured thousands and resulted in the death of 85 of Tsvangirai's supporters.

Mugabe made headlines in late July 2013, amid discussion about the highly anticipated Zimbabwean election, when he was asked whether he planned to run again in the 2018 election, when he would be 94.

"Why do you want to know my secrets?" he told The New York Times.



The end of Mugabe's 37-year tenure was met with applause from parliament members, as well as celebrations on the streets of Zimbabwe.

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.

Among his most famous quotes, Mugabe said he was "still the Hitler of the time".

"This Hitler has only one objective: justice for his people, sovereignty for his people, recognition of the independence of his people and their rights over their resources," he said at a state funeral of a Cabinet minister in 2003.

"If that is Hitler, then let me be Hitler tenfold. Ten times, that is what we stand for."

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."

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