Robert Mugabe

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President
Robert Mugabe
Robert Gabriel Mugabe
Born Robert Gabriel Mugabe
(1924-02-21) February 21, 1924 (age 92)
Zvimba
Residence Borrowdale Brooke, Harare
Nationality Zimbabwe
Citizenship Zimbabwean
Education Kutama College, University of Zimbabwe, University of Fort Hare, University of South Africa, University of London
Alma mater University of Zimbabwe
Occupation
  • President of the Republic of Zimbabwe
Years active 1960 to present
Employer Government of Zimbabwe
Home town Mashonaland West Province
Predecessor Canaan Banana
Political party
Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front
Religion Christianity
Spouse(s) Grace Mugabe
Children Bona Mugabe, Robert Mugabe Junior and Chatunga Bellamine Mugabe
Parents Robert Matibili Mugabe and Bona Mugabe

Robert Mugabe is a Zimbabwean revolutionary and statesman who has been President of the Republic of Zimbabwe since 1987. Previously, he was the prime minister of Zimbabwe since the attainment of independence until 1980. He is also the co-founder of the ZANU-PF. By different sections of people both locally and abroad, Mugabe has been viewed as both a ruthless dictator and champion of the previously marginalised interest of the majority black people. Most recently he is most known for leading Zimbabwe into one of its worst periods economically, but also leading the crafting of the land question through the Third Chimurenga exercise of the 2000 - 2010 decade.

Background

He was born Robert Gabriel Mugabe in Matibiri village near Kutama Jesuit Mission in Zvimba district on February 21, 1924.[1] His father Robert Matibili (Malawian) who was a carpenter left for South Africa and then to Bulawayo to look for work and never came back leaving his mother Bona Mugabe to bear the burden of taking care of him alone. He is the third born of six children. He has two older brothers Michael and Raphael, young brother Donato and two sisters Bridget and Sabina.

He married Sally Mugabe near Hayfron in 1961 and together they had one son Michael Nhamodzenyika who died in his infancy. Sally died of kidney failure in 1992 prompting Mugabe to marry Grace Mugabe near Marufu who was his secretary in 1996. The couple has three children who are Bona Mugabe, Robert Mugabe Junior and Bellamine Chatunga.[2]

Educational Background

He did his secondary school at Kutama College.He has 16 degrees, 9 of which he studied for and 5 honorary degrees.

  • Honorary Doctor of Laws from the University of Morehouse
  • Master of Science from the University of London
  • Honorary Doctor of Laws from St Augustine College of South Africa
  • Bachelor of Science from the University of London
  • Honorary Doctor of Laws from the University of Moscow
  • Bachelor of Arts from University of Fort Hare
  • Honorary Doctor of Laws from University of Solusi
  • Honorary Doctor of Commerce from University of Fort Hare
  • Honorary Doctor of Literature/Letters from University of Africa
  • Bachelor of Administration from University of South Africa
  • Honorary Doctor of Laws from University of Ahmadou Bello, Nigeria
  • Bachelor of Education from University of South Africa
  • Honorary Doctor of Laws from University of Zimbabwe
  • Bachelor of Law from University of London External Programme
  • Honorary Doctor of Laws from University of Michigan State, United States of America
  • Master of Laws from University of London External Programme.
  • On 26 July 2005, Mugabe was conferred with an Honorary Professorship from the Chinese Foreign Affairs University which is run by the External Affirs Department.[3]

General Career

He became a lecturer at Chalimbana Teacher Training College in Zambia from 1955 to 1958 before joining St Mary's Teacher Training College in Ghana where he served as lecturer from 1958 to 1960.

Political career

He joined active politics in 1960 when he joined the Joshua Nkomo led National Democratic Party (NDP) which opposed white minority rule. When the party was banned, he joined a breakaway party Zimbabwe African People's Union (ZAPU). In 1963 he co-founded the ZANU PF which he currently heads. The Mgaogao Declaration of October 1975 formed the basis of Mugabe's elevation as Zanu-PF leader at a special congress held in Chimoio, Mozambique in 1977. The document also laid the basis for the removal of Reverend Ndabaningi Sithole as leader of ZANU.[4]

Mugabe became the first Prime Minister in independent Zimbabwe, a position he held until 1987 when he became president.

Positions Held

  1. Chairman on Politics And Security Organisation on Defence South African Development Community (1996 - 2001)
  2. Social Development and Community Services, South Africa (1995 - 2005)
  3. Chairman of Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (1991 - 1994)
  4. Secretary General of the Non-Aligned Movement(September 1986 - September 1989)
  5. Secretary General of the ZANU (1975)
  6. Editor of The Democratic Voice (now People Voice)
  7. First Secretary of ZANU-PF
  8. Deputy Chair of Africa Union

War Credentials

He crossed to Mozambique to join the Zimbabwe African National Liberation Army (ZANLA) in 1975 after his 10 year detention at the hands of Ian Smith.[5]

Mugabe Appointed African Union Chair

Mugabe was elected chairperson of the continental block the African Union in January 2015. He was appointed during one of the continental body's extraordinary sessions held at the Union's Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Mugabe succeeded Mauritania's President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz at the start of a two-day AU summit meeting. Mugabe's appointment came at a time when Zimbabwe was faced with a number of problems including the economy. The continent was also haunted by the Ebola virus in West Africa as well as the Boko Haram militants which had terrorised Nigeria.

Mugabe had previously been elected as chairman in South Africa in 1997 when the African Union was still known as the Organisation of African Unity.

Quitting The Commonwealth

In 2003 Mugabe announced that Zimbabwe was quitting the commonwealth following the decision made at the Abuja summit in Nigeria, to maintain Zimbabwe's suspension indefinitely.

Mugabe attacks Commonwealth Official Video

Major Successes

He is credited for raising the literacy rate to 98% in the 1990s becoming one of the highest in the world. In 2010 Zimbabwe's literacy rate (92%) was ranked the best in Africa by the United Nations Development Fund (UNDP) Digest.[6] His land reform programme saw many landless natives benefitting with over 1 million blacks replacing the 400,000 white farmers.[7]

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Succession Saga and Factions

Reportedly they are two main factions in the party, one led by Vice President Joice Mujuru and another by Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa. The two factions are said to be garnering to replace Robert Mugabe. The former which is also known as the moderates is purportedly pro-business attempting to push ZANU PF politics to the political centre ground. This is reportedly done to create relations with the international community. Mnangagwa's faction also known as the 'hardliners' comprises of 'old guard' with members that have dominated Zimbabwe’s political scene since the 1980s.[8] Some of the members allegedly supporting Mnangagwa are Jonathan Moyo and Patrick Chinamasa. Mujuru is reportedly being backed by Didymus Mutasa.[9] A faction called G40 is a group characterized of younger Zanu-PF members who are savvy and educated. The group is said to be led by Jonathan Moyo and Zanu-PF political commissar, Saviour Kasukuwere but is fronted by the first lady, Grace Mugabe.

Assassination Allegations

At the height of factional fights in the ZANU PF party, the Mujuru faction was accused of a number of crimes which warranted dismissal from both party and government. Besides the corruption allegations leveled against the Vice President, assassination allegations were also revealed by the state media (The Sunday Mail). The state media fingered out Joice Mujuru to be the figure behind the assassination plot.

The Sunday Mail, which is widely seen as a mouthpiece for the Zanu-PF party of Mugabe, claimed Joice Mujuru the vice-president and one of two frontrunners to succeed the 90-year-old leader, was "at the center" of the plan led by two of her allies in the party.[10]

Failures

Mugabe has been blamed for most of the economic challenge that befell the country especially in the period after 2000. One of the major criticisms leveled against him was his hurried land reform program which plunged the country into a decade of economic recession, decline of industrial production, agriculture and hyper-inflation. The land reform program was said to have ushered in massive abuse of human right especially by member of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association. Robert Mugabe was also blamed for Operation Murambatsvina which rendered thousands of urban dwellers homeless.

Scandals

Just like his contemporary politicians, Mugabe had his own scandals. He sired a baby with his then girlfriend Grace Mugabe when he was still married to his first wife. Mugabe defended his actions by arguing that his mother had personally requested him to sire a grandchild for her since Sally had failed to conceive for a long time and she was terminally ill at the time.

Mugabe was also alleged to have fathered a child with one of his senior party members and cabinet Minister Oppah Muchinguri whilst she was still a private secretary in his office.[11] The child Tanya Rushesha was born whilst Muchinguri was still married to her first husband Tapiwa Rushesha.[11]

"Mugabe Must Go Demo" in Zambia

Mugabe came face to face with growing regional disapproval in Zambia. On Saturday 24 January, he was faced with a demonstration in Zambia after he had gone to witness the inauguration of Zambian president Lungu. The demo attracted the attention of both local and international media since the event was attended by leaders from all over the world.[12]

Mugabe Must Go Video

On 4 February 2015, Mugabe fell on the red carpet soon after addressing his party supporters at the Harare International Airport after returning Ethiopia where had ascended to the position of Chairperson. State media reported that it was a minor carpet mishap while on social media animated pictures of his fall went viral.[13]

Trivia

  • Robert Mugabe was the first executive president of the Republic of Zimbabwe.
  • He is the first secretary of the ZANU-PF party since 1980.
  • He is also the chancellor of all state Universities in Zimbabwe.
  • He is the oldest head of state in Africa, and one of the oldest in the world
  • He is nicknamed Bob/Bobo.

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References

  1. Robert Mugabe Biography Bio, Retrieved: June 30, 2014
  2. Bridget Johnson, Robert Mugabe About.com Retrieved: June 30, 2014
  3. Mugabe, Whoswho Southern Africa, Retrieved: June 30, 2014
  4. The Mgagao Declaration (Oct 1975), "The Patriot, published: January 9, 2014, retrieved: August 2, 2016
  5. Erin, Robert Mugabe African Seer, Published: October 24, 2012, Retrieved: June 30, 2014
  6. Zimbabwe shines with the world’s best literacy rate in Africa Zim Eye, Published: July 15, 2010, Retrieved: June 30, 2014
  7. Ian Scoones, Challenges the myths about Zimbabwean agriculture and land reform Livelihoods After Land Reform Published: September 15, 2008, Retrieved: June 30, 2014
  8. Editor, Understanding the ZANU-PF succession: Mugabe’s choice likely to be decisive, 'African Arguments', Published: 7 Jan 2014
  9. Clayton Masekesa, Mujuru will succeed Mugabe — Mutasa, 'The Stadard', Published: 12 Apr 2014, Retrieved: 25 Apr 2014
  10. P. Thornycroft, Zimbabwe's vice-president in plot to kill Robert Mugabe, "The Telegraph", published:16 Nov 2014,retrieved:16 Nov 2014"
  11. 11.0 11.1 H. Fisher, Mugabe is Father of Oppah Muchinguri’s Daughter Tanya Rushesha Claims Ex-Bodyguard,Now Daily, retrieved:30 Jan 2015 "
  12. , Video: ‘Mugabe must go’ demos rock Lusaka,NewsDay, published:26 Jan 2015,retrieved:26 Jan 2015"
  13. , Mugabe fall trends on Twitter across Africa,NewsDay, published:5 Feb 2015,retrieved:5 Feb 2014"