Zimbabwe’s longtime President Robert Mugabe has died. He was 95. Mugabe’s death was announced by the office of Zimbabwe’s president. “It is with the utmost sadness that I announce the passing on of Zimbabwe’s founding father and former president, Cde Robert Mugabe,” President Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa, who was elected after Mugabe stepped down, tweeted on Friday.
Cde Mugabe was an icon of liberation, a pan-Africanist who dedicated his life to the emancipation and empowerment of his people. His contribution to the history of our nation and continent will never be forgotten. May his soul rest in eternal peace (2/2)
— President of Zimbabwe (@edmnangagwa) September 6, 2019
Mugabe was the world’s oldest ruler when he resigned as Zimbabwe’s president in November of 2017, following a military coup. He had ruled the country since 1980.
Mugabe’s family also confirmed his death to the BBC. He had been receiving medical treatment in Singapore.
The teacher-turned-independence fighter leaves behind a checkered legacy.
Before he resigned, the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front party had already removed Mugabe as leader and named Mnangagwa in his place.
But his successor Mnangagwa said that Mugabe was “an icon of liberation” and “a pan-Africanist who dedicated his life to the emancipation and empowerment of his people.”
“His contribution to the history of our nation and continent will never be forgotten. May his soul rest in eternal peace,” Mnangagwa tweeted.
Mugabe came to power at independence from Britain in 1980, after a guerrilla war ended white-minority rule in then-Rhodesia. He was heralded as a model leader — but that image steadily eroded over time as his leadership became more authoritarian. Democracy, the rule of law and the economy suffered.