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Robert Mugabe Dies in Singapore at the Age of 95

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Zimbabwe’s ousted President Robert Mugabe has died in Singapore at the age of 95.

The Zimbabwean independence icon turned authoritarian leader had been receiving treatment in a hospital in Singapore since April.

Robert Mugabe was ousted in a military coup in 2017 after 37 years in power.

He was praised for broadening access to health and education for the black majority.

However, later years were marked by violent repression of Robert Mugabe’s political opponents and Zimbabwe’s economic ruin.

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His successor, Emmerson Mnangagwa, expressed his “utmost sadness”, calling Robert Mugabe “an icon of liberation”.

He tweeted: “It is with the utmost sadness that I announce the passing on of Zimbabwe’s founding father and former President, Cde Robert Mugabe.”

President Mnangagwa had been Robert Mugabe’s deputy before replacing him.

Singapore’s foreign ministry said it was working with the Zimbabwean embassy there to have Robert Mugabe’s body flown back to his home country.

Robert Mugabe was born on February 21, 1924, in what was then Rhodesia – a British colony, run by its white minority.

After criticizing the government of Rhodesia in 1964, Robert Mugabe was imprisoned for more than a decade without trial.

In 1973, while still in prison, Robert Mugabe was chosen as president of the Zimbabwe African National Union (Zanu), of which he was a founding member.

Once released, Robert Mugabe headed to Mozambique, from where he directed guerrilla raids into Rhodesia but he was also seen as a skilled negotiator.

Political agreements to end the crisis resulted in the new independent Republic of Zimbabwe.

Image source Wikimedia

With his high profile in the independence movement, Robert Mugabe secured an overwhelming victory in the republic’s first election in 1980.

However, over his decades in power, international perceptions soured.

Robert Mugabe assumed the reputation of a “strongman” leader – all-powerful, ruling by threats and violence but with a strong base of support. An increasing number of critics labeled him a dictator.