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Mugabe

Updated on January 3, 2011

Robert Mugabe

Aaaagh the Zimbabwe President, Robert Mugabe. He seems to be in the news quite often lately and so I thought that it may be a good idea to put a lens together about the man.

Whatever your thoughts on him or any other person on this earth, that's your right to a free opinion. On this page, I will keep my opinion to myself. This page aims to merely give the facts.

A Profile of Robert Mugabe

from the BBC

As Zimbabwe's economy has gone from bad to worse to disastrous in recent years, Robert Mugabe's political and physical demise has been predicted many times but he has always confounded his many critics - so far at least.

His future looked more uncertain than ever when Zimbabweans voted in presidential elections in March this year.

When he cast his ballot in the first round, Mr Mugabe said: "If you lose an election and are rejected by the people, it is time to leave politics."

But after failing to win enough votes to avoid a run-off with opposition challenger Morgan Tsvangirai, Mr Mugabe displayed more characteristic defiance, swearing "only God" could remove him from office.

In the event, in the face of increasing political violence from ruling party supporters, Mr Tsvangirai pulled out.

In the short term, Mr Mugabe has overcome yet another challenge.

The key to understanding Mr Mugabe is the 1970s guerrilla war where he made his name.

At the time, he was seen as a revolutionary hero, fighting white minority rule for the freedom of his people - this is why many African leaders remain reluctant to criticise him.

Since Zimbabwe's independence, most of the world has moved on - but his outlook remains the same.

The heroic socialist forces of Zanu-PF, are still fighting the twin evils of capitalism and colonialism.

Any critics are dismissed as "traitors and sell-outs" - a throwback to the guerrilla war, when such labels could be a death sentence.

He blames Zimbabwe's economic problems on a plot by western countries, led by the UK, to oust him because of his seizure of white-owned farms.

His critics firmly blame him, saying he has shown no understanding of how a modern economy works.

He has always concentrated on the question of how to share the national cake, rather than how to make it grow bigger.

Mr Mugabe once famously said that a country could never go bankrupt - with the world's fastest-shrinking economy and annual inflation of 100,000%, he seems determined to test his theory to the limit.

Professor Tony Hawkins of the University of Zimbabwe once observed: "Whenever economics gets in the way of politics, politics wins every time."

Faced with a strong opposition for the first time, he wrecked what was one of Africa's most diversified economies in a bid to retain political control by seizing the white-owned farms which were the economy's backbone, pouring scorn on donors and pursuing populist economic policies. But in political terms, Mr Mugabe has outsmarted his enemies - he is still in power.

At any cost

After he suffered his first and so far only electoral defeat in a 2000 referendum, Mr Mugabe unleashed his personal militia - the self-styled war veterans - who used violence and murder as an electoral strategy.

At the time, he was seen as a revolutionary hero, fighting white minority rule for the freedom of his people - this is why many African leaders remain reluctant to criticise him.

Since Zimbabwe's independence, most of the world has moved on - but his outlook remains the same.

The heroic socialist forces of Zanu-PF, are still fighting the twin evils of capitalism and colonialism.

Any critics are dismissed as "traitors and sell-outs" - a throwback to the guerrilla war, when such labels could be a death sentence.

He blames Zimbabwe's economic problems on a plot by western countries, led by the UK, to oust him because of his seizure of white-owned farms.

His critics firmly blame him, saying he has shown no understanding of how a modern economy works.

He has always concentrated on the question of how to share the national cake, rather than how to make it grow bigger.

Mr Mugabe once famously said that a country could never go bankrupt - with the world's fastest-shrinking economy and annual inflation of 100,000%, he seems determined to test his theory to the limit.

Professor Tony Hawkins of the University of Zimbabwe once observed: "Whenever economics gets in the way of politics, politics wins every time."

Faced with a strong opposition for the first time, he wrecked what was one of Africa's most diversified economies in a bid to retain political control by seizing the white-owned farms which were the economy's backbone, pouring scorn on donors and pursuing populist economic policies. But in political terms, Mr Mugabe has outsmarted his enemies - he is still in power.

At any cost

After he suffered his first and so far only electoral defeat in a 2000 referendum, Mr Mugabe unleashed his personal militia - the self-styled war veterans - who used violence and murder as an electoral strategy.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu says that Zimbabwe's long-time president has become a cartoon figure of the archetypal African dictator.

During the 2002 presidential campaign, he started wearing brightly-coloured shirts emblazoned with his face - a style copied from many of Africa's notorious rulers.

For the preceding 20 years, this conservative man was only seen in public with either a stiff suit and tie or safari suit.

While some senior Zanu-PF officials have been campaigning behind the scenes to succeed Mr Mugabe, none of them has dared to voice public criticism, except for former Finance Minister Simba Makoni, who is challenging Mr Mugabe as an independent candidate.

This long-time top Zanu-PF official is now branded a "traitor" like other opposition leaders.

Many Zimbabweans, and others, are asking why he does not just put his feet up and enjoy his remaining years with his young family.

His second wife, Grace, 40 years his junior, says that he wakes up at 0400 for his daily exercises.

Mr Mugabe was 73 when she gave birth to their third child, Chatunga.

He professes to be a staunch Catholic, and worshippers at Harare's Catholic Cathedral are occasionally swamped by security guards as he turns up for Sunday Mass.

However, Mr Mugabe's beliefs did not prevent him from having two children by Grace, then his secretary, while his popular Ghanaian first wife, Sally, was dying from cancer.

'King'

Although predictions of Mr Mugabe's demise have always proved premature, the increasing strain of recent years has obviously taken its toll and his once-impeccable presentation now looks a little worn.

But if nothing else, Mr Mugabe is an extremely proud man.

He will only step down when his "revolution" is complete.

He says this means the redistribution of white-owned land but he also wants to hand-pick his successor, who must of course come from within the ranks of his Zanu-PF party.

This would also ensure a peaceful old age, with no investigation into his time in office.

A year ago there were widespread predictions that either Zanu-PF or Zimbabwe's neighbours would finally stand up to Mr Mugabe but in the event, both groups remained loyal to him.

One of Mr Mugabe's closest associates, Didymus Mutasa, once told the BBC that in Zimbabwean culture, kings are only replaced when they die "and Mugabe is our king".

Robert Mugabe Quotes

Quotes from over the years:

"There can never be any return to the state of armed conflict which existed before our commitment to peace" Robert Mugabe 1980

"Our party must continue to strike fear in the heart of the white man, our real enemy!" Robert Mugabe

"Countries such as the U.S. and Britain have taken it upon themselves to decide for us in the developing world, even to interfere in our domestic affairs and to bring about what they call regime change." Robert Mugabe

"Stay with us, please remain in this country and constitute a nation based on national unity." Robert Mugabe

"Countries such as the U.S. and Britain have taken it upon themselves to decide for us in the developing world, even to interfere in our domestic affairs and to bring about what they call regime change." Robert Mugabe

"Stay with us, please remain in this country and constitute a nation based on national unity." Robert Mugabe

"True, some land was bought by a few Cabinet Ministers. They bought the land. No minister, to my knowledge acquired land which was meant for resettlement." Robert Mugabe

"We are no longer going to ask for the land, but we are going to take it without negotiating." Robert Mugabe

"We don't mind having sanctions banning us from Europe. We are not Europeans." Robert Mugabe

1980: Mugabe to lead independent Zimbabwe

Nationalist leader Robert Mugabe has won a sweeping election victory to become Zimbabwe's first black prime minister.

Mr Mugabe's radical Zimbabwe African National Union (Patriotic Front) party or Zanu (PF) won 57 of the 80 black seats being contested in the country's first election since the end of white minority rule.

It is enough to give Mr Mugabe a comfortable majority, even when the 20 seats reserved for whites are taken into account.

He told a news conference the new government would include his former chief guerrilla rival, Joshua Nkomo, and his Patriotic Front party, which won 20 seats.

He also made clear he would consider bringing Europeans into the administration "so as to bring about a government that will be reassuring to all people of Zimbabwe".

Bishop Abel Muzorewa's United African National Council, UANC, party won only three votes - a humiliating defeat for the party which only 10 months ago was riding high in the polls.

News of Mr Mugabe's election victory was announced over radio and television sending thousands of enthusiastic black Zimbabweans onto the streets shouting for joy.

Mr Mugabe's symbol, the cockerel or jongwe, inspired his supporters to constant crowing and arm-flapping. Many ran out onto the streets with live birds.

The celebrations were largely good-natured and there were no signs of racial tensions. But overhead and at key crossroads in the capital, Salisbury, and the black townships, the security forces maintained a constant vigil.

Zimbabwe's business and farming communities have reacted to Mr Mugabe's election victory with caution. The Salisbury stock exchange fell sharply when the results were announced but recovered later in the afternoon.

Former prime minister Ian Smith told the BBC: "I think Rhodesians are pretty pragmatic and full of experience.

"I don't visualise them resorting to panic action, stampeding. I think they will act in a very mature, responsible way. After all it's our country, where will we run to?"

In a broadcast on television tonight, Mr Mugabe said: "I wish to assure you that there can never be any return to the state of armed conflict which existed before our commitment to peace and the democratic process of election under the Lancaster House agreement."

Cartoons of Robert Mugabe

A picture is worth a 1000 words and this has never been more true than for satirical cartoons.

Political cartoons have always been a way for people to show in just one image the feeling of a people. There have been many cartoon images of Mr Mugabe here are a few that I have found.

From ABC News: Mugabe: Zimbabwe Opposition Are Traitors.

This cartoon depicts what people have thought of Mugabe's political campaigns:

HARARE, Zimbabwe?Mar 29, 2005 -- President Robert Mugabe branded supporters of the country's main opposition Movement for Democratic Change party as traitors in comments broadcast repeatedly on state radio Tuesday, raising fears of new political violence two days ahead of parliamentary elections.

"All those who will vote for the MDC are traitors," state radio quoted Mugabe as saying to a ruling ZANU-PF party rally Monday at Mutoko, 90 miles northeast of Harare.

Similar comments by the president in the past have encouraged ruling party and youth militia's to take violent action against opposition supporters and candidates.

Mugabe's Land Reform

Another cartoon depicting the feelings of some people on Zimbabwe's Land Reform Policy.

Books on Robert Mugabe

There is one thing that is for sure Mugabe will not be forgotten by history. There are many many books that have bee written about the man...

Mugabe & Zimbabwe News

ZANU-PF and MDC Clash Over Central Bank Reform Legislation

Thursday 24 December 2009

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF party have proposed 11 amendments to pending legislation to reform the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, drawing fire from the Movement for Democratic Change formation of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, which introduced the bill.

Lawmakers of the Tsvangirai MDC formation have responded by threatening to scrap an immunity clause intended to shield incumbent RBZ Governor Gideon Gono and senior central bank staff from the legal consequences of various actions they took on behalf of the former Mugabe government.

Read more

Beaten by Mugabe's thugs and Russian Nazis: Is Peter Tatchell the bravest man in Britain?

25th December 2009

A sign on Peter Tatchell's front door warns would-be assassins that there is round-the-clock CCTV police surveillance on his flat. The arson attacks have, mercifully, stopped since the camera was installed, and there is less chance now of a vengeful killer lurking in wait on his doorstep.

That aside, though, the repeated beatings he has endured during four decades as Britain's most prominent and relentless human rights campaigner have conferred an unhappy legacy.

Read more

Three reasons to love Mugabe?

Can't think of one...

Quick, what do you think of Mugabe?

Mugabe is...

See results

Mugabe and Zimbabwe in 1980

An Article from The Guardian, Saturday 9 February 1980

The problem Nkomo or Mugabe will have to face if either becomes prime minister is possibly not the panic of the Whites or the sudden collapse of financial confidence, but the brutal disenchantment of their own people.

Meanwhile the Whites continue to live in a style unimaginable here, but all too familiar to the shop assistants, garage hands and dissatisfied bourgeoisie who have made Rhodesia their home.

Around the average Salisbury bungalow is three or four acres of rich land, thick with shrubbery, flower beds, rolling lawns, arboretums: so much greenery you feel you need a platoon of Gurkhas to hack your way through to the front door.

A team of servants irons the grass each morning as the sun rises over the sparkling pool. Later, vast dragonflies zoom over the blue water like helicopter gunships as the host and his guests enjoy perhaps a "wine race" - swimming a length backwards while drinking a glass of wine (Rhodesian wine probably, which is awful. It is the only alcoholic drink to give you bilharzia) - or just pushing each other into the water.

Then maybe a few glasses of "hooligan juice", a large slug of brandy mixed to a slush with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

This is what they call civilization, and it is easy for us to mock: after all, they work hard and they have fought hard. It is impossible not to admire the way they have coped with sanctions, the way they have manufactured almost everything from tomato ketchup to armoured cars.

Though the cause was perhaps not worth fighting - indeed did not need to be fought - we need not grudge them their mindless pleasures, pleasures we would hugely enjoy if we could.

I recall one faintly pathetic note being struck 150 miles or so north of Salisbury. A young man, just out of the army, asked if there was any chance that the British would stay behind to help the White Rhodesians fight if the settlement went horribly wrong.

I said (fairly) that there was no chance at all, and added - unfairly - that they could expect to see Lord Soames mount the aircraft steps on March 1, write the name of the new prime minister on a scratch pad, throw it on to the tarmac, slam the door and take off for England with a screech of engines.

"Ah, what style" said the young man. "When the British wash their hands, they use only the finest soap."

Another list of Mugabe Books on Amazon

This time there is a difference, you can vote or add books on Mugabe to this list. So if you have read any books on Mugabe that you think are really good, please feel free to add them to the list.

Our Votes, Our Guns: Robert Mugabe and the Tragedy of Zimbabwe
Our Votes, Our Guns: Robert Mugabe and the Tragedy of Zimbabwe

The story of what Robert Mugabe did to the once-flourishing African state of Zimbabwe: how it happened, why it happened, and its implications for Africa. Robert Mugabe came to power in 1980 after a long civil war in Rhodesia. The white minority government had become an international outcast in refusing to give in to the inevitability of black majority rule. Finally the defiant white prime minister Ian Smith was forced to step down and Mugabe was elected president of a country now called...

 
Robert Mugabe and the Betrayal of Zimbabwe
Robert Mugabe and the Betrayal of Zimbabwe

Instead of leading his people to the "promised land," Mugabe, the first prime minister of the newly-named Zimbabwe, has amassed a fortune for himself, his family and followers and has presided over the murder, torture and starvation of those who oppose him. This biography offers some explanations for Mugabe’s behavior. With the death of his wife in 1992, a moderating influence was lost, and as the years go by, he continues to show himself intolerant of any opposition as he...

 
Robert Mugabe: A Life of Power and Violence
Robert Mugabe: A Life of Power and Violence

Robert Mugabe was born in 1924, a black man in one of Africa's most defiantly white-dominated nations: Rhodesia. A revolutionary hero who came to prominence as a guerrilla leader in the 1970s, he has been a key player in Southern Africa ever since. For when Rhodesia became Zimbabwe in 1980, Mugabe became the public face of a hopeful experiment in African independence--but the next twenty-two years would tell a different story. In this evenhanded yet unsparing study, Stephen Chan expl...

 
Mugabe: Power, Plunder, and the Struggle for Zimbabwe's Future
Mugabe: Power, Plunder, and the Struggle for Zimbabwe's Future

Robert Mugabe came to power in Zimbabwe in 1980 after a long civil war in Rhodesia. The white minority government had become an international outcast in refusing to give in to the inevitability of black majority rule. Finally the defiant white prime minister Ian Smith was forced to step down and Mugabe was elected president. Initially he promised reconciliation between white and blacks, encouraged Zimbabwe's economic and social development, and was admired throughout the world as one of the leaders of the emerging nations and as a model for a transition from colonial leadership. But as Martin Meredith shows in this history of Mugabe's rule, Mugabe from the beginning was sacrificing his purported ideals--and Zimbabwe's potential--to the goal of extending and cementing his autocratic leadership. Over time, Mugabe has become ever more dictatorial, and seemingly less and less interested in the welfare of his people, treating Zimbabwe's wealth and resources as spoils of war for his inner circle. In recent years he has unleashed a reign of terror and corruption in his country. Like the Congo, Angola, Rwanda, Sierra Leone and Liberia, Zimbabwe has been on a steady slide to disaster. Now for the first time the whole story is told in detail by an expert. It is a riveting and tragic political story, a morality tale, and an essential text for understanding today's Africa. A fully revised and updated edition of the book previously titled Our Votes, Our Guns

 
What Happens after Mugabe?
What Happens after Mugabe?

After 25 years in power, Robert Mugabe is under increasing pressure to step down and allow democratic reform in Zimbabwe. Amnesty International rates the country among the worst for torture and abuse of human rights, the Commonwealth has suspended Zimbabwe’s membership, and even in Africa there is growing outrage at what some see as a rogue state. In the past five years, millions of words have been written about the tragedy -- including more than a dozen books -- but few have focused on what might happen when freedom comes. As things stand, schools and hospitals have collapsed, a third of the population lives in exile and 3 000 people die of AIDS every week. Once Africa’s second-biggest exporter of food, 70 per cent of the country lives under conditions of famine in the wake of violent land reform. What will it take to rebuild Zimbabwe? This gripping, incisive book discusses many relevant issues and asks serious questions, including: - Will 4 million exiles go home to a country with 80 per cent unemployment? - Should there be war-crimes trials? - Can the economy be revived? - Where will the billions of dollars come from that are needed to put things right? What Happens After Mugabe is meticulously researched, with material drawn from hundreds of interviews inside Zimbabwe and among exile communities in Britain, the US and South Africa.

 
Our Votes, Our Guns: Robert Mugabe And The Tragedy Of Zimbabwe
Our Votes, Our Guns: Robert Mugabe And The Tragedy Of Zimbabwe

The only biography of Zimbabwe's dictator despot and what he has wrought upon a once-flourishing state--now updated through the most recent political turmoil. When Robert Mugabe came to power in 1980--after triumphing over the defiant minority white leadership--he promised reconciliation and unification to the country now called Zimbabwe. Initially, hopes were high that he had the intelligence, political savvy and idealistic vision to help repair the damage done by colonialism and the bitter civil war, and to lead his country's economic and social development. He was admired throughout the world as one of the leaders of the emerging nations and as a model for a good transition from colonial leadership. But month by month, year by year. Mugabe's rule has become increasingly autocratic: his methods, increasingly violent. Now, twenty years later, Zimbabwe has become a pariah among nations, rife with violence and corruption. Mugabe rules with an iron hand, while his people die of hunger, disease, and violence. What happened to this formerly-thriving African state? In Our Votes, Our Guns, one of the most knowledgeable sources on the African continent tells the story in detail--including, in this paperback edition, an account of the spring 2002 election, the ouster of white farmers, and the country's impending famine. Our Votes. Our Guns is a riveting and tragic political story.

 

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