By: The Homeland News Agency
Data on explains most of his policies on health, economics, corruption, press freedom and migration reveals much about his legacy in politics
When Mugabe came to power in 1980, life expectancy at birth in Zimbabwe was 59.4 years, rising to 60.8 years in 1986.
Zimbabwe has consistently been ranked as one of the most corrupt countries in the world, rated at 160th out of 180 last year.
Transparency International said that the problems range from “petty, bureaucratic and political corruption to grand forms of corruption involving high level-officials.”
It also highlighted “the deeply entrenched system of political patronage, the tight grip of the ruling party over the security forces, and the history of political violence, repression and manipulation.”
Zimbabwe is one of the least open countries for press freedom in the world. In 2002 it was ranked 122nd out of 139, and in 2019 127th out of 180.
Reporters Without Borders said that the government controls the two main newspapers, and all radio and television. Journalists must be accredited and foreign correspondents have been arrested and deported.
Figures are hard to pin down, but the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has said about three million Zimbabweans are believed to live abroad.
Many of them fled due the economic crisis, heading to South Africa, Botswana, the Middle East, the United States, Britain and Australia.
“Emigration particularly after 2000 contributed significantly to brain drain especially in the health and education sectors,” IOM said.
“Zimbabwe was left incapacitated in terms of service delivery.”
When Mugabe came to power in 1980, life expectancy at birth in Zimbabwe was 59.4 years, rising to 60.8 years in 1986, according to the World Bank.
It then crashed to just 44.1 years by 2002 — a devastating indictment of his rule.
In 2006, the World Health Organization put it even lower at 34 years for women and 37 for men — the worst figures worldwide.
The major causes were HIV-AIDS, the collapse of healthcare and falling standards of living as the country’s economy crumbled.
Life expectancy has now risen to 61.4 years according to WHO, largely due to international aid funding.
Mugabe died aged 95.
Erratic GDP growth and decline has exposed Zimbabwe’s torrid economic woes… and its potential.
Robert Mugabe – key dates
- 1924: Born
- 1964: Imprisoned by Rhodesian government
- 1980: Wins first post-independence elections
- 1996: Marries Grace Marufu after death of first wife, a Ghanaian
- 2000: Loses referendum, pro-Mugabe militias invade white-owned farms and attack opposition supporters
- 2008: Comes second in first round of elections to Tsvangirai who pulls out of run-off amid nationwide attacks on his supporters
- 2009: Amid economic collapse, swears in Tsvangirai as prime minister, who served in uneasy government of national unity for four years
- 2017: Sacks long-time ally Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa, allegedly in favour of his wife wife Grace, as successor
- November 2017: Army intervenes and forces him to step down
- He once said that he’d rule his country until he turned 100, and many expected him to die in office.
- But as his health weakened, the military finally intervened in late 2017 to ensure that his wife Grace’s presidential ambitions were ended in favour of their own preferred candidate.
“His real obsession was not with personal wealth but with power,” said biographer Martin Meredith.
“Year after year Mugabe sustained his rule through violence and repression — crushing political opponents, violating the courts, trampling on property rights, suppressing the independent press and rigging elections.”
Mugabe leaves two sons and a daughter by second wife Grace.