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Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe Ex-President, Dies Aged 95

Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe’s first post-independence leader, has died aged 95.

His family confirmed his death to the BBC. Mr Mugabe had been receiving treatment in a hospital in Singapore since April.

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He was ousted in a military coup in 2017 after 37 years in power.

Mr Mugabe’s early years were praised for broadening access to health and education for the black majority – but his later years were marked by rights abuses and corruption.

He won Zimbabwe’s first election after it secured independence from the UK, becoming prime minister in 1980.

He abolished the office in 1987, becoming president instead.

Who was Robert Mugabe?

Mr Mugabe was born on 21 February 1924 in what was then Rhodesia – a British colony, run by its white minority.

He was imprisoned for more than a decade without trial after criticising the government of Rhodesia in 1964.

In 1973, while still in prison, he was chosen as president of the Zimbabwe African National Union (Zanu), of which he was a founding member.

Once released, he headed to Mozambique, from where he directed guerrilla raids into Rhodesia. But he was also seen as a skilled negotiator.

Political agreements to end the crisis resulted in the new independent Republic of Zimbabwe.

With his high profile in the independence movement, Mr Mugabe secured an overwhelming victory in the republic’s first election.

But over his decades in power, international perceptions soured, with an increasing number of critics portraying Mr Mugabe as a kind of dictator.

In 2000, facing serious political opposition for the first time, he seized white-owned farms to resettle black farmers, causing economic disruption but boosting his popularity among supporters.

Around the same time, pro-Mugabe militias used violence to influence political outcomes. In 2008, when he lost the first round of the presidential election, attacks on the opposition resulted in his rival pulling out of the contest.

He famously declared that only god could remove him from office.

Kingdom FM Online

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