Robert Mugabe: Twitter praises and shuns Zimbabwe’s first leader, dead at 95

robert mugabe nelson mandela funeral 2013 government za flickr

Former president of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe, is dead at 95.

Mugabe died in a Singaporean hospital on Friday after receiving treatment for an illness.

The first ruler of the country post-independence from the British, remained at the helm of Zimbabwe for more some 37 years.

A military coup ousted him in 2017.

Zimbabwe’s current president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, was the first to offer his condolences.

“It is with the utmost sadness that I announce the passing on of Zimbabwe’s founding father and former President, Cde Robert Mugabe,” he tweeted on Friday morning.

“Cde Mugabe was an icon of liberation, a pan-Africanist who dedicated his life to the emancipation and empowerment of his people. His contribution to the history of our nation and continent will never be forgotten. May his soul rest in eternal peace.”

Others shared this respect for the former leader.

Nelson Chamisa, the president of the opposition party, the MDC, called Mugabe a “giant”.

“Even though I and our party, the MDC, and the Zimbabwean people had great political differences with the late former President during his tenure in office, and disagreed for decades, we recognise his contribution made during his lifetime as a nation’s founding President,” he tweeted.

The SA government called Robert Mugabe a “fearless pan-Africanist liberation fighter”.

Other Twitter users praised Mugabe for securing Zimbabweans land back from the British.

Some on Twitter offered nothing but critique, calling Mugabe “greedy and selfish”.

Other wondered if those tweeting positive sentiment also felt this way while he was ruling Zimbabwe.

And some just felt both ways.

Even in death Robert Mugabe remains a highly divisive figure.

Feature image: Robert Mugabe at Nelson Mandela’s memorial in 2013, in Johannesburg, by GovernmentZA/GCIS via Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Andy Walker, former editor


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