Robert Mugabe: After leading Zimbabwe to freedom, he then tore it apart

The despotic leader oversaw widespread corruption and human rights abuses. He leaves his country facing a bleak and uncertain future, writes Kim Sengupta

Kim Sengupta
Diplomatic Editor
Monday 09 September 2019 09:15
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Mugabe led Zimbabwe from 1980 to 2017, when he was ousted in a military coup
Mugabe led Zimbabwe from 1980 to 2017, when he was ousted in a military coup

Robert Mugabe sat on a green leather chair in a pagoda-shaped pavilion in the garden of his home, Blue Roof, in Harare with his wife Grace standing behind him. Both were impeccably dressed, he in a navy suite, white shirt, tie and pocket handkerchief; she in a white top with a grey jumper.

There was a bank of microphones on a circular grey stone in front of them, and a group of journalists. We had rushed there in answer to phone calls announcing that the president of Zimbabwe had decided to hold a press conference.

The gathering was the last memorable public appearances by the man who had ruled his country for 37 turbulent, often bloody years – years that ranged from the heady promise that came with the breaking of colonial chains to a divided and despoiled land.

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