Close
Date TimeSeptember 06, 2019
VoiceFinal years in power were characterised by financial collapse, violent intimidation and vicious power struggle

Robert Mugabe, the deeply divisive former president of Zimbabwe, was declared a “national hero” by the ruling Zanu-PF party on Friday, as preparations for his funeral got under way in the nation he ruled with an iron first for almost 40 years.
The death of the former president on Thursday night in a clinic in Singapore marks the definitive end of an era in the former British colony.
Mugabe, who died aged 95, ruled Zimbabwe for close to four decades before being ousted in a military takeover in November 2017.
Though initially admired as a hero of Africa’s independence struggle, his long rule descended into tyranny, corruption and incompetence, earning him international pariah status. His death prompted mixed reactions in Zimbabwe, across Africa and around the world.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who took power after Mugabe’s fall, called his predecessor “an icon of liberation, a pan-Africanist who dedicated his life to the emancipation and empowerment of his people” and said Zimbabwe would be in official mourning until the former leader’s remains were brought back from Singapore and buried.
Tendai Biti, a prominent opposition politician, said that though he had been tortured on Mugabe’s orders, he was not bitter.
“He brought massive destruction to Zimbabwe but was a product of his era. He did not know how to make the transformation from liberation leader to national leader,” Biti told the Guardian.
No plans for a funeral have been announced, but it is expected to take place in the capital, Harare, or Mugabe’s home town of Zvimba.
The ruling African National Congress party in neighbouring South Africa described Mugabe as a “friend, statesman and revolutionary comrade”. In a statement, the ANC acknowledged that it had sometimes “differed vociferously” with him, but remembered “an ardent and vocal advocate of African unity and self-reliance” whose struggle had been an inspiration.
Flags in Kenya were flown at half mast.
But in the UK, Downing Street said that while “we of course express our condolences to those who mourn” the former leader represented “a barrier to a better future”.
“Under his rule the people of Zimbabwe suffered greatly as he impoverished their country and sanctioned the use of violence against them,” a spokesman for prime minister Boris Johnson said.
Robert Mugabe, former Zimbabwe president, dies aged 95
Mugabe had made frequent visits to Singapore to receive medical care in recent months as his health deteriorated. As far back as November 2018, Mnangagwa told members of the ruling Zanu-PF party that Mugabe could no longer walk.
Once widely celebrated for his role in fighting the white supremacist regime in his homeland, Mugabe had long become a deeply divisive figure in his own country and across the continent.
His final years in power were characterised by financial collapse, surges of violent intimidation and a vicious internal power struggle pitting his second wife Grace, 41 years younger than him, against Mnangagwa, his former right-hand man.
The rivalry was resolved when Mnangagwa, a Zanu-PF stalwart, took power when Mugabe reluctantly resigned after a military takeover. The news of his decision prompted widespread rejoicing.
On Friday Mnangagwa thanked “former first lady Grace Mugabe for standing by her husband until the end”.
Grace Mugabe became known for her lavish lifestyle and joined the Zanu-PF politburo by virtue of her leadership of the party’s influential Women’s League in 2014. She became a political liability for the ageing autocrat, however, and her outspoken criticism of Mnangagwa was one of the triggers for the military takeover that ousted her husband.
But Mugabe remained devoted to his wife, calling her “my Grace” in his last press conference and demanding better treatment for his spouse from Zimbabwe’s new rulers.
After his fall, Mugabe was granted the status of a respected father of the nation and a generous pension by the new government. The move angered his many opponents and upset many victims of his regime.
But Mugabe’s own frustration and humiliation over his ousting were clear, and voiced with typical rhetorical force at an extraordinary press conference in the grounds of his residence in Harare days before elections in July 2018.
Mugabe, flanked by his wife, suggested he would vote for the opposition MDC, a party he had brutally suppressed before co-opting it in 2008 to form a supposed unity government that he still dominated.
Robert Mugabe, former Zimbabwe president, dies aged 95
Educated at Catholic missionary schools, Mugabe became a teacher in Ghana then returned to Rhodesia in 1960 to fight white minority rule.
Eventually freedom was won and Mugabe promised to embrace the country’s white population. He led the country through a golden period of economic growth and educational development that was the envy of Africa.
The international community turned a blind eye, however, to human rights abuses, most notably the 1980s ethnic cleansing of at least 20,000 people in Matabeleland province.
Robert Mugabe, former Zimbabwe president, dies aged 95
Opposition rose again in 1999 as the economy floundered and trade unions organised around the Movement for Democratic Change. Mugabe rigged elections and began a programme of land reform in which white farmers were forcibly evicted to make way for Zanu-PF party cronies or black Zimbabweans who lacked the skills and capital to farm.
This helped throw the economy into disarray. Hyperinflation ran riot and supermarket shelves were empty. The once-proud school and health systems began to crumble.
The political environment also became increasingly hostile, with activists and journalists persecuted, jailed or murdered. More than 200 people died in political violence around the 2008 election, which Mugabe was widely seen as having stolen from the MDC’s Morgan Tsvangirai.
Robert Mugabe, former Zimbabwe president, dies aged 95
The late John Makumbe, a politics professor at the University of Zimbabwe, said: “He’ll be remembered as a villain. His legacy was destroyed by his staying, his violence, his imposing his own political allies and rivals.
“The chameleon has its own colour: when it’s frightened, it takes on its original colour, and it’s ugly. He showed his true colours. His true colour is a killer. He killed his enemies.”

Bernie Sanders Advocates Population Control in ‘Poor Countries’
Pope Francis says it is ‘an honour that the Americans attack me'
Mayor Pete Buttigieg: I Can ‘Bring Americans Together’—Unlike Warren, Sanders
Nigerian Ruling Party Demands Takeover of South African Firms
Son of founder of Italy's Five Star Movement under investigation for gang rape
No conviction in California warehouse fire stuns families
Two Palestinian teenagers killed by Israeli fire during clashes: Gaza ministry
iPhone 11 price will prevent many users from upgrading, survey finds
Kehlani and Rapper YG Go Public With Their Romance at New York Fashion Week
Antonio Brown initiated talk that led to Mayock spat
US Open men's semi-final: Daniil Medvedev v Grigor Dimitrov – live!
Hazlewood burst rattles England after Root and Burns show path to survival
Serena Williams out to overcome 2018 US Open meltdown against Andreescu
Brown set to play for Raiders after summer of frostbite, fallouts and fines
Trump and his 2020 primary challenger are both selling black markers now
Opposition Call Bull On Boris Johnson's Election Gambit
NC election tests Trump clout, suburban flight from GOP
More than 76,000 in hurricane-hit Bahamas may need food, other aid: WFP
Trial opens of US cop who killed neighbor in his own apartment
Japanese scientists find new dinosaur species
Police: Fotis Dulos Was ‘Lying in Wait’ for Estranged Wife the Day She Vanished
U.S. Interior Department illegally used fees to keep national parks open during shutdown: GAO
England v Italy: Rugby World Cup warm-up match – live!
Euro 2020: Germany v Netherlands, Scotland and Wales in action – live!
Root and Burns show England path to survival but Hazlewood strikes late blow
Chester Williams, South Africa’s 1995 Rugby World Cup hero, dies aged 49
Legendary Pakistan leg spinner Abdul Qadir dies aged 63
Watch as India attempts a historic moon landing this afternoon
Cold war experiments and storybook monsters - back to Venice's VR island
Waiting for the Barbarians review – Johnny Depp turns up the heat in the desert
Boris Johnson Penned Note Calling David Cameron A 'Girly Swot', Leaked Paper Shows
Pupils Sent Home After Protesting Against 'Gender Neutral' School Uniform
Jeffrey Epstein accuser denies Prince Andrew photo is a 'fake' in letter to the Duke of York
Utah Senators Upset Funds for Air Force Base Will Instead Be Spent on Southern Border Wall
Embattled mayor charged with extorting pot companies
Chinese paper says HK demonstrators now have no excuse for violence
British woman rescued in Bahamas amid fears Dorian's death toll will be 'staggering'
Two Years After DACA Was Rescinded, Hundreds of Thousands of Dreamers Remain in Limbo. Even the Supreme Court Can't Fix the Problem
U.K. House of Lords Approves Measure Blocking No-Deal Brexit
‘It’s all we‘ve talked about’: Manchester giants gear up for WSL derby | Suzanne Wrack
Joe Schmidt ignores fuss over Ireland’s Kleyn to focus on last World Cup hurrah
Charles Leclerc offers Ferrari fans hope of long-awaited home win in Italy
Garry Monk confirmed as new Sheffield Wednesday manager
Vuelta a España: Roglic extends lead as Pogacar takes thrilling 13th stage
The Fiver | Stirring Churchillian rhetoric and the spirit of William Wallace
Sheryl Crow praises Walmart for new gun sale policy, years after her song was banned from its stores
Honey Boy review – Shia LaBeouf turns therapy into big-screen drama
KFC Throws The Tories' Anti-Corbyn Chicken Jibe Back In Their Faces
A$AP Rocky's Former Lawyer Henrik Olsson Lilja Shot In The Head And Chest In Stockholm
No-Deal Brexit Bill Designed To Extend Article 50 Passed By House Of Lords
Merkel in Beijing says Hong Kong freedoms must be 'guaranteed'
Demi Lovato Apologizes for Edited Photos and Posts ‘Cellulit’ Bikini Shot
Mike Pence accused of humiliating hosts in Ireland
Hurricane Dorian death toll will be ‘staggering’, says Bahamas as storm barrels up US coast
Andy Ruiz Jr is the best heavyweight out there, insists Anthony Joshua
Is English goalkeeping heading towards a golden era? | Alex Hess
Speed climber takes on lift in six-storey sprint ... and wins – video
Jay-Z and NFL stage first concert despite Kaepernick backlash
Sheryl Crow praises Walmart for new gun sale policy, years after her song was ban from its stores
The Personal History of David Copperfield review: Dev Patel shines in Iannucci's charmer
Jack O'Connell to play Happy Mondays' Shaun Ryder in biopic
Woody Allen claims he's 'done everything the MeToo movement would love to achieve’
The Farewell's Lulu Wang: ‘I would love it if white men were asked the same questions as me’
Boris Johnson Suggests He Could Allow Sacked Tory Brexit Rebels Back Into Party
Loose Women's 20th Birthday Ends In Chaos As Mr Blobby's Eye Falls Off After Attacking Carol McGiffin
Derry Girls' Nicola Coughlan Expertly Shuts Down Tiresome Debate About Women In Comedy
'Smirking' Identical Triplets Jailed Over Uzi Sub-Machine Gun Plot
US states to launch antitrust and privacy inquiries into Facebook and Google
Business class passenger racially abuses Asian crew member and demands to be served by 'white girl', court hears
China slams Canada after Trudeau criticizes detentions
'Bye, Mom. I love you!' Family torn apart in aftermath of Hurricane Dorian
Scientists discover new 'beaked' whale species off Japanese coast
Southern US to feel like middle of summer as record heat builds into this weekend
As Trump Looted FEMA and the Military for His Border Policies, DHS Bought High-End Chairs With Taxpayer Funds
Dorian puts Jeep to the test on South Carolina beach
Korean Peninsula awaits typhoon; dozens of flights canceled
Brexit Deadlock as Boris Johnson’s Lies Finally Catch Up With Him
The Latest: Dorian churns north along North Carolina coast
Muscle Shoals co-founder Jimmy Johnson dies aged 76
Ashes 2019: England v Australia fourth Test, day three – live!
Wales’s Rhys Patchell: ‘It’s a long time since I have been this excited’ | Paul Rees
Tiger Roll confirmed for historic bid to win third Grand National in a row
Chris Smalling describes racism as ‘unacceptable’ as he settles in at Roma
Newcastle bookseller bans Michael Owen memoir over slights to city
Ben Stokes v Australia: a Headingley miracle – The Spin podcast
Woody Allen: ‘I’ve done everything the MeToo movement would love to achieve’
Scarborough review – a naive morality tale about teacher-pupil affairs
Opposition Parties Agree To Oppose Boris Johnson's Snap Election Plan
Lorraine Kelly Almost Screams Her Studio Down After Being Scared By A Clown In Live Prank
Netflix and Amazon double their spending on UK-made TV shows
BBC Parliament: the ratings hit that's Big Brother meets 24 – with added Bercow
Sketch writing feels impossible in the age of Dom and Dommer | John Crace
Doctor Who, Star Wars, Alien … why do we love novelisations?
French first lady is 'truly ugly,' says Brazilian minister
Shep Smith Torches Trump Over Dorian Map: ‘It Was Fake News Defined’
China slams Canada for accusations of 'arbitrary detentions'
O'Rourke calls for mandatory buyback of AK-47, AR-15 rifles
South Africa shuts embassies in Nigeria amid violence
'The music said scream, so I did' – meet soprano Nora Fischer
Gareth Southgate puts Maddison at heart of his latest England evolution
Chess: age catches up with Garry Kasparov in 5-1 loss to Fabiano Caruana
Georgi Asparuhov – the Bulgarian artist who stunned England at Wembley
'I had some luck': Australia's Steve Smith on Ashes double century – video
Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Fallon recap CNN's 7-hour climate change event, fixate on Biden's bleeding eye
How To Avoid Bank Scam Calls, As Helen Skelton Reveals She Lost £70,000
14 Tweets Summing Up How Parents Feel About Their Kids Heading Back To School
Britain's Got Talent: Simon Cowell Apologises To Oft-Forgotten Winner Jai McDowall Over Previous Negative Comments
Man Gets Charged £55,000 For A Beer In Manchester
Billie Piper Stressed Out By Idea That Women Can 'Have It All' – And She's Not Alone
Anthony Joshua Reveals He Reached Out To Stormzy After Maya Jama Pic Sparked Dating Rumours
Gina Miller Loses High Court Challenge Against Boris Johnson's Suspension Of Parliament
Labour Will Not Vote For An Early General Election, Confirms Emily Thornberry
5 Cute Animals To End The Week: Baby Penguin Takes A Swimming Lesson
Bill de Blasio: We've got to end the availability of assault weapons in this country
James Mattis’s Blistering Criticism of Obama
Taliban supporters cheer US withdrawal plans
Fatal fire foiled rescue attempts by California boat crew
UK drill rappers OFB: 'No one helps us round here. Music is the only way'
Tracks of the week reviewed: AG Cook, Post Malone, Bombay Bicycle Club
Bat for Lashes: Lost Girls review – sunny Cali-flavoured vampire pop
Chrissie Hynde: Valve Bone Woe review – offbeat jazz with rock star cool
Tinariwan: Amadjar review | Ammar Kalia's global album of the month
Notting Hill carnival 2019: the sound systems reviewed
Octo Octa: Resonant Body review – upbeat, free-spirited electronica
Ashes 2019: England v Australia fourth Test, day three, rain delay – live!
Caster Semenya starts 'new journey' after joining football team
Maidstone's revival after going bust in the Football League offers Bury hope
The Austrian football stadium with a forest on the pitch – in pictures
Helmets don't eliminate concussions. It's time for the NFL to ditch them
Football transfer rumours: Oblak to replace De Gea at Manchester United?
BBC's Graham Norton struggles to explain the whole Brexit mess to Stephen Colbert and America
A Minuscule Adventure review – sweet animated tale minus Hollywood distractions
Weapon of choice: how lightsabers hold the key to the Star Wars universe
Kids Reveal Their Favourite Sandwich Fillings, Including Pulled Pork And Avocado
I Won $2Million At A Poker Tournament No One Thought I Deserved To Be At
J.K. Rowling Sparks Harry Potter Fan Speculation With Cryptic Cursed Child Tweet
I Was Diagnosed With Bipolar Disorder At 49. Here's How It's Affected My Marriage
Dramatic Images Show Hurricane Dorian Destruction From Above
Strictly Come Dancing: Emily Atack Emerges As Front-Runner To Replace Jamie Laing
12 Stars You'd Totally Forgotten Were Loose Women, As Show Celebrates 20th Birthday
Being The Only Single One In My Friendship Group Can Be Difficult – But Liberating
Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe’s First Post-Independence Leader, Dead At 95
Facebook has launched its new dating service in the US. Sounds safe, right?
Neighbours goes back to school in spin-off miniseries Erinsborough High
Our Boys: drama about killings of Israeli and Palestinian teens opens old wounds
'I quit': how the papers covered Jo Johnson's resignation
Royal stuff-up? 60 Minutes shocks with use of racist critic in attack on Meghan | The Weekly Beast
Letter: Sir Michael Franklin obituary
Mike Pence accused of humiliating hosts in Ireland: 'He shat on the carpet'
Crew told of 'harrowing' California boat fire that killed 34: NTSB
Trump shows fake map in effort to back his false claim Hurricane Dorian may hit Alabama
Manafort's lawyers: State charges are double jeopardy
David Pocock to end Test rugby career after Wallabies' World Cup tilt
Australia women crush West Indies in historic ODI win
Women’s Super League 2019-20: 10 things to look out for this season
Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Kimmel, and Seth Meyers are getting worried about Trump's Alabama hurricane obsession
Fox News’s Shepard Smith blasts Trump for his 'endless' fake news
'I'm a perfectionist' – director Lynne Ramsay on delays, self-image and dancing with Joaquin Phoenix
N.Korea wants reduced UN aid presence
A man in Florida spent $50,000 at Costco on 100 generators and supplies for devastated Bahamas
Carolinas coast braces for flooding, hazards from Dorian
The Latest: Dive boat owner says crew tried to reach victims
Green Bay Packers smother Chicago Bears to take victory in NFL season opener
Bianca Andreescu bears down on big points to reach first US Open final
Minnesota man spends 10 years handcrafting 10 violins for his grandchildren
Natural Born Killers at 25: the problem with Oliver Stone's hit film
Egyptian Magic Review: Worthy Of Cult Status Or A Skincare Snake Oil?
Ukraine releases 'key MH17 suspect' ahead of expected prisoner swap with Russia
Pentagon chief says he currently has no plan to seize Iranian tanker Adrian Darya 1
Trumpworld Anxiety Grows Over a Rising Elizabeth Warren
U.S. Treasury warns anyone fueling Iran tanker risks being blacklisted
Turkey threatens to ‘open gates’ for Syrian refugees to leave and move to the West if it doesn't get safe zone
Serena Williams overwhelms Elina Svitolina to reach 10th US Open final
Trump Mideast envoy to leave job before peace plan released
Trump insists incorrect ‘Sharpiegate’ hurricane map is accurate
Vegetarians have a higher risk of stroke than those who eat meat, study finds
The Latest: Dive boat owners seek to head off lawsuits
Kushner's Middle East peace plan drifts further astray as envoy resigns
'Bye, Mom. I love you!' Family torn apart in aftermath Hurricane Dorian
Israeli-Palestinian peace deal architect Greenblatt resigns
Beto O'Rourke takes on Meghan McCain over gun rights amid gun control debate after mass shootings
Serena Williams beats Elina Svitolina in US Open women's semi-final – as it happened
Carol Lynley, ‘The Poseidon Adventure’ Star, Dies at 77
The Obamas' first film: will American Factory be the biggest documentary of 2019?
Trump refuses to concede he was wrong about hurricane forecast
Utah woman arrested at Manila airport with newborn in bag
Russian, Italian charged with stealing GE Aviation secrets
Hurricane Dorian skirts U.S. coast, soaking the Carolinas
2 more House Republicans retiring ahead of 2020 elections
33 bodies recovered after California dive boat disaster
Did we make Nicki Minaj retire – or is she pulling the biggest troll of 2019?
Talking Horses: Warned-off punter claims bookmaker owes him £100k
Ash Barty moves to within one win of back-to-back US Open doubles titles
Euro 2020 qualifying roundup: Spain cling on, Italy rally and Pukki scores
Diego Maradona returns to coaching with Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata
WSL: 10 things to look out for in the Women’s Super League this season
Crazy Rich Asians co-writer quits after being offered eighth of writer's salary
Rapid Response review – motor sports documentary stays in the slow lane
Ne Zha review – scary demon-child animation
Parents Shy Away From Saying The Word ‘Vagina’ – And Use Euphemisms Instead
Close