Robert Mugabe, the former president of Zimbabwe, has died aged 95. His 40-year leadership of the former British colony was marked with bloodshed, persecution of political opponents and vote-rigging on a large scale.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa shared the news of Mugabe’s death on Twitter.
Mugabe, who became Zimbabwe’s first black leader at independence from Britain in 1980, first as prime minister and then as president from 1987, was once touted for investing heavily in health and education in the early years of his rule, leaving his country with one of the highest literacy rates in Africa.
He however became increasingly unpopular as the economy began to wane, later facing charges of cracking down on his political opponents and rigging elections to stay in power.
His government’s controversial programme of seizing white owned commercial farms for redistribution among blacks he said had been dispossessed of the land during colonialism triggered a sharp economic meltdown in 2000, from which Zimbabwe has never recovered.
He stepped down under military pressure in November 2017 amid infighting within his ruling Zanu-PF party which saw his deputy Mnangagwa, who was in a rival faction, take over as president.