Mugabe: Liberation hero turned despot

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Zimbabwe’s veteran leader Robert Mugabe once quipped that he’d rule his country until he turned 100.

Robert Mugabe clears the way for Grace Mugabe as his successor

But, aged 93, his grip on power seems to be ebbing as tensions erupt between his loyal ZANU-PF party and the military that has helped keep him in office.

First heralded as a liberator who rid the former British colony Rhodesia of white minority rule, Robert Gabriel Mugabe was soon cast in the role of a despot who crushed political dissent and ruined the national economy.

The former political prisoner turned guerrilla leader swept to power in 1980 elections after a violent insurgency and economic sanctions forced the Rhodesian government to the negotiating table.

In office he initially won international plaudits for his declared policy of racial reconciliation and for extending improved education and health services…



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