Robert Gabriel Mugabe is the former Zimbabwean Prime Minister who served from 1980 to 1987 and then as President from 1987 to 2017, making him one of the longest-serving presidents in Africa. He chaired the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) group from 1975 to 1980 and led its successor political party, the ZANU- Patriotic Front (ZANU–PF), from 1980 to 2017.
The 94-year old former President who served for a tenure of 37 years was ousted by a military coup in November 2017 after trying to make his wife Grace, his successor. Having dominated Zimbabwe’s politics for nearly four decades, Mugabe has been a controversial and divisive figure. He has been praised as a revolutionary hero of the African liberation struggle who helped to free Zimbabwe from British colonialism, imperialism and white minority rule on one hand, and accused of being a dictator responsible for economic mismanagement, widespread corruption, anti-white racism, human rights abuses and crimes against humanity, on the other hand.
Since his sack from office, he has fought against his forced resignation which he claimed was a “coup d’état” which must be undone. However, a court judgement over the issue found the resignation to be legal, and that Mnangagwa, who was once his vice president whom he sacked during his tenure, duly took over the presidency. On the eve of the first election in the country without his domination, on 29 July 2018, Mugabe made a surprise press conference where he stated his wish not to vote for President Mnangagwa and ZANU-PF, the party he founded. Instead, he expressed his wish to vote his longtime rival party, the MDC of Nelson Chamisa. However, all efforts to prevent Emmerson Mnangagwa’s success failed as he subsequently emerged as the country’s new president.
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