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Another longest serving African leader has fallen

06.09.2019
Article from AFRIC editorial
A revered, brave revolutionist who led Zimbabwe into Independence in 1980 dies at the age of 95. Former Zimbabwe President, has been battling ill-health and was being treated in Singapore since April. A full life he lived, a life he spent in Zimbabwe politics. A leader who was intensely loved or otherwise. To some he was a liberator whereas to others, an oppressor either way he was a leader indeed. Mugabe, an orator of his time, was well known for his captivating speeches that would entice one to continue listening to him. His verbal prowess was unparalleled. Famously known for Black emancipation and empowerment, he was a decisive and determined leader who believed in his conviction.

He was grounded in his belief to the extent of telling the former British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, ‘Keep your England and I will keep my Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe will never be a colony again.’ This he expressed in the presence of the British Prime Minister in Sandton, South Africa.

He was one African Leader that usually got the loudest applause on the international stage. He devoted his life to politics and shrugged off colonial rule. But, Alas, a lot of

Some of his contributions and unique traits:

  • Founding father of Zimbabwe
  • Prisoned for a long time during the liberation struggle before going to the war front leading to the Lancaster House
  • Black emancipation
  • He inculcated hard working and resilience within Zimbabwe
  • A strong proponent of education in Zimbabwe
  • He fostered the ideology that Africans must be masters of their own destiny
  • Pan Africanist
  • Convincing
  • Educationalist
  • Decisive and determined leader

He was once the darling of the west in his fist 10 years of leading Zimbabwe. This was evidenced by being conferred with an honorary British knighthood

A snapshot of his controversial rule and legacy can be summarised as follows:

1980: Mugabe named prime minister after independence elections

1982: Military action begins in Matabeleland against perceived uprising; is accused of killing thousands of civilians

1987: Mugabe changes constitution and becomes president

1994: Mugabe receives honorary British knighthood

1999: DRC war participation.

2000: Land seizures of white-owned farms begin; Western donors cut off aid

2005: United States calls Zimbabwe an “outpost of tyranny”

2008: Mugabe and opposition candidate Morgan Tsvangirayi agree to share power after contested election; Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II annuls Mugabe’s honorary knighthood

2011: Prime Minister Tsvangirayi declares power-sharing a failure amid violence

2013: Mugabe wins seventh term; opposition alleges election fraud

2016: #ThisFlag protest movement emerges; independence war veterans turn on Mugabe, calling him “dictatorial”

2017: Mugabe insinuated to be succeeded by his wife, Grace Mugabe

2017: Mugabe steps down under military pressure after he fires deputy Emmerson Mnangagwa, who succeeds him as president

2018: Mugabe announces his support for Opposition party in the 2018 July Harmonised Elections.

2019: Mugabe dies in Singapore

To some, he over stayed in power to the extent that he wanted to die in power. This led to his own close confidant remove him from power in November 2017 in a coup not coup Operation Restore Legacy carried by the Zimbabwe National Army seeing he rise to power of former Zimbabwe Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, a protégé of Mugabe.

He is being praised for his role in the southern African country’s liberation and remembered with bitterness by others who suffered under repression and a collapsing economy. Can we forget the bad he did because of the good? Can we forget the good because of the bad? This man has a controversial legacy and if you are a polarity thinker you will find both poles alarming.

Article from AFRIC editorial

Photo Credit : google image/illustration

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