We Miss you Baba Bona – Robert Gabriel Mugabe. Robert Gabriel Mugabe was a Zimbabwean revolutionary and politician who served as the Prime Minister of Zimbabwe from 1980 until 1987 and then as the President from 1987 until 2017. Born on February 21, 1924, in what was then Rhodesia, Mugabe was a key figure in the liberation of his country from British colonial rule.
Mugabe’s political career began in the 1960s when he became a leading member of the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU), one of the main liberation movements fighting against the white-minority government of Rhodesia. He was arrested and imprisoned for his political activities in 1964, and spent the next decade in prison.
After his release in 1974, Mugabe went into exile in Mozambique, where he helped to form the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF), a new political party dedicated to the liberation of Zimbabwe. He returned to Rhodesia in 1980, following the signing of the Lancaster House Agreement, which ended the country’s civil war and led to the first free elections in the country in 20 years.
In the 1980 elections, Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party emerged victorious, and he became the Prime Minister of the newly independent Zimbabwe. As Prime Minister, Mugabe was widely respected for his efforts to rebuild the country’s economy and infrastructure, as well as for his commitment to racial reconciliation.
However, Mugabe’s rule soon became increasingly authoritarian, as he began to consolidate power and silence political opponents. He also pursued a policy of land redistribution, which led to the seizure of white-owned farms and the redistribution of the land to black farmers. This policy was widely criticized, as it led to economic instability and food shortages.
In 1987, Mugabe abolished the office of Prime Minister and declared himself the President of Zimbabwe, a position he would hold until 2017. His rule became increasingly controversial, as he was accused of human rights abuses, electoral fraud, and economic mismanagement. He also suppressed political opposition and used the country’s security forces to crack down on dissent.
Mugabe’s rule was also marked by a deepening economic crisis, as the country struggled with hyperinflation and food shortages. Despite this, Mugabe refused to relinquish power and used various tactics to maintain his grip on power, including violence and intimidation.
In November 2017, Mugabe was removed from office in a military coup, and replaced by his former vice president, Emmerson Mnangagwa. Mugabe died on September 6, 2019, at the age of 95.
Mugabe’s legacy is a complex one. On the one hand, he is remembered as a liberation hero who helped to free his country from colonial rule. On the other hand, his later years in power were marked by authoritarianism, human rights abuses, and economic mismanagement. Regardless, Mugabe is an important figure in the history of Zimbabwe and Africa, and his legacy will continue to be debated for years to come.