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President Robert Mugabe

Updated on January 16, 2013

Robert Gabriel Mugabe

"The only white man you can trust is a dead white man." Robert Mugabe

President Robert Mugabe has ruled Zimbadwe for over 32 years. He is the only leader in the Country's history, having ruled since the former British Crown Colony was declared independent in 1980. During this time he has presided over disputed Presidential elections, had numerous people arrested and tortured and had his opponents killed. In 2011, the Democracy Index ranked Zimbadwe at 147th out of 167.

He is estimated to be worth $10 million.

Death toll

Mugabe is estimated to be responsible for the deaths of at least 120 of his opponents. His main rival for the leadership of his party, Josiah Tongogara, was killed in a car crash in 1979. Other deaths include: Christopher Giwa (an anti-Mugabe student leader), Peter Pamire (a businessman who Mugabe suspected was making advances to his wife) and Brigadier Armstrong Gunda (he was suspected of being involved in a failed coup).

Overview

Robert Mugabe assumed control of Zimbadwe in 1980; for seven years he was the Country's Prime Minister before abolishing the post and becoming the first ever executive President. He was once a beloved ally of the West who was hailed as a freedom fighter and had various honours bestowed on him including honorary degrees, the order of Jamacia and a honorary knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II. This support (along with the honours) has been withdraw. His economic and land reforms have proved costly; inflation was 231 million percent at it's peak, over 90% of Zimbadweans are unemployed, the average life expectancy is 37 and thousands of people have died of colera. To combat the country's astronomical level of inflation the country ntroduced the 100 trillion Zimbadwe dollar note (which at the time was worth about 30 US dollars). The currency was later suspended and the country was forced to allow shops to trade in foreign currency. Mugabe has rejected any calls to join the South African Rand.

"I will never, never, never, never surrender. Zimbabwe is mine. I am a Zimbabwean. Zimbabwe for Zimbabweans. Zimbabwe never for the British. Britain for the British." Mugabe

2008 Election

Mugabe announced his decision to seek another 5 year term in 2008. The election was dogged by controversy and allegations of electoral fraud and vote rigging. A BBC news investigation discovered that a 'constituency' of 8000 voters was in fact an empty field. Countless opposition members were arrested, citizens were beaten, raped and killed After much dithering it was announced that Mugabe had lost the first round but his opponent and former ally, Morgan Tsvangirai had narrowly missed out on the required majority for the first round. A run off vote between the two men was held. After further violence, Tsvangirai decided to withdraw from the contest; Mugabe was re-elected unopposed with 85% of the vote. No government or international body would recognise Mugabe's regime following the controversial presidential election. Mugabe stated that he had no intention of reliqunishing power, would only leave the presidential palace "in a coffin" and was prepared to launch a civil war if the Movement for Democratic Change attempt to replace the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union - Patriotic Front. Following lengthy negotiations with the opposition party; he eventually agreed to a power sharing deal.A coalition government was formed with Mugabe serving as President and Tsvangirai (who some insisted was the legitimate President) being appointed Prime Minister. Since the coalition's formation members of Tsvangirai's own family have died in accidents (there is no proof of foul play) and numerous opposition members have been arrested and imprisoned on spurious charges. The MDC have complained that the President controls the lions share of ministries, whilst the few powers they were granted have been erroded.

The future

Despite his incredible tenacity and survival, Mugabe's future is looking uncertain. As of September 21st 2012 he is 88 years old. His health has deteriorated rapidly; rumours persist that he often falls asleep during cabinet meetings and is dying of terminal cancer. He intends to seek a five year term, when his current term expires in 2013 (at the age of 89) but there are various obstacles in his path. His coalition partners are seeking to change the constitution so that no-one over the age of 70 can stand for the Presidency, as well as retrospectively term limit him. In addition his stronghold on the Zimbadwe judicial system recently slackened when the Supreme Court ordered him to hold by-elections within two months. His sole remaining ally Thabo Mbeki was forced to resign as South African president in 2008. Rumours persist that Mugabe's own party does not want him to be their presidential candidate in 2013. Nevertheless it would be naive to write off Mugabe; he is currently one of the longest standing dictators in the world and has survived economic meltdown and the Arab Spring. One of the countries senior army leaders even called for him made 'President for Life'. Recently his vice president claimed that Mugabe was anointed to lead Zimbabwe at the age of ten.

The future

Will Mugabe 'win' the next presidential election?

Robert Mugabe Jokes

I have seen this on various websites so can't attribute it to anyone - please message me if you know who created the joke.

'Robert Mugabe and his chauffeur are travelling down the highway when suddenly they hit a pig crossing the road. The pig dies instantly. Mugabe tells his driver: "Go to the farm over there and explain what happened."

One hour later, Mugabe sees his driver coming back from the farm, his clothes all wrinkled, a bottle of wine in one hand and a cigar in the other. "What happened to you?" Mugabe asks.

"Well, the farmer gave me a bottle of wine, his wife, the cigar and their 19 year old daughter made wild passionate love to me."

"What did you tell them?" asks Mugabe.

The driver answered: " Good evening, I am Robert Mugabe's chauffeur and I have just killed the pig."'

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