Former President Robert Mugabe has died. The 95-year-old was at a hospital in Singapore where he had been ill for an extended period of time.
He died in the early hours of Friday morning.
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Meanwhile, a close ally of President Mugabe, Professor Jonathan Moyo posted a cryptic message on his Twitter handle. He said:
A dark cloud has enveloped Zimbabwe. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; Blessed be the name of the Lord!
President Mugabe’s relatives reportedly left the country yesterday for Singapore where he is said to have been on life support for some time.
Another Mugabe close ally, National Patriotic Front (NPF) spokesperson, Jealousy Mawarire tweeted:
A dark day!!! Aaaah, my God!
An obituary by BBC World Service traces Mugabe’s political career from his nonage to his death as a nonagenarian. It ends with these lines:
With speculation that his wife, Grace, was poised to take control in the event of his death in office, Mugabe announced in 2015 that he fully intended to fight the 2018 elections, by which time he would be 94.
And, to allay any doubt remaining among possible successors, he announced in February 2016 that he would remain in power “until God says ‘come'”.
In the event, it wasn’t God but units of the Zimbabwe National Army which came for Robert Mugabe. On 15 November 2017, he was placed under house arrest and, four days later, replaced as the leader of Zanu-PF by his former vice-president, Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Defiant to the end Mugabe refused to resign, But, on 21 November, as a motion to impeach him was being debated in the Zimbabwean parliament, the speaker of the House of Assembly announced that Robert Mugabe had finally resigned.
Mugabe negotiated a deal which protected him and his family from the risk of future prosecution and enabled him to retain his various business interests. He was also granted a house, servants, vehicles and full diplomatic status.
Ascetic in manner, Robert Mugabe dressed conservatively and drank no alcohol. He viewed both friend and foe with a scepticism verging on the paranoid.
The man who had been hailed as the hero of Africa’s struggle to throw off colonialism had turned into a dictator, trampling over human rights and turning a once prosperous country into an economic basket case.
His legacy is likely to haunt Zimbabwe for years.
More: BBC News