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Robert Mugabe
Robert Gabriel Mugabe
Preceded by Canaan Banana
Personal details
Born Robert Gabriel Mugabe
(1924-02-21) February 21, 1924 (age 93)
Citizenship Zimbabwean
Nationality Zimbabwe
Spouse(s) Grace Mugabe
Children Bona Mugabe, Robert Mugabe Junior and Chatunga Bellamine Mugabe
Parents Robert Matibili Mugabe and Bona Mugabe
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 Zimbabwe
  • Former President of the Republic of Zimbabwe
Religion Christianity

Robert Mugabe is 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 ,which they insisted was not a coup d'etat on the 14th of November 2017.

Latest Robert Mugabe News

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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 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 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

  • 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 lots 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 per cent 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

Political ideology

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.[4]

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]

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 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 %. [6]

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

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 attacks Commonwealth Official Video

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.

Major Successes

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.[7] His land reform programme saw many landless natives benefitting with over 1 million blacks replacing the 400,000 white farmers.[8]

Succession Saga and Factions

Reportedly there 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.[9] Some of the members allegedly supported Mnangagwa are Jonathan Moyo and Patrick Chinamasa. Mujuru was reportedly being backed by Didymus Mutasa.[10] 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 Zanu-PF political commissar, Saviour Kasukuwere and Patrick Zhuwawu 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 then 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 front runners to succeed the 90-year-old leader, was "at the center" of the plan led by two of her allies in the party.[11]


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.


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 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]

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

Joyce Mujuru expulsion

In December 2014 Robert Mugabe expelled his Vice President Joyce 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 long time 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 the Zanu pf Women's league boss.

Mugabe must go protests in Zimbabwe November 2017

After Operation Restore Legacy started massive protests occurred in the streets of Harare with citizens demanding Mugabe's resignation.The protests were said to be in solidarity with the Zimbabwe Defence Forces 's Operation Restore Legacy

Anti Mugabe protest in Harare - Zim Solidarity March - 18 Nov 2017frame


  • 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.
  • From the 9th of November 2017 the Harare International Airport will be renamed Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport
  • Robert Mugabe also has the central road in the capital named after him.
  • Mugabe also holds the unwanted distinction of having served for the least amount of time as the World Health Organisatioon Goodwill Ambassador for Non-Communicable Diseases in Africa.



  1. Robert Mugabe Biography Bio, Retrieved: June 30, 2014
  2. Bridget Johnson, Robert Mugabe Retrieved: June 30, 2014
  3. Mugabe, Whoswho Southern Africa, Retrieved: June 30, 2014
  4. [1], Robert Mugabe Biography , Published: 20 September 2017, Retrieved: 22 November 2017
  5. Erin, Robert Mugabe African Seer, Published: October 24, 2012, Retrieved: June 30, 2014
  6. [2], Zimbabwe leads in Africa literacy race , Published:July 14 2010 , Retrieved: 22 November 2017
  7. Zimbabwe shines with the world’s best literacy rate in Africa Zim Eye, Published: July 15, 2010, Retrieved: June 30, 2014
  8. Ian Scoones, Challenges the myths about Zimbabwean agriculture and land reform Livelihoods After Land Reform Published: September 15, 2008, Retrieved: June 30, 2014
  9. Editor, Understanding the ZANU-PF succession: Mugabe’s choice likely to be decisive, 'African Arguments', Published: 7 Jan 2014
  10. Clayton Masekesa, Mujuru will succeed Mugabe — Mutasa, 'The Stadard', Published: 12 Apr 2014, Retrieved: 25 Apr 2014
  11. P. Thornycroft, Zimbabwe's vice-president in plot to kill Robert Mugabe, "The Telegraph", published:16 Nov 2014,retrieved:16 Nov 2014"
  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"