HARARE, ZIMBABWE – Former Zimbabwean long serving president Robert Mugabe died peacefully Sunday at his home in Harare, according to a statement from his family. The cause of death was not given.
A statement from Mugabe’s wife, Grace Mugabe, said: “My family joins me in sharing the difficult news that Robert Gabriel Mugabe, our beloved husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather has passed away at 94 years of age. His life was filled with love of God, his family and his country.”
President Emmerson Mnangagwa issued a statement saying that he and first lady Auxilia Mnangagwa were “greatly saddened” to hear of the former president’s death.
“Ex-president Mugabe was a great Zimbabwean who gave many years of dedicated service to our country,” Mr Mnangagwa said.
“The Zimbabwean people will always admire Robert Mugabe’s devotion to duty, his personal character, and the honorable conduct of his administration. We mourn the loss of such a leader, and our longest serving president will always have a special place in our Nation’s memory. On behalf of all Zimbabweans, Auxilia and I offer our deepest sympathies to Grace Mugabe and all of the family. Our thoughts and prayers will be with them in the hours and days ahead,” – he concluded.
Robert Gabriel Mugabe, 94, was the longest serving President of Zimbabwe, serving from 1987-2017.
As one of the leaders of the rebel groups in opposition to white minority rule, he was elected Prime Minister in 1980, serving in that office as head of the government, until 1987, when he became the country’s first executive head of state.
He had led the Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front (ZANU–PF) since 1975.
As of August 2017, he was the world’s oldest and one of the longest serving Head of State.
His 36-year rule has been characterised by gross human rights violations, resulting in him joining the world list of dictators.
Mugabe rose to prominence in the 1960s as the leader of the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) during the conflict against the conservative white-minority government of Rhodesia.
Upon release Mugabe, along with Edgar Tekere, immediately left Rhodesia with the assistance of Rekayi Tangwena in 1975 to launch the fight during the Rhodesian Bush War from bases in Mozambique.
At the end of the war in 1979, Mugabe emerged as a hero in the minds of many Africans.
He won the general elections of 1980 after calling for reconciliation between the former belligerents, including white Zimbabweans and rival political parties, and thereby became Prime Minister on Zimbabwe’s independence in April 1980.
On 6 November 2017, Mugabe sacked his first vice president, Emmerson Mnangagwa. This fueled speculation that he intended to name Grace his successor. Grace was very unpopular with the ZANU-PF old guard. 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 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.
In a nationally televised speech that night, Mugabe refused to say that he would resign. In response, ZANU-PF deputies introduced an impeachment resolution on 21 November 2017, which was seconded by the MDC-T.
The constitution stipulated that removing a president from office required a two-thirds majority of both the House of Assembly and Senate in a joint sitting. However, with both major parties supporting the motion, Mugabe’s impeachment and removal appeared all but certain..
Mugabe and his wife negotiated a deal before his resignation, under which he and his kin are exempted from prosecution, his business interests will remain untouched and he was set to receive a payment of at least $10 million.
He left behind four children,namely; Bona Mugabe, Robert Peter Mugabe Jr., Chatunga Bellarmine Mugabe, Michael Nhamodzenyika Mugabe and surviving spouse, Grace Mugabe.