Robert Mugabe obituary

Ruthless president of Zimbabwe once hailed as a beacon of African liberation whose rule bankrupted the country he had fought so hard to winAs the armoured vehicles rolled in to Harare in November 2017, after weeks of political fencing and brinksmanship, Robert Mugabe could not believe he had lost. The senior military leadership who placed the Zimbabwean president under house arrest made it clear they were conducting the politest of coups, while stressing to the outside world that it was not a coup at all. It was merely a corrective action and, indeed, at its end, with Mugabe’s resignation, it was still his party, Zanu-PF, in power.

Mugabe, who has died aged 95, came to power as a result of the gun – wielded by others, as he himself never fought in the field – and fell by those who wielded the gun. And, as he fell, the true depths of the economic mire into which he had plunged Zimbabwe – spending so much time on party and succession battles, and seemingly none on issues of deep impoverishment and national non-productivity – became apparent. Emmerson Mnangagwa, the new president, in stressing an economic emphasis and outreach to the world, seemed to admit that the country was bankrupt and that Mugabe had made it so.

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