Prime News Kenya

Robert Mugabe dies aged 95

Posted By : Justice Bimpeh
Robert Mugabe
Robert Mugabe

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

He died after battling ill health, his family confirmed to the BBC. Mr. Mugabe had been in hospital in Singapore since April.

He 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. He abolished the office in 1987, becoming president instead.

Mugabe's early years were praised for broadening access to health and education for the black majority. But his controversial land reform programme sparked an economic collapse and his latter years were marked by rights abuses and corruption.

His successor, Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa, expressed his "utmost sadness", calling Mr. Mugabe "Zimbabwe's founding father" and "an icon of liberation".

'Liberation icon'

Mr. Mugabe was born on 21 February 1924 in what was then Rhodesia.

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 adopted a militant stance, heading to Mozambique and directing guerrilla raids into Rhodesia. But he was also seen as a skilled negotiator.

Political agreements to end the crisis resulted in the newly independent Republic of Zimbabwe, elections for which were first held in 1980.

Robert Mugabe - key dates
1924: Born

Later trained as a teacher

1964: Imprisoned by Rhodesian government

1980: Wins post-independence elections

1996: Marries Grace Marufu

2000: Loses referendum, pro-Mugabe militias invade white-owned farms and attack opposition supporters

2008: Comes second in the first round of elections to Tsvangirai who pulls out of run-off amid nationwide attacks on his supporters

2009: Amid economic collapse, swears in Tsvangirai as prime minister, who served in uneasy government of national unity for four years

2017: Sacks long-time ally Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa, paving the way for his wife Grace to succeed him

November 2017: Army intervenes and forces him to step down

Source: BBC

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