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Obituary: The life and times of Robert Mugabe



Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe  was feted as an African liberation hero and champion of racial reconciliation when he first came to power in a nation divided by nearly a century of white colonial rule.Nearly four decades later, many at home and abroad denounced him as a power-obsessed autocrat willing to unleash death squads, rig elections and trash the economy in the relentless pursuit of control.

Mugabe, who died in Singapore aged 95, was ultimately ousted by his own armed forces in November 2017.He demonstrated his tenacity – some might say stubbornness – to the last, refusing to accept his expulsion from his own ZANU-PF party and clinging on for a week until parliament started to impeach him after the de facto coup.

His resignation triggered wild celebrations across the country of 13 million. For Mugabe, it was an “unconstitutional and humiliating” act of betrayal by his party and people, and left him a broken man.Confined for the remaining years of his life between Singapore where he was receiving medical treatment and his sprawling “Blue Roof” mansion in Harare, an ailing Mugabe could only observe from afar the political stage where he once strode tall. He was bitter to the end over the manner of his exit.

On the eve of the July 2018 election, the first without him, he told reporters he would vote for the opposition, something unthinkable only a few months before.Educated and urbane, Mugabe took power in 1980 after seven years of a liberation bush war and – until the army’s takeover – was the only leader Zimbabwe, formerly Rhodesia, knew since independence from Britain.But as the economy imploded starting from 2000 and his mental and physical health waned, Mugabe found fewer people to trust as he seemingly smoothed a path to succession for his wife Grace, four decades his junior and known to her critics as “Gucci Grace” for her reputed fondness for luxury shopping.

READ ALSO:   PHOTOS: Why Mugabe’s family kept close eye on former president’s remains
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe is kissed by his wife Grace at his 80th birthday party in Zvimba, Harare, on February 21, 2004. [Reuters]

“It’s the end of a very painful and sad chapter in the history of a young nation, in which a dictator, as he became old, surrendered his court to a gang of thieves around his wife,” Chris Mutsvangwa, leader of Zimbabwe’s influential liberation war veterans, told Reuters after Mugabe’s removal.‘A JEWEL’Born on Feb. 21, 1924, on a Roman Catholic mission near Harare, Mugabe was educated by Jesuit priests and worked as a primary school teacher before going to South Africa’s University of Fort Hare, then a breeding ground for African nationalism.Returning to then-Rhodesia in 1960, he entered politics but was jailed for a decade four years later for opposing white rule.

When his infant son died of malaria in Ghana in 1966, Mugabe was denied parole to attend the funeral, a decision by the government of white-minority leader Ian Smith that historians say played a part in explaining Mugabe’s subsequent bitterness.After his release, he rose to the top of the powerful Zimbabwe African National Liberation Army, known as the “thinking man’s guerrilla” on account of his seven degrees, three of them earned behind bars.Later, as he crushed his political enemies, he boasted of another qualification: “a degree in violence”.

Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) meets with his Zimbabwean counterpart Robert Mugabe at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, on May 10, 2015. [Reuters]

After the war ended in 1980, Mugabe was elected the nation’s first black prime minister.“You have inherited a jewel in Africa. Don’t tarnish it,” Tanzanian President Julius Nyerere told him during the independence celebrations in Harare.Initially, Mugabe offered forgiveness and reconciliation to old foreign and domestic adversaries, including Smith, who remained on his farm and continued to receive a government pension.

In his early years, he presided over a booming economy, spending money on roads and dams and expanding schooling for black Zimbabweans as part of a wholesale dismantling of the racial discrimination of colonial days.With black and white tension easing, by the mid-1980s many whites who had fled to Britain or South Africa, then still under the yoke of apartheid, were trying to come home.

READ ALSO:   Robert Mugabe's most famous quotes


But it was not long before Mugabe began to suppress challengers, including liberation war rival Joshua Nkomo.Faced with a revolt in the mid-1980s in the western province of Matabeleland that he blamed on Nkomo, Mugabe sent in North Korean-trained army units, provoking an international outcry over alleged atrocities against civilians.Human rights groups say 20,000 people died, most of them from the minority Ndebele tribe from which Nkomo’s partisans were largely drawn.

The discovery of mass graves prompted accusations of genocide.After two terms as prime minister, Mugabe tightened his grip on power by changing the constitution, and he became president in 1987. His first wife, Sally, who had been seen by many as the only person capable of restraining him, died in 1992.A turning point came at the end of the decade when Mugabe, by now a leader unaccustomed to accommodating the will of the people, suffered his first major defeat at the hands of voters, in a referendum on another constitution. He blamed his loss on the white minority, chastising them as “enemies of Zimbabwe”.

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe addresses supporters during celebrations to mark his 90th birthday in Marondera about 80km east of the capital Harare on February 23, 2014. [Reuters]

Days later, a groundswell of black anger at the slow pace of land reform started boiling over and gangs of black Zimbabweans calling themselves war veterans started to overrun white-owned farms.Mugabe’s response was uncompromising, labeling the invasions a correction of colonial injustices.“Perhaps we made a mistake by not finishing the war in the trenches,” he said in 2000.

“If the settlers had been defeated through the barrel of a gun, perhaps we would not be having the same problems.”The farm seizures helped ruin one of Africa’s most dynamic economies, with a collapse in agricultural foreign exchange earnings unleashing hyperinflation.The economy shrank by more than a third from 2000 to 2008, sending unemployment above 80 percent.

READ ALSO:   Why Britain is not mourning Mugabe

Several million Zimbabweans fled, mostly to South Africa.Brushing aside criticism, Mugabe portrayed himself as a radical African nationalist competing against racist and imperialist forces in Washington and London.


The country hit rock bottom in 2008, when 500 billion percent inflation drove people to support the challenge of Western-backed former union leader Morgan Tsvangirai.Facing defeat in a presidential run-off, Mugabe resorted to violence, forcing Tsvangirai to withdraw after scores of his supporters were killed by ZANU-PF thugs.South Africa, Zimbabwe’s neighbor to the south, squeezed the pair into a fractious unity coalition but the compromise belied Mugabe’s grip on power through his continued control of the army, police and secret service.

President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe (R) with his South African counterpart Nelson Mandela on his arrival in the country on December 13, 1998. [Reuters]

As old age crept in and rumours of cancer intensified, his animosity toward Tsvangirai eased and the two men enjoyed weekly meetings over tea and scones, in a nod to Mugabe’s affection for British traditions.On the eve of the 2013 election, Mugabe dismissed cries of autocracy and likened dealing with Tsvangirai to sparring in the ring. “Although we boxed each other, it’s not as hostile as before,” he told reporters.

Even as he spoke, Mugabe’s agents were busy finalising plans to engineer an election victory through manipulation of the voters’ roll, according to the Tsvangirai camp.It was typical of Mugabe’s ability to out-think – and if necessary out-fight – his opponents, a trait that drew grudging respect from even his sternest critics.Writing in a 2007 cable released by WikiLeaks, then-U.S. ambassador to Harare Christopher Dell reflected the views of many: “To give the devil his due, he is a brilliant tactician.”

By Reuters

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VIDEO: Emotional moment as father breaks down after daughters surprised him with brand new car



Two daughters have left their father shedding tears of joy after surprising him with a brand new car.

In the video which has since gone viral from Thursday, March 26, the two women are seen presenting a gift box containing the car keys to their daddy.


Sweet emotional moment as daughters surprise their dad with brand new carDad presented with keys to his new car in a gift box. Photo: Screengrab
Source: UGC

The old man was led out by his daughters and other members of the family following close to where the new machine had been parked.

He could not believe his eyes on seeing what his lovely ones had gifted him and he broke down.

The detailed and emotional video was shared on Facebook by one Fanelesibonge Ndlovu Author.

According to the video, the lovely ladies were excited as they presented their dad with the new Toyota Hilux.

As they walked him to the home garage, they sang gospel songs thanking God.

Sweet emotional moment as daughters surprise their dad with brand new carFather breaks down after receiving a brand new car from his daughters. Photo: Screengrab
Source: UGC

He gave each of the two daughters a fatherly hug to appreciate their efforts in upgrading his car.

Of course, he had to try the new ride to see if all was working and he was very happy when the car went roaring.

Two Daughters Bought Their Father A Brand New Car

Two Amazing Daughters Bought Their Father A Brand New Car As A Gift For Raising Them.This is inspiring!

Posted by Fanelesibonge Ndlovu Author on Wednesday, March 25, 2020

It was such an emotional moment as the two women recorded their father enjoying his newly acquired machine.

READ ALSO:   PHOTOS: Why Mugabe’s family kept close eye on former president’s remains

The video attracted a lot of attention online with many people praising the young ladies for the good deed.

By Tuko

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Suzanna Owiyo bashed for supporting police brutality



Suzanna Owiyo has been on the receiving end since Friday night after supporting the police during the enforcement of curfew.

In a tweet that she later deleted, Suzanna expressed her displeasure with Kenyans and termed them as ‘vichwa ngumu’.

“We are not at war, yes but at times policemen/women are forced to go hard on Wanjiku simply because of Tuko Vichwa ngumu’. Plan yourself not to be caught up on the wrong side of the law. Your safety is important as well as your health. Can we all have an understanding here?” she wrote.

Her sentiments rubbed netizens the wrong way more so after videos were shared of how police officers unleashed terror on hapless citizens on the first night of the curfew that was ordered by President Uhuru Kenyatta.

The 10-hour daily restriction running between 7 pm and 5 am took effect on Friday and is part of the government’s measures to combat the spread of coronavirus.

Here is what people thought about Kenyan UNEP Goodwill Ambassador:

Jacky Habib said, “How in the world are you a UN goodwill ambassador and yet you’re endorsing police violence? You should be ashamed.”

Steve Ogolla commented, “It’s so sad to see Suzzana Owiyo struggling to fit in. But she struggles the wrong way. We will be here to defend her when brutality catches up with her.”

READ ALSO:   Robert Mugabe's most famous quotes

Marira Eugene posted, “You saw that woman at Likoni who had a seizure in the commotion right? It was 5:00 pm, what do you think she would say if she saw this tweet? Just bc you can afford to stay at home doesn’t mean you do PR for rogue police, you’re a national figure, shame on you #CurfewKenya.”

Alamin kimathi wrote, “Sad to part company here with one of my fav singers @SuzannaOwiyo like I did with my friend David Makali. I can’t take views that glorify #PoliceBrutality while sucking up to privilege and the state or whatever. This I’m doing to anyone else of their ilk going forward. Kwaheri.”

Oyier Nemia tweeted, “Some Kenyans like Suzanna owiyo who have stocked their deep freezer with months supplies of food think Kenyans who go out to fend for their families are kichwa ngumu. 75% of Kenyans would sleep hungry if they stayed home for 2 days#TeargasOnNRG Kibra #PoliceBrutality.”


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Royal Media Services employees suffer huge Salary Cuts, scale down as Coronavirus Crisis Bites



Royal Media Services (RMS) has notified all its employees of a plan to reduce their gross salary by 20-30 per cent due to adverse economic effect posed by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

In a memo addressed to all members of staff dated March 27, RMS Group Managing Director Wachira Waruru stated that the “temporary” deductions will come into effect from April 1, 2020.

Waruru, however, noted that the salary cuts will be based on the employees’ job levels.

“The unprecedented outbreak of the coronavirus in the world and Kenya, in particular, has had serious repercussions on businesses, including ours. This reality necessitates that we take difficult but necessary measures to see us through this period, ” the memo reads in part.

“…Each staff will be issued with their individual letter through their supervisor. This reduction is temporary and will be reversed when things return to normal.”

RMS further announced that some of the employees will be forced to take leave as the company  scales down operations until the situation normalizes.

“Media being an essential service, a scaled-down operation will continue with minimal staff, ” said Waruru.

“The Directors will communicate the names of the members of staff who will be working on a shift system. In order to reduce exposure, all other staff will proceed to take their accrued leave and if exhausted, leave in advance until further notice.”

READ ALSO:   Robert Mugabe's most famous quotes

The media boss urged the employees to take the decision positively.

“Though the above measures are hard and drastic, we urge all to take this move positively. Our commitment is to ensure that staff are able to meet their needs during this very difficult time, ” said Waruru.

“While on leave, kindly ensure that you follow the government directives to observe hygiene and social distancing protocols. Kindly keep all your lines of communication open should there be need to recall you Our different support teams will be available to anyone who needs help whether at work or from home.”

He added, “We will constantly review all or some of these measures as the situation dictates and advice accordingly.”

The James Macharia-owned media house runs two TV stations, Citizen TV and Inooro TV and a number of Radio stations including popular Radio Citizen.

The media industry has in the recent past been hit hard following the exit of betting firms, SportPesa and Betin, from the Kenyan market — the media industry heavily relied on the sporting companies for revenue.

-Kahawa Tungu

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