Life of Mugabe

Vlag Zimbabwe
Life of Robert Gabriel Mugabe


  • Full name Robert Gabriel Mugabe
  • Born February 21, 1924, at Kutama Mission in what was then Rhodesia. Son of Gabriel and Bona Mugabe. Member of Shona tribe
  • Educated in Jesuit missionary schools. Qualifies as primary school teacher 1942. Teaches 1942-49
  • Attends Fort Hare University in South Africa 1949-51, gaining Bachelor of Arts degree (holds 7 degrees in total). While at University comes into contact with many future black African nationalist leaders
  • Resumes teaching career 1955-60, working at schools in Rhodesia, Zambia and Ghana
  • Abandons teaching May 1960 to join Joshua Nkomo’s Zimbabwe African National People’s Union (ZAPU). Resigns three years later to form rival Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU)
  • Imprisoned August 1964 for political activities. Remains in jail 1964-74
  • Leaves Rhodesia 1974 for Mozambique, from where he co-ordinates bloody guerrilla war against Ian Smith’s white minority Rhodesian government
  • Leads ZANU delegation at 1979 Lancaster House Conference in London which paves way for end of white minority rule in Rhodesia
  • Elected Prime Minister of Rhodesia after democratic elections of March 1980. Forms government of national unity with Joshua Nkomo. Independence declared April 18, 1980. Country renamed Zimbabwe
  • Dismisses Nkomo from government 1982, thereafter ruling as sole leader. Launches vicious reprisals after unrest in Matabeleland.
  • Elected President December 1987. Re-elected 1990 and 1996
  • Initial moderate stance has given way to ever more outspoken nationalism and intimidation of opponents. Country’s economy has steadily declined under his rule, with unemployment reaching 55 percent and inflation 70 percent
  • In elections of June 2000, despite widespread intimidation, opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) wins almost half the votes, ending domination of Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party
  • Declared the winner in presidential vote in March 2002, with 1.685 million votes against 1.258 million for opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai of the MDC. International observers said the election was not free or fair, a claim disputed by the ruling ZANU-PF party. The election had been overshadowed by violence and international sanctions over observers.
  • Married twice. First wife dies 1992. Three children (one girl, two boys)

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