Robert ‘Gushungo’ Mugabe
|Preceded by||Canaan Banana|
|Succeeded by||Emmerson Mnangagwa|
Robert Gabriel Mugabe
February 21, 1924
|Died||September 6, 2019 (aged 95)|
Glen Eagles Hospital, Singapore
|Cause of death||natural|
|Children||Nhamodzenyika Michael Mugabe (deceased), Leo Mugabe (adopted), Albert Mugabe (adopted), Russell Goreraza (stepson), Bona Mugabe, Robert Mugabe Junior and Bellarmine Chatunga Mugabe|
|Parents||Gabriel Matibili and Bona Matibili|
|Relatives||Albert Mugabe Jnr. (Adopted Son)|
|Residence||Borrowdale Brooke, Harare|
|Education||Kutama College, University of Zimbabwe, University of Fort Hare, University of South Africa, University of London|
|Alma mater||University of Fort Hare, Alice, South Africa, University of Zimbabwe|
|Known for||Being the President of Zimbabwe for 37years|
Robert Mugabe was a politician and the former President of Zimbabwe. He was the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe from 1987 to November 2017. Prior to this, he was the Prime Minister of Zimbabwe since the attainment of independence in 1980. Mugabe resigned from his presidency on the 21st of November 2017 after Zimbabwe's military took over the country in an operation dubbed Operation Restore Legacy. The Military insisted it was not a coup d'etat on the 14th of November 2017.
Mugabe died on 6 September 2019.
In early March 2018, Mugabe was reported to be part of the National Patriotic Front political party led by Retired Brigadier General Ambrose Mutinhiri. The party reportedly indicated that the 'coup' was not constitutional and needed to be cleaned Mawarire Speaks On Mugabe’s Involvement In The NPF, Said We Want To Cure The Coup.
Days later, on 15 March, Mugabe held his first public interview and said that his ouster in November 2017 was a coup. He also said that he felt betrayed by Emmerson Mnangagwa. He, however, denied that he was part of the NPF party.
- 1 Background
- 2 Educational Background
- 3 General Career
- 4 Political career
- 5 Political ideology
- 6 1980 Prime Minister Elect
- 7 1987 Unity Accord
- 8 Policies adopted by Robert Mugabe
- 9 Quitting The Commonwealth
- 10 Major Successes
- 11 Succession Saga and Factions
- 12 Failures
- 13 Alleged Non-War Credentials
- 14 "Mugabe Must Go Demo" in Zambia
- 15 Appointment as WHO Goodwill Ambassador
- 16 Expelling his Deputies
- 17 Resignation
- 18 Alleged Involvement in the National Patriotic Front
- 19 Alleged plot to ouster Emmerson Mnangagwa
- 20 29 July 2018 Interview
- 21 Allegations against Emmerson Mnangagwa
- 22 Revealing resignation plans
- 23 Repeating Grace Mugabe’s Allegation That Mnangagwa Started Plotting In 1980
- 24 July 2018 interview
- 25 Casting Ballot in Highfield -2018 election
- 26 Places Named after Robert Mugabe
- 27 Trivia
- 28 Books
- 29 References
He was born Robert Gabriel Mugabe in Matibiri village near Kutama Jesuit Mission in Zvimba district on February 21, 1924. 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, two older brothers Michael and Raphael, young brother Donato and two sisters Bridget and Sabina.
He married Sally Mugabe nee 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 nee Marufu who was his secretary in 1996. The couple has three children who are Bona Mugabe, Robert Mugabe Junior and Bellarmine Chatunga Mugabe.
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 Affairs Department.
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 a lecturer from 1958 to 1960.
- In 1960, he joined the National Democratic Party and after it was banned in September, he joined; Zimbabwe African Peoples Union (ZAPU), which was led by Joshua Nkomo.
- In 1963, he left ZAPU and with other leaders formed the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU), established on the basis of Africanist philosophies of the Pan Africanist Congress in South Africa.
- Both ZANU and ZAPU were officially banned on August 26, 1964, after a long spell of political unrest. It was during this time that Mugabe was arrested and imprisoned indeterminately.
- In 1974, while still in confinement, he was elected, under the influence of Edgar Tekere, to take over ZANU. The same year, he was released from prison along with other separatist leaders, so that he could go to a conference in Lusaka, Zambia.
- In 1979, the Rhodesian Front agreed to oversee the transition to black majority rule. In 1980, Southern Rhodesia gained independence from the British and became the independent Republic of Zimbabwe.
- On March 4, 1980, ZANU won 57 out of 80 Common Roll Seats and Mugabe was elected to lead the first government as prime minister. After his election, he attempted to build Zimbabwe on the foundation of an edgy union with his ZAPU rivals.
- In 1981, a war broke out between ZANU and ZAPU. Four years later, Mugabe was re-elected as Prime Minister and the fight persisted.
- After the murder of two ministers from Zapu in 1987, Mugabe and Nkomo decided to merge their unions, for the betterment and quick recovery of the Zimbabwean economy.
- The position of prime minister was obliterated and Mugabe assumed the new office of the Executive President of Zimbabwe in 1987.
- He passed a constitutional amendment, wherein the amendment stated that Britain would have to pay compensations for seizing land from the blacks and if the British failed to do so, Mugabe would, in turn, seize the land of the minority commercial farmers in Zimbabwe.
- In 2002, he won the presidential elections at a time when the economy of Zimbabwe was underperforming.
- He lost the presidential elections to Morgan Tsvangirai in 2008, but refused to let go of his office and demanded a recount of the votes.
- After a lot of bloodshed, Tsvangirai and Mugabe came to a mutual agreement that they both would share the power.
- In 2010, he selected provisional governors for Zimbabwe without consulting Tsvangirai, which proved that he still wanted to have total autocratic control.
- The next year, he announced his bid for the 2012 presidential elections, which was for an indefinite period, postponed to 2013.
- He displayed his interest to challenge Tsvangirai once again in the elections and in July 2013, when he was asked about his plans to run for the presidential post in future, he mentioned that he would like to rule Zimbabwe till he hit a ‘century’.
- Zimbabwe’s election commission declared Mugabe the president in August 2013 after winning a total of 61 percent of the vote.
- On the 19th of November 2017, he lost the presidency of the party he had led since 1975
- He resigned as President of Zimbabwe on the 21st of November 2017 after leading the country for 37 years
It was reported that from a very young age, he was greatly inspired by Marxist and nationalist views and soon, became the publicity secretary of the National Democratic Party or the ‘NDP’. Once he established a strong political foothold, he founded the socialist-nationalist movement, ‘ZANU’ which resolved to drive the British out of their homeland. Despite being detained by Rhodesian authorities for his radical activities, Mugabe remained calm and took an oath to deliver his people from the talons of foreign brutality.
- Chairman on Politics And Security Organisation on Defence South African Development Community (1996 - 2001)
- Social Development and Community Services, South Africa (1995 - 2005)
- Chairman of Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (1991 - 1994)
- Secretary General of the Non-Aligned Movement(September 1986 - September 1989)
- Secretary General of the ZANU (1975)
- Editor of The Democratic Voice (now People Voice)
- First Secretary of ZANU-PF
- Deputy Chair of Africa Union
1980 Prime Minister Elect
General elections were held in Southern Rhodesia in February 1980 to elect a government which would govern the country after it was granted independence as Zimbabwe, in accordance with the conclusions of the Lancaster House Agreement. The result was a victory for the Zimbabwe African National Union, which won 57 of the 100 seats. Its leader, Robert Mugabe became the first Prime Minister of Zimbabwe when the country officially became independent in April.
1987 Unity Accord
The Unity Accord was an agreement between Zimbabwe's two major nationalists movements namely the Zimbabwe African People's Union led by Joshua Nkomo and the Zimbabwe African National Union led by Robert Mugabe. The agreement was signed on 22 December in 1987 to form a united nationalist political party and end the ethnic violence which had marred the country since the early 1980s.
Policies adopted by Robert Mugabe
Free Primary Education-1980
In 1980, education was declared a basic human right by Robert Mugabe, which changed the constitution to recognize primary and secondary public education as free and compulsory.Due to large investments in education since independence, Zimbabwe has the highest adult literacy rate in Africa which in 2010 was 92 %. 
Adoption of Economic Structural Adjustment Progamme-1990]]
In the year 1980, Zimbabwe's leader Mugabe started a program for post-war reconstruction. In 1990, one of the most famous policies by Mugabe was the 5-year plan - ESAP. The ESAP included policies such as:
- The removal of controlled prices. An example is that the government slackened price restrictions for farmers, which means that they are allowed to decide the prices for their own productions.
- The removal of wage controls. An example is that the government made a new system where government officials could have self-awarded pay raises.
- Reduction of government expenditures that benefits the society
- Devaluate the Zimbabwean dollar by 40%.
Land reform in Zimbabwe officially began in 1980 with the signing of the Lancaster House Agreement, as an effort to more equitably distribute land between Black subsistence farmers and White Zimbabweans of European ancestry, who had traditionally enjoyed superior political and economic status. The programme's targets were intended to alter the ethnic balance of land ownership.
Fast Track Land Reform Programme-2000
Pro-Mugabe Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) organized several people (including but not limited to war veterans; many of them were their children and grandchildren) to march on white-owned farmlands, initially with drums, song and dance. This movement was officially termed the "Fast-Track Land Reform Program" (FTLRP). Mugabe endorsed the process and even blocked the judiciary from intervening.
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 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 terrorized 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.
He is credited with 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. His land reform programme saw many landless natives benefitting with over 1 million blacks replacing the 400,000 white farmers.
Succession Saga and Factions
It was reported that there were two main factions in the Zanu -PF political party, one led by the then Vice President Joice Mujuru and another by the then Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa. The two factions were reported to be garnering to replace Robert Mugabe. The former which was also known as the moderator attempting to push Zanu-PF politics to the political center ground. This was reportedly done to create relations with the international community. Mnangagwa's faction also known as the 'hardliners' comprised of 'old guard' with members that have dominated Zimbabwe’s political scene since the 1980s. Some of the members allegedly supported Mnangagwa are Jonathan Moyo and Patrick Chinamasa. Mujuru was reportedly backed by Didymus Mutasa. A faction called G40 was characterized by younger Zanu-PF members who are educated. The group was reportedly led by Jonathan Moyo, Saviour Kasukuwere, and Patrick Zhuwao but was believed to be led by Grace Mugabe.
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 then Vice President, assassination allegations were also revealed by the state media (The Sunday Mail). The state media pointed out Joice Mujuru to be the figure behind the assassination plot.
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.
Alleged Non-War Credentials
"Mugabe Must Go Demo" in Zambia
Mugabe came face to face with growing regional disapproval in Zambia. On the 24th of January 2015, 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.
On 4 February 2015, Mugabe fell on the red carpet soon after addressing his party supporters at the Robert Mugabe International Airport after returning from Ethiopia where he 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.
Appointment as WHO Goodwill Ambassador
On 19 October 2017, President Robert Mugabe was appointed as the first Goodwill Ambassador on Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD) by the World Health Organisation (WHO). The announcement was made by WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus at the WHO Global Conference on NCDs in Uruguay.
However, this resulted in a lot of criticism from Zimbabweans as well as non-Zimbabweans. On 21 October, Dr Ghebreyesus said he was rethinking the appointment. He tweeted:
I’m listening. I hear your concerns. Rethinking the approach in light of WHO values. I will issue a statement as soon as possible
On Sunday, 22 October, the World Health Organisation (WHO) announced that it was rescinding the appointment. In a statement, WHO head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said:
Over the last few days, I have reflected on my appointment of H.E. President Robert Mugabe as WHO Goodwill Ambassador for NCDs in Africa. As a result, I have decided to rescind the appointment.
I have listened carefully to all who have expressed their concerns and heard the different issues that they have raised. I have also consulted with the Government of Zimbabwe and we have concluded that this decision is in the best interests of the World Health Organization.
Expelling his Deputies
Joice Mujuru expulsion
In December 2014 Robert Mugabe expelled his Vice President Joice Mujuru who he had appointed in 2004 a move which supported the Zanu Pf's quota system of at least one female in the Presidium.Mugabe fired Mujuru and purged those who were thought to be Mujuru's allies.Muabe claimed that Mujuru wanted to unseat him through unconstitutional means and the press had it that allegations of an assassination plot were also leveled against Mujuru and her allies.Another allegation was that Mujuru was fanning factionalism and promoting corruption within the Government and the party.
Emmerson Mnangagwa expulsion
In the early weeks of November 2017, Mugabe expelled his longtime top ally Emmerson Mnangagwa after waging a series of attacks on him at youth interface rallies held across Zimbabwe. Mnangagwa was expelled on the basis that he was, dishonest, disloyal, deceitful and Unreliable. Mnangagwa was also accused of fanning factionalism and leading the Lacoste Faction which insulted Mugabe and his wife Grace Mugabe.
After Operation Restore Legacy started, massive protests occurred in the streets of Harare with citizens demanding Mugabe's resignation. Despite all the protests and the military intervention he still refused to resign. An impeachment hearing was called against him and on 21 November 2018 through the speaker of parliament a letter read
My decision to resign is voluntary on my part and arises from my concern for the welfare of people in Zimbabwe and my desires to see a smooth, peaceful and non-violent transfer of power.
Kindly give public notice of my resignation as soon as possible as required by the constitution.
Yours faithfully, Mugabe.
Alleged Involvement in the National Patriotic Front
Robert Mugabe was alleged to be involved in the National Patriotic Front led by the Retired General Ambrose Mutinhiri. Mugabe was reported to have endorsed the party and met with the leader. The spokesperson Jealousy Mawarire indicated in an interview that they needed to clean the coup.Below is the video of the interview
Alleged plot to ouster Emmerson Mnangagwa
In 2018 before the harmonised election it was alleged that Mugabe wanted to ouster Mnangagwa through endorsing Nelson Chamisa. Multiple sources alleged that Mugabe sent emissaries to Chamisa seeking dialogue ahead of the polls and that he was willing to back Chamisa because he was not happy with how the Mnangagwa led government was treating him and his family.
29 July 2018 Interview
Robert Mugabe complained about his pension and terminal benefits saying that he was given only $467 000 after all his time in service. Mugabe disputed the $10 million figure and said that President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration had refused to give him money for two houses, which he claimed he is entitled to. Mugabe also said,
If you are put in a place, a high place where you are the President of a country there are rules that must guide you. You don’t get the rules from those who are ambitious and will come sit next to you and say so and so is not good, so and so is a hypocrite. You must obey the rules.
I say so because after I had resigned, I had to go to the pension office, to those who manage it, to say what am I entitled to? They said it’s $467,000, the total amount. But people talk about $10 million. They said you are entitled to two houses, one in Zimbabwe and one elsewhere at a resort. Those in power just went mum, they just refused to give me money for the two houses.
This one in which we are, we built slowly with a Yugoslav company. We told them we don’t have money to pay you fully but we would each month pay your workers and that’s what we are able to do. So, slowly year by year we managed to construct it, and that’s how we finished it. We wanted it to be Chinese-style because China helped us a lot during our struggle.
The Yugoslavs used normally trusses, not the Chinese way. The roof is beginning to sag, they say in two years’ time take care, you must get out. So we said we need the money, give us money to move out, but they are mum, they won’t tell you outright. Here and there I must say they have helped us charter flights to Singapore where doctors check us regularly, we thank them for that.
Allegations against Emmerson Mnangagwa
Mugabe described his former aide for almost 54 years, Emmerson Mnangagwa as a very hard worker who is not to be trusted because he is not quite honest. Mugabe said that he was not going to vote Mnangagwa and Zanu-PF because they had tormented him.
He’s a good worker. A very, very good worker. But it’s not always that he told me the truth, so in some places I did not believe what he told me…When we had some Indians doing our business, M&S, Kondozi Farm and some companies for the party. He was working with them. We had a tour to know what their efforts had yielded, in monetary terms we were not getting anything and Mujuru said we must investigate, this man is a crook. When we started our investigations we discovered that he had got some money from them without it having come from the party. I asked him why? He said he had just borrowed it and he wanted to pay school fees for his kids, but the money was never paid back. So I got to know that my man was not quite honest, and he had indicated to me that it’s not all he tells me that is the truth. But I worked with him, we did some good things with him. I also didn’t know he was eyeing my position until quite late, but well, there it was. I was a fool to have him next to me because he connived with Chiwenga to oust me. They decided the best way to get rid of him is to undertake a coup d’etat.
Revealing resignation plans
Robert Mugabe claimed that he was going to hand over power until the Zimbabwe Defence Forces launched a military coup against his rule. Mugabe claimed that he had planned to officially step down at the Zanu-PF Extraordinary Congress which was scheduled for December 2017. Mugabe also disputed claims that he wanted to leave his wife Grace as his successor arguing that he had already identified former Minister of Defence Sydney Sekeramayi as his heir apparent. He went on to say that Sekeramayi and Mnangagwa would have competed for leadership at the Zanu PF Congress.
Repeating Grace Mugabe’s Allegation That Mnangagwa Started Plotting In 1980
Mugabe said that since 1980 he has had misgivings about Mnangagwa and repeated allegations which were first made by former first lady Grace Mugabe, at a Church Interface Rally in November 2017. Grace claimed then, that Mnangagwa has always been plotting against Mugabe and tried to engineer a coup in 1980. Mnangagwa allegedly lied to Mugabe that white people were trying to kill him in order to get him out of the country so that he could take power unencumbered.
July 2018 interview
Casting Ballot in Highfield -2018 election
In 2018 Robert Mubabe cast his vote in his Highfield constituency.
Places Named after Robert Mugabe
- Robert Mugabe International Airport
- Robert Mugabe Road/Way (Harare, Bulawayo, Mutare, Masvingo, Gweru
- Robert Mugabe Square
- Robert Mugabe School of Intelligence
- Robert Mugabe School of Education
Outside of Zimbabwe, there is:
- Robert Mugabe Road in Kampala, Uganda’s capital;
- Robert Mugabe Street in the South African capital Pretoria;
- Robert Mugabe Avenue in Windhoek, the capital of Namibia;
- And Rua Robert Mugabe in the Mozambican port of Quelimane.
- 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 was the chancellor of all state Universities in Zimbabwe when he was president.
- He is the oldest head of state in Africa, and one of the oldest in the world
- He is nicknamed Bob/Bobo.
- Mugabe also holds the unwanted distinction of having served for the least amount of time as the World Health Organisation Goodwill Ambassador for Non-Communicable Diseases in Africa.
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