HARARE – Robert Mugabe, who ruled the southern African nation of Zimbabwe for 37 years following the end of white minority rule in 1980, has died. He was 95 years old. Some hail him as a liberation hero who stood by his principles — but others say he rigged elections, destroyed the economy of what was once Africa’s breadbasket and terrorized his people for decades. Mugabe, Zimbabwe’s first president, leaves behind a complicated legacy after 37 years of increasingly autocratic rule. In his younger years, he led the guerilla movement that resulted in Zimbabwe’s independence. At the time, he was hailed as a liberation hero, both inside and outside the former British colony once known as Rhodesia. Early on, he urged Zimbabweans to reconcile after the civil war that raged during the final colonial years. He also initially expanded the country’s education and health systems, making them among the best-regarded in Africa. But as time went on, Mugabe grew intolerant of dissent and faced increasing allegations of human rights abuses, repression and election rigging. Farm output plunged after land reforms transferred white-owned commercial farms to blacks who lacked the experience and funding to make the farms productive. For… Read full this story
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