Robert Mugabe is a politician: the current President of Zimbabwe, the longest reigning and oldest African president. He assumed power as the President of Zimbabwe on 22 December 1987.
Prior to that, he had served as Prime Minister, head of government from 1980 to 1987, when he became the country’s first executive head of state.
Robert Mugabe’s Early Life
Robert Gabriel Mugabe was born on 21 February 1924, near the Kutama Jesuit Mission in the Zvimba District northwest of Salisbury, in Southern Rhodesia.
Robert’s father, Gabriel Matibili, was a carpenter and of the Malawian ancestry while his mother, Bona, was a daughter Chief Gutu of the Karanga tribe.
Mugabe was the third child of six children. However, he became the eldest left, after he lost his two elder brothers, Michael and Raphael when he was young. In 1934, Robert Mugabe was left to take care of his younger ones after his father abandoned the family in search of greener pastures.
Robert Mugabe’ Education
Mugabe received academic education in Marist Brothers, Jesuit schools, and Kutama College. As a youth, he was an introvert, who spent most of his time with the priests in his catholic diocese and with his mother. He was also known as an academician and took his books seriously.
After his basic education, Robert Mugabe obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Fort Hare in 1951. He later earned six more degrees through distance learning including.
He has a Bachelor of Administration and Bachelor of Education from the University of South Africa. He also obtained a Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Laws, Master of Science, and two Master of Laws, all from the University of London External Programme.
Mugabe’s Political Career
Mugabe rose to prominence in the 1960s as the leader of the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) during the conflict against the conservative white-minority government of Rhodesia.
He is seen as one of the leaders of the rebel groups against white minority rule and was a political prisoner in Rhodesia for more than 10 years between 1964 and 1974.
After he was released from prison, he left Rhodesia to launch a fight during the Rhodesian Bush War from bases in Mozambique. He became a hero by the end of the war in 1979 and was voted in during the general elections of 1980 as Prime Minister on Zimbabwe’s independence day.
Between 1982 and 1985, over 20,000 people died in ethnic cleansing, courtesy of an attacked launched by Mugabe on his former allies ZAPU.
The president who has ruled Zimbabwe for over 29-years, says he will not step down the throne until he turns a hundred years old.
While still married to his wife, Sally Hayfron, whom he wedded in 1961, Mugabe began an extra-marital affair with his secretary, Grace Marufu, who was 41-years younger than him and was married to one Stanley Goreraza at the time.
However, he married Grace and made her first lady of Zimbabwe, following the death of Sally Hayfron.
Robert Mugabe’s Views on Racism and Homosexualism
Mugabe was alleged of having a racist attitude towards white people. According to John Sentamu, the Uganda-born Archbishop of York in the United Kingdom, Mugabe is the worst kind of racist dictator for having targeted the whites for their apparent riches.
The United Kingdom once condemned Mugabe’s authoritarian policies and alleged racist attitudes as being comparable to those of German Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler. However, Mugabe confirms that to journalists, saying “I am still the Hitler of the time.”
Mugabe has been uncompromising in his opposition to LGBT rights in Zimbabwe. In September 1995, Zimbabwe’s parliament introduced legislation banning homosexual acts. In 2015, following the U.S legalization of the act, Mugabe placed a punishment of Beheading any gay caught in the act. He also referred to lesbians and gays as being worse than dogs and pigs.
Robert Mugabe Latest News
Robert Mugabe celebrated his 92nd birthday on February 21, 2016, in a grand ceremony organized by his subjects.
In May 2016, President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe granted amnesty to all female prisoners regardless of offenses, except those on death row or serving life sentences.
In June 2016, during the officially opening of the 24th Children’s Parliament in Zimbabwe, the veteran ruler told the youngsters that he was once like them, but now his days were numbered.