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Profile: Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe

The Political atmosphere in Zimbabwe has been uncertain, since last week, after fears of an attempted coup, which was denied by the military, against former President Robert Mugabe’s government.
In the early hours of Wednesday, Zimbabwe’s army seized the headquarters of the state broadcaster ZBC in the capital Harare and blocked off access to government offices.
Zimbabwean Defence Forces reported that Robert Mugabe was safe but then they were doing some purging to remove the criminals of the government.
On Saturday, Tens of thousands of people gathered in the centre of Harare to call for the resignation of Robert Mugabe. There were similar scenes in the southern city of Bulawayo as well as abroad.
Zimbabwe’s ruling party removed him as head and pressurized him to step down on Sunday. Zanu-PF also gave him a deadline to resign or face impeachment.
On Sunday, Mugabe addressed the nation and said nothing about stepping down as president, he instead reminded Zimbabweans of where they came from.
Mugabe will be remembered as a hero who thirty-seven years ago won Africa’s last Great War against colonialism.

Who is Robert Gabriel Mugabe?

Robert Mugabe was born on February 21, 1924, in Kutama, Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). In 1963, he founded ZANU, a resistance movement against British colonial rule. In 1980, when British rule ended, Mugabe became prime minister of the new Republic of Zimbabwe. In 1987, he was elected president of Zimbabwe. After sharing power with Morgan Tsvangirai from 2008 to 2013, Mugabe again resumed control of the country, until efforts to oust him from power were launched in late 2017 and he left power.

Political Life

The former school teacher, with seven university degrees, first came to prominence after waging a bloody guerrilla war against the white colonial rulers who jailed him for 10 years over a “subversive speech” he made in 1964.
Soon after his release from jail in 1974, he caused a seismic shift in the then Rhodesian politics, riding a wave of popular outrage against the racist colonial rulers.
From 1975 to 1979, he launched a Guerrilla war for independence after he crossed the border to neighbouring Mozambique.
He returned to Rhodesia in 1979 and became prime minister in 1980 of the newly independent country renamed Zimbabwe.

Personal Life

Mugabe’s first wife, Sally Hayfron, was Mugabe’s “confidante and only real friend”, being “one of the few people who could challenge Mugabe’s ideas without offending him”.
Their only son, Michael Nhamodzenyika Mugabe, born 27 September 1963, died on 26 December 1966 from cerebral malaria in Ghana where Sally was working while Mugabe was in prison. Sally Mugabe was a trained teacher who asserted her position as an independent political activist and campaigner.
While married to Hayfron, in 1987 Mugabe began an extra-marital affair with his secretary, Grace Marufu; she was 41 years his junior and at the time was married to Stanley Goreraza. In 1988 she bore Mugabe a daughter, Bona, and in 1990 a son, Robert. The relationship was kept secret from the Zimbabwean public, although Hayfron was aware of it. Hayfron died in 1992 from a chronic kidney ailment.
Following Hayfron’s death in 1992, Mugabe and Marufu were married in a large Catholic wedding ceremony in August 1996. In 1997, Grace Mugabe gave birth to the couple’s third child, Chatunga Bellarmine.

His Resignation

Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe resigned on November 21 2017, a resignation announced by the parliament speaker Jacob Mudenda. A letter from Mr Mugabe said that the decision was voluntary and that he had made it to allow a smooth transition of power.
The surprise announcement halted an impeachment hearing that had begun against him. It remains unknown who is going to take over as President of Zimbabwe. The constitution says it should be the current vice-president, Phelekezela Mphoko, a supporter of Grace Mugabe, Mr Mugabe’s wife. Mr Mudenda said moves were under way to ensure a new leader could take over by Wednesday.

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