Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe’s first post-independence leader, has died aged 95. Here are key things to know about him as well as key dates in his life as published by the British Broadcasting Corporation
- Mr Mugabe was born on 21 February 1924 in what was then Rhodesia. The country, once a British colony, was run by a white minority.
- He was imprisoned for more than a decade without trial after criticising the government of Rhodesia in 1964.
- He won Zimbabwe’s first election after it secured independence from the UK, becoming prime minister in 1980.
- Mr Mugabe’s early years were praised for broadening access to health and education for the black majority – but his later years were marked by rights abuses and corruption.
- 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.
- Once released, he headed to Mozambique, directing guerrilla raids into Rhodesia. But he was also seen as a skilled negotiator.
- Political agreements to end the crisis resulted in the new independent Republic of Zimbabwe.
- Mr Mugabe, with his high profile in the independence movement, secured an overwhelming victory in the republic’s first election.
- But over his decades in power, the international perception of Mr Mugabe soured, with an increasing number of critics portraying him as a kind of dictator.
- In 2000, facing serious political opposition for the first time, he seized white-owned farms to resettle black farmers, causing economic disruption but boosting his popularity among supporters.
- Around the same time, pro-Mugabe militias used violence to influence political outcomes.
- In 2008, when he lost the first round of the presidential election, attacks on the opposition resulted in his rival pulling out of the contest.
- He was forced into sharing power in 2009 amid economic collapse, installing rival Morgan Tsvangirai as prime minister.
- But in 2017, amid concerns that he was grooming his wife Grace as his successor, the army – his long-time ally – turned against the president and forced him to step down.
Robert Mugabe – key dates
1924: Born. Later trains as a teacher
1964: Imprisoned by Rhodesian government
1980: Wins post-independence elections
1996: Marries Grace Marufu
2000: Loses referendum, pro-Mugabe militias invade white-owned farms and attack opposition supporters
2008: Comes second in first round of elections to Tsvangirai who pulls out of run-off amid nationwide attacks on his supporters
2009: Amid economic collapse, swears in Tsvangirai as prime minister, who serves in uneasy government of national unity for four years
2017: Sacks long-time ally Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa, paving the way for his wife Grace to succeed him
November 2017: Army intervenes and forces him to step down
Read more at: BBC