Former Zimbabwe leader Robert Mugabe has died at the age of 95 following several weeks of ill health, the current president of the country has confirmed.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa shared a message on social media, writing: “It is with the utmost sadness that I announce the passing on of Zimbabwe’s founding father and former President, Cde Robert Mugabe. 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.”
According to local news outlet ZimLive, Mugabe died in Singapore after receiving treatment there. It’s claimed that Mnangagwa told a Cabinet meeting that doctors had discontinued treatment two weeks ago.
Comments flooded social media following the news of his death, with one user writing on Twitter: “I really really want to let up my honest feelings about him passing away but I am familiar with the phrase of if you have nothing nice to say so I bite my tongue for right now.”
It is with the utmost sadness that I announce the passing on of Zimbabwe's founding father and former President, Cde Robert Mugabe (1/2)
— President of Zimbabwe (@edmnangagwa) September 6, 2019
Another said: “He was a bad man and selfish for his own ends, no hypocrisy after making a very open rational between good and bad!” While a third wrote: “An immense figure for Africa has finally gone. RIP Robert Mugabe”
Zimbabwe’s education secretary Fadzayi Mahere tweeted: “Rest In Peace, Robert Mugabe.” Another wrote: “Wonderful news sadly the people of Zimbabwe :flag-zw: will suffer for many years still due this horrible mans actions.”
Mugabe co-founded the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) in 1963, a resistance movement against British colonial rule. However, he was later imprisoned for a decade for anti-government comments between 1964 and 1974. On release, he became prime minister in 1980 of the new Republic of Zimbabwe before being made President seven years later.
The former leader was given royal treatment on his state visit to the UK 25 years ago, with pictures even showing him sharing a carriage ride with the Queen as well as a full banquet. However in the years that followed he became known as somewhat of a tyrant, with many accusing him of leading death squads across the country, vote-rigging and persecution of his political opponents. He was famously ousted in a military coup in November 2017.
While he was initially praised in his first years in power for making health and education more accessible for the black majority, he went on to spark outrage and hate from around the world with his controversial land reform programme.