Former Zimbabwe president Robert Mugabe dies at 95

Robert Mugabe has died aged 95

Friday, September 6, 2019

The former prime minister and president of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe, has died aged 95 at a hospital in Singapore.

His near 40-year leadership of the former British colony was mired in accusations of human rights abuses and corruption.

In 2000, he led a campaign to evict white farmers from their land, which was given to black Zimbabweans, and led to famine.

Mugabe retained a strong grip on power, through controversial elections, until he was forced to resign in November 2017, at age 93.

Mugabe meeting then-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher at Chequers in 1988 

Current president Emmerson Mnangagwa confirmed the death, calling Mr Mugabe a "pan-Africanist who dedicated his life to the emancipation and empowerment of his people".

There has been a mixed response to the news.

The South African Government said on its official Twitter account: "We send condolences to the Government and the people of the Zimbabwe following the passing on of their founding leader and former President Robert Mugabe."

However, Labour MP Kate Hoey, who is the chair of Westminster's all-party parliamentary group on Zimbabwe branded Mugabe a "brutal dictator".

She tweeted: "Mugabe brought independence to Zimbabwe and then killed in the Gukurahundi-up to 80,000 of his own citizens in Matabeleland and brought his country to its knees economically. A hero to a brutal dictator."

Prominent Zimbabwean activist Evan Mawarire, who challenged the rule of Mugabe's government, appeared to welcome news of his passing.

"In 2016 Mugabe threatened to have me killed - my response - 'There are many things you have the power to do to us Mr President, but there are 2 things you have no power to stop. You cannot stop your sun from setting & you cannot stop mine from rising'.

"Your sun has set Robert. Goodbye."