|“||This land is ours. We are now the rulers and owners of Zimbabwe.||„|
|~ Robert Mugabe|
Robert Mugabe (February 21st, 1924 - September 6th, 2019) was the former dictator of Zimbabwe who was in power from 1980 until 2017, first coming to power after defeating Ian Smith in the Rhodesian Bush War and gaining Zimbabwe's independence from the United Kingdom. He remained in power until 2017, after being forced to step down by members of his own party. At the time of his removal from office, Mugabe was the longest ruling non-royal head of state in the world, having ruled Zimbabwe for 36 years.
Ideologically an African nationalist, during the Cold War he identified as a Marxist–Leninist, and as a socialist after the 1990s. His policies have been described as Mugabeism.
Mugabe commonly supported extreme Pan-Africanism by calling for the killing of all whites. He was incredibly corrupt and caused severe inflation, with his policies all but destroying Zimbabwe's economy. He was also guilty of protecting Ethiopian dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam and Protais Mpiranya, a Rwandan soldier who helped carry out the Rwandan Genocide. He is thought to have risen to power by fear mongering and electoral deception.
Just hours after he came to power his Presidential Guard started a pre-dawn revenge rampage on his political opponents and used it as an excuse to murder yet more white farmers than he previously had and seize their property. They raped as many women as possible, white and black, right in front of their families. He redistributed the seized property and money to lazy, incompetent cronies who promptly killed the farms and plunged the rest of the country into abject poverty while the regime subsisted on lavish foreign aid.
During his early years in power, he assembled a special forces unit known as the Fifth Brigade, which massacred thousands of Ndebele in a series of pogroms known as the Gukurahundi from 1983 to 1987. This was to punish the Ndebele tribe for supporting the ZAPU (Zimbabwe African People's Union) over his party, the ZANU (Zimbabwe African National Union) which was mainly supported by Mugabe's Shona tribe. If they weren’t killed outright they were sent to concentration camps.
These massacres ended when ZAPU leader Joshua Nkomo agreed to merge his party with ZANU to form ZANU-PF (Zimbabwe African National Union - Popular Front) on 22 December 1987. All Fifth Brigade members were granted amnesty for their participation in the massacres. Although there are different estimates, the consensus of the International Association of Genocide Scholars or IAGS is that more than 20,000 people were killed. The IAGS has classified the massacres as a genocide.
Also during his time in an office, thousands of Zimbabweans have been made homeless thanks to a land reform program. He believes LGBT people are worse than dogs and has been called "The Hitler of Africa", a nickname which he openly embraced.
Having dominated Zimbabwe's politics for nearly four decades, Mugabe is a controversial figure. He has been praised as a revolutionary hero of the African liberation struggle who helped to free Zimbabwe from British colonialism, imperialism, and white minority rule. Conversely, in governance he has been accused of being a dictator responsible for economic mismanagement, widespread corruption, anti-white racism, human rights abuses, and crimes against humanity, so much so that multiple individuals and organizations have lobbied for Mugabe to be brought before the International Criminal Court to stand trial. Australia and New Zealand had previously called for this in 2005, and a number of Zimbabwean NGOs did so in 2006.
On 15 November 2017, the Zimbabwe National Army placed Mugabe under house arrest as part of what it described as an action against "criminals" in Mugabe's circle.
On 19 November, he was sacked as leader of ZANU–PF, and Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa was appointed in his place. The party also gave Mugabe an ultimatum: resign by noon the following day, or it would introduce an impeachment resolution against him.
As per the constitution, both chambers met in joint session to debate the resolution. Hours after the debate began, the Speaker of the House of Assembly read a letter from Mugabe announcing that he had resigned, effective immediately.
Mugabe passed away on September 6, 2019, at the age of 95 at Gleneagles Hospital in Singapore. His cause of death has not been revealed, but several sources, including his successor Mnangagwa, claim that Mugabe had advanced cancer and had been undergoing chemotherapy for the past several months.
On 14 September 2019, Mugabe's funeral, which was also open to public attendance, was held at the National Sports Stadium in Harare, with an aerial photo showing the 60,000 capacity stadium to be about a quarter full. The funeral was attended by leaders of various African countries, including Mnangagwa, Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya and Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa.
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