Another long serving African leader finally retires after over 33 years of governing his people. Winning the title of Oldest Serving African Leader, some considering him the hero that stood up against the imperialist western government while others see him as a great dictator. Whatever the case, President Mugabe has played a major role in the history of Africa.
Who really is President Mugabe?
born on 21 February 1924 at the Kutama Mission village in Southern Rhodesia, President Mugabe had his education at Kutama College and the University of Fort Hare. from there, he worked as a school teacher in Southern Rhodesia and Ghana. Angered that Southern Rhodesia was a British colony governed by a white minority, Mugabe embraced Marxism and joined African nationalist protests calling for an independent black-led state. After making anti-government comments he was convicted of sedition and imprisoned between 1964 and 1974. On release he fled to Mozambique, established his leadership of ZANU, and oversaw ZANU’s role in the Rhodesian Bush War, fighting Ian Smith’s predominantly white government. He reluctantly took part in the peace negotiations brokered by the United Kingdom that resulted in the Lancaster House Agreement. The agreement dismantled white minority rule and resulted in the 1980 general election, at which Mugabe led ZANU-PF to victory and became Prime Minister of the newly renamed Zimbabwe. Mugabe’s administration expanded healthcare and education.
Pursuing decolonisation, Mugabe’s government emphasised the redistribution of land controlled by white farmers to landless blacks, initially on a “willing seller-willing buyer” basis. Frustrated at the slow rate of redistribution, from 2000 Mugabe encouraged the violent seizure of white-owned land. Food production was severely impacted, generating famine and drastic economic decline and leading to international sanctions. Opposition to Mugabe grew, particularly through the Movement for Democratic Change, although he was re-elected in 2002, 2008, and 2013 through campaigns dominated by violence, electoral fraud, and nationalistic appeals to his rural Shona voter base.
Mugabe has been a controversial and divisive leader who rarely agreed with with other leaders. he has always been against the western domination and though he might be considered a dictator today, he helped to transform Zimbabwe and empower his own people to own their own land. We must not also forget the undue suffering he brought upon his people because he was trying to resist the west and international organisations such as United Nations.