ROBERT MUGABE: Zimbabwe begins National Mourning and Mixed Reactions.
Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe’s first post-independence leader, has died aged 95 on Friday, 6th September.
He died after battling ill health, having been in hospital in Singapore since April. The former president was ousted in a military coup in November 2017, ending three decades in power.
He won Zimbabwe’s first election after independence, becoming prime minister in 1980, abolishing the office in 1987, becoming president instead.
Zimbabwe was on Saturday due to begin a period of national mourning following the death of Robert Mugabe, the former guerrilla hero turned despot who ruled Zimbabwe for 37 years.
As Zimbabweans expressed sharply divided opinions about Mugabe, President Emmerson Mnangagwa said his predecessor had been declared a “national hero” and that Zimbabwe would mourn him until the burial.
Some Zimbabweans hailed him as a “true African” and a “revolutionary icon”. For others, however, his named evoked only “evil”, “destruction” and “suffering”.
“Mugabe was an educated man but he used his education for evil,” said Baster Magwizi, a war veteran in the southwestern city of Bulawayo.
“He manipulated everyone around him and fooled the world, only Zimbabweans can testify to this as we lived in hell under his leadership,” he said.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa remembered Mugabe as a “liberation fighter” and a “champion of Africa’s cause against colonialism”.
Kenyan leader Uhuru Kenyatta hailed Mugabe as an “elder statesman, a freedom fighter and a Pan-Africanist who played a major role in shaping the interests of the African continent”.
China lauded him as an “outstanding national liberation movement leader” while Russian President Vladimir Putin noted Mugabe’s “great personal contribution” to Zimbabwe’s independence.
But Britain said there were “mixed emotions” after his death.
“Zimbabweans suffered for too long as a result of Mugabe’s autocratic role,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.
The Mugabe years are widely remembered for his crushing of political dissent and policies that ruined the economy.
We sympathize with the family of Mugabe and the nation Zimbabwe.