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Goodbye Robert Mugabe, a liberator who lost the plot

Educated and urbane, his obsession with power was unrelenting to the point of unleashing death squads on civilians of a different political persuasion. Opponents also say he had become a master at rigging elections, with little understanding or regard, of managing the economy.

In the early years of his rulership, Mugabe was the darling of the people, overseeing a huge expansion in the country’s health system and expanding the education sector. At the end of his reign, he had driven his country into economic ruin. Millions of Zimbabweans fled the country to seek opportunities elsewhere. About 90 percent of Zimbabwe’s adult population is unemployed and the country’s graduates have been reduced to vendors.

For such a consummate political operator, analysts say his biggest failing was his failure to reign in his young wife’s political ambitions.

Gucci Grace, as Zimbabweans have christened her for her reported expensive taste, hijacked her husband’s presidency and led a purge of perceived enemies that left the ruling ZANU-PF party deeply divided.

She waltzed onto the political scene, held rallies countrywide where she railed and ranted, claiming the scalp of Mugabe’s then deputy, Joice Mujuru. In 2014, she was made head of the ZANU-PF women’s league and soon turned her guns on Mnangagwa, who had replaced Mujuru.

On November 6, Mugabe obliged her and fired Mnangagwa. One week later, the military took over and Zimbabweans took to the streets, writing a final, perhaps fitting epitaph into an African strongman’s political career.

By end of day, ZANU-PF announced that Mnangagwa will assume office within 48 hours and serve out the remainder of Mugabe’s term.

The old Mugabe was a willy, calculating political operator. The man who finally quit today, three months before his 94th birthday as his former comrades were twisting the knife in his back, was a lost and desperately sad man.- The Source


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