Robert Mugabe: Liberation hero turned despot

Robert Mugabe ruled Zimbabwe for 37 years until he was finally ousted in November 2017. PHOTO | JEKESAI NJIKIZANA | AFP

What you need to know:

  • First heralded as a liberator who rid the former British colony Rhodesia of white-minority rule, Robert Gabriel Mugabe will instead be remembered a despot who crushed political dissent and ruined the national economy.
  • He used blistering rhetoric to blame his country's downward spiral on Western sanctions, though they were targeted personally at Mugabe and his henchmen rather than at Zimbabwe's economy.
  • After decades in which the subject of succession was virtually taboo, a vicious struggle to take over after his death became apparent among the party elite when he reached his 90s and became visibly frail.

Robert Mugabe, who has died aged 95, used repression and fear to hold on to power in Zimbabwe for 37 years until he was finally ousted when his previously loyal military generals turned against him.

Welcome!

You're all set to enjoy unlimited Prime content.