Robert Mugabe, who had been at the center to transform Southern Rhodesia into Zimbabwe. Hailed all the efforts to liberate the country’s majority from the ruling white minorities in 1980. A freedom fighter, who even challenged the white-minority regime with guerilla warfare. While driving on National Democratic Party until 1961, ruled the country even after independence in 1980. As a Prime Minister till 1987 and then carried the country on his shoulders as a President till 2017. Before he resigned and made way for Emmerson Mnangagwa to enter the ring.
Zimbabwe’s both former PM & President
As his critics opine: “Mugabe’s political career marched on the shoulders of the army. They protected his hollow and length tenure every time he was in the face of criticism.” In 1980, when Southern Rhodesia was granted freedom by Prince Charles to be known as Zimbabwe, Mugabe’s popularity was widely discussed across all the spheres of influence in the world – from Europe to South Asia. But a belief whirled as Mugabe marched with his dictator-style regime to throw his long-term ally out of power as a vice-president and pave way for his wife to succeed him.
The forces started turning against his will to stabilize his power at the cost of democratic values and the development of the country. Until the age of 93, Mugabe was the center of power and later be dethroned by his closest ally, Mnangagwa, who had a majority of votes to succeed Mugabe, especially after being sacked by Mugabe as a vice-president.
If someone had to sum up his political stance then it would cost an arm and a leg. During the 2008 elections, Mugabe echoed the public sentiment and promised to leave Politics if he loses elections. “If you lose an election and are rejected by the people, it is time to leave politics.” But soon after the elections, Mugabe came second to Morgan Tsvangirai, who was the front runner to become President until Mugabe flipped the tables. Mugabe swore that “only god could dethrone his political career”. Violence erupted in Zimbabwe and Mugabe clutched the power after Tsvangirai gave up in the second round of election owing to violence and chaos. Even though, Tsvangirai was the front runner in the race, he had to share power with Mugabe which earned a heavy criticism by the public but Mugabe continued as a President to later win elections again in 2013.
Zimbabwe caves under Guerilla warfare
While churning life out of the Zimbabwean politics, guerilla warfare was again stole the show after it first became a ‘front runner’ in liberating then Rhodesia from minority-white rule in 1963. His formation of Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) sent him to the prison for nearly 10 years by the Rhodesians. Drawing further inspiration to draw the card of guerilla warfare in Zimbabwean politics, Mugabe actually grew his personal militia in 2000, owing to the frustration of losing electoral rounds. The self styled militia consisting of war veterans who were backed by the security forces used murders, extortion, violence and riots as the means to earn Mugabe electoral gains.
Running Zimbabwe from the Hospital’s bed?
In 2017, the year he was forced to resign, Mugabe was headed to Singapore for his medical checkups and treatment. Quoting his opposition. “The 93-years-old President is running Zimbabwe from the hospital bed in Singapore”. To corroborate further, Mugabe had spent nearly $ 50 M on foreign visits. And Singapore was being said to be his second home. Mugabe’s tenure came under heavy criticism for clutching onto power even when the support to him kept falling.
Literacy rate edges out the ‘dictator style regime’
Robert Mugabe was hailed for his struggle to liberate Zimbabwe. But apart from his rigorous freedom struggle. The literacy rate of Zimbabwe is still today hailed as an element of surprise. In 2014, under Mugabe, the literacy rate swelled to nearly 87 %. Edging out the devious mindset that his opposition labeled at him. Political scientist, Masipula Sithole, one said that Mugabe was “digging his own grave” by elevating the literacy rate of Zimbabwe. The fear turned out to be true as the younger section of population. Who were the beneficiary of the development opposed the corruption. And lack of jobs followed by soaring fuel prices in the country under Mugabe. In 2019, Mugabe passed away but kept floating in form of questions. That targeted the dwindled democracy during his regime. But soon caved under pressure for his stature and popularity as a freedom fighter.