Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe’s ex-President, dies at 95

Robert Mugabe, former president of Zimbabwe and its first post-independence leader, has died aged 95.

The legendary ruler died after battling ill health, his family said. He had been in hospital in Singapore since April.

In a seismic shift in Zimbabwe’s politics, Mugabe was ousted in a military coup in November 2017, ending three decades in power.

He won Zimbabwe’s first election after independence, becoming prime minister in 1980. He abolished the office in 1987, becoming president instead.

Mugabe’s early years were praised for broadening access to health and education for the black majority. But his controversial land reform programme sparked an economic collapse that left the southern African nation somewhat isolated and impoverished.

In a tweet Friday morning, his successor, Zimbabwean president Emmerson Mnangagwa, expressed his “utmost sadness”, calling Mr Mugabe “Zimbabwe’s founding father” and “an icon of liberation”.

Mr Mugabe was born on 21 February 1924, in what was then Rhodesia.

He was imprisoned for more than a decade without trial after criticising the government of Rhodesia in 1964.

In 1973, while still in prison, he was chosen as president of the Zimbabwe African National Union (Zanu), of which he was a founding member.

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