Former Zimbabwe President, Robert Mugabe, Dies At 95
The ex-political leader resigned in 2017 after a violent, turbulent 37-year rule.
Zimbabwe's former president, Robert Mugabe, died on Friday at 95 years old, according to CNN.
Mugabe rose to power in 1980 and ruled for 37 years, which many deemed as divisive and turbulent. Mugabe, the former prime minister, had to be forced to resign as president in November 2017.
His death comes after Mugabe was under observation in a Singapore hospital earlier this year. Details surrounding his health were not revealed.
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His successor, Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa, announced his death on Twitter while describing him as “an icon of liberation.”
"It is with the utmost sadness that I announce the passing on of Zimbabwe's founding father and former President, Cde Robert Mugabe," Mnangagwa wrote.
“Mugabe was an icon of liberation, a pan-Africanist who dedicated his life to the emancipation and empowerment of his people. His contribution to the history of our nation and continent will never be forgotten,” the message continued.
Among the issues that led to the country's economic ruin was Mugabe's redistribution of land from nearly all of the country's white-owned land to about 300,000 Black farmers. The economy began collapsing after the agricultural revolution that also led to food shortages.
Mugabe was also regarded as a volatile leader by some.
"He was always committed to violence, going all the way back to the 1960s...he was no Martin Luther King," Zimbabwean Senator David Coltart told the BBC World Service. "He never changed in that regard."
He then added that there was still a great amount of reverence for the late politician.
"We must never forget that he was the person primarily responsible for ending oppressive white minority rule."
Mugabe's death has sparked swift reaction across social media with several users reflecting on his reign. Among them is Evan Mawarire, Zimbabwean activist and senior pastor, who spoke out about Mugabe to Time.
"I cannot be silent about Robert Mugabe's crimes, because silence was the hallmark of his leadership," Mawarire wrote.
He also shared his sentiments on Twitter.
I find it sad that when he lived we had to be silent to appease and avoid his brutal nature and now that he is dead we again are being forced to be silent because its too soon and it’s unAfrican to speak and try to heal and try to be free from the deadman’s clutches pic.twitter.com/4im0U9mI4Y— #ThisFlag E Mawarire (@PastorEvanLive) September 6, 2019'
I'm struggling to start my grief at Robert Mugabe's death. pic.twitter.com/j8P9xIjq4W— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) September 6, 2019'
I wish to pass my condolences to the people of Zimbabwe following the death of their founding Father, H.E. Robert Mugabe. We join the country in praying for peace and stability at this moment of national grief.— Raila Odinga (@RailaOdinga) September 6, 2019'
Robert Mugabe is dead. He was a liberation hero turned tyrant. He killed more black Africans than the evil apartheid regime in South Africa. His massacre of 20,000 people in Matabeleland in the 1980s was the equivalent of a Sharpeville massacre every day for nine months! SHAME! pic.twitter.com/FvQbj2qwZr— Peter Tatchell (@PeterTatchell) September 6, 2019'
I learnt this morning about the passing of an African liberation icon & great Pan-Africanist, His Excellency Robert Mugabe. I join @edmnangagwa, the people of Zimbabwe and the entire African continent in mourning the demise of this great son of Africa. May his soul rest in peace.— Yoweri K Museveni (@KagutaMuseveni) September 6, 2019'
During a speech in 2016, the longtime dictator of independent Zimbabwe, infamously claimed he couldn’t be moved from office “until God says, ‘come,” according to The New York Times.