Zimbabwe’s ex-president Robert Mugabe dies at 95

Following a brief illness that confined Zimbabwe’s first post-independence leader, Robert Mugabe to a hospital in Singapore for more than four months, he finally gave up the ghost today September 6, at aged 95.

The news of his death was confirmed by President Emmerson Mnangagwa on twitter. “It is with the utmost sadness that I announce the passing on of Zimbabwe’s founding father and former President, Cde Robert Mugabe. 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,” Mnangagwa posted.

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 (2/2)— President of Zimbabwe (@edmnangagwa) 6 September 2019

The ex-president who has been receiving treatment since April was ousted in a military coup in 2017 after 37 years in power. He won Zimbabwe’s first election after it secured independence from the UK, becoming prime minister in 1980.

On 21 February 1924, in what was then Rhodesia, a British colony, Mugabe was born. At 40, he was imprisoned for criticising the government of Rhodesia. He spent more than a decade without trial in prison.

From prison, he rose to become president of the Zimbabwe African National Union (Zanu), after he was chosen in 1973. Upon his release, Mugabe headed to Mozambique and led guerrilla raids into Rhodesia, after a growing rebellion and economic sanctions forced the white minority colonial government to the negotiating table.

Mugabe’s early years were praised for broadening access to health and education for the black majority, however, his later years were marked by rights abuses and corruption that the announcement of his resignation on November 21, 2017, triggered wild celebrations in the streets of the capital, Harare.

Mugabe’s decline in his last years as president was partly linked to the political ambitions of his wife, Grace. Even the World Health Organization has revoked the appointment of Robert Mugabe as “goodwill ambassador” after a mass outcry from international leaders and health experts.