Zimbabwe’s ex-president robert mugabe dies

Zimbabwe's ex-president robert mugabe dies

The death of zimbabwe’s former long-term president robert mugabe marked the end of an era in the impoverished sudafrican country. At the age of 95, the politician, who remained controversial to the end, died on friday in singapore.

His successor, president emmerson mnangagwa, wrote on twitter that mugabe was a liberation hero and had dedicated his life to the emancipation of his people. Mugabe’s nephew robert zhuwao also confirmed the news of his death. The long-time ruler had polarized opinion throughout his life, which was also reflected in the reactions to his death.

Mugabe was praised in reactions as a courageous freedom hero, but many also emphasized his autocratic leadership . From kenya’s president uhuru kenyatta: "we will remember former president mugabe as a man of courage who never shied away from fighting for what he believed in – even when he wasn’t popular."He played an important role in the fight for the interests of the continent.

As guerrilla chief, mugabe had fought against the rule of the white minority in the sudafrican country and then ruled zimbabwe since independence in 1980 – most recently with a hard hand. 2017 he was toppled after almost 40 years in power. Afterwards, he spent several months in a hospital in singapore for treatment, his health had increasingly deteriorated. There was no official indication of what he was suffering from.

The situation in zimbabwe today is difficult: the truth is worthless, electricity is only available for a few hours a day, and the health system has largely collapsed. Inflation is advancing and there is record unemployment. Actually, the country has great potential: raw materials such as diamonds, a well-educated population and a good climate for agriculture.

Opposition leader nelson chamisa wrote on twitter about the death of the long-time ruler, who was as eccentric as he was autocratic: "although I and our party, the MDC, and the zimbabwean people had gross political differences with the late ex-president during his time in office – and disagreed for decades – we recognize his contribution during his lifetime as a fundamental president."

In neighboring sud africa, the ruling african national congress (ANC) mourned a "friend, statesman and passionate comrade" who had been a dedicated supporter of the struggle against the apartheid system.

Mugabe always had a tendency to the eccentric – and to omnipotence fantasies. At an election rally in 2008, he said: "only god, who appointed me, will be able to vote me out of office."In 2016, he commented on rumors of health problems: "it’s true: I was dead. But I was born again as usual."

On the day before mugabe’s death, his successor mnangagwa had said at an economic forum in cape town that he now had to contend with a completely collapsed economy that now had to be rebuilt. The country’s years of chaos had driven millions of zimbabweans into exile and a subsistence economy, and many state institutions had collapsed.

The result has been protests against the economic malaise in zimbabwe, for which mugabe has always blamed western sanctions.

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