Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe was illustrious as an African liberation hero and champion of racial reconciliation when he first came to power in a nation divided by nearly a century of white colonial rule. Nearly forty years later, many at home and abroad denounced him as a power-obsessed autocrat willing to unleash death squads, rig elections and trash the economy in the determined pursuit of control. Mugabe, who died in Singapore aged 95, was ultimately exiled by his own armed forces in November 2017.

He demonstrated his persistence - some might say stubbornness - to the last, refusing to accept his expulsion from his own Zanu-PF party and clinging on for a week until parliament started to impeach him after the de facto coup. His resignation triggered harsh celebrations across the country of 13 million. For Mugabe, it was an "unconstitutional and humiliating" act of betrayal by his party and people, and left him a broken man.

Constrained for the remaining years of his life between Singapore where he was getting medical treatment and his expansive "Blue Roof" mansion in Harare, a sickly Mugabe could only observe from afar the political stage where he once walked tall. He was bitter to the end over the manner of his exit.

On the eve of the July 2018 election, the first without him, he told reporters he would vote for the opposition, something unthinkable only a few months before.

By: Aneeqa du Plessis


Popular Posts