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Obituary: The life and times of Robert Mugabe

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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:   Robert Mugabe's most famous quotes
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:   PHOTOS: Why Mugabe’s family kept close eye on former president’s remains

NO CHALLENGES

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.

ROCK BOTTOM

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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Business

VIDEO: Raila declares his wealth on National TV, says he is worth Shs 2Billion

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ODM leader Raila Odinga has revealed that the Odinga family is worth Sh2 billion, denying claims that the family has exploited its big influence in politics to make a huge financial fortune.

The former Prime Minister further denied claims that the ongoing Building Bridges Initiative consultative forums have cost the taxpayer Sh10 billion.

The ODM leader clarified that the Odinga family wealth is more in terms of properties the family has acquired over time and the shares they have invested in several companies in the country.

“I am not rich. I am just about Sh2 billion which we own collectively as the Odinga family,” he said, when challenged to declare his wealth.

“The wealth is in terms of property and investment in shares,” he added, pointing that the family is doing anything for the benefit of the People of Kenya and not the luo community.

He denied suggestions that the Odinga family had used its influence to create wealthy for themselves, pointing out that his siblings, just like other Kenyans, are earning salaries from their jibs which they got competitively.

“Our father Odinga died a poor man. There is nothing we inherited from him as his children. It must be remembered that throughout his life that he was in government for only two and half years.”

READ ALSO:   Why Mugabe spent his last days in one of the best hospitals in Asia

He was speaking on Sunday during a live interview with the NTV’s Consulting editor Joseph Warungu at his Karen home.

The interview touched on Mr Odinga’s relationship with DP William Ruto, the relationship between the Odingas and Kenyattas, the ongoing debate on the Building Bridges Initiative and his role in the politics beyond 2022.

However, the former PM, who has emerged as the public face of the BBI campaigns, took on the media which he accused of developing a counter narrative on the process, especially the cost incurred so far on the BBI process since it started early last year.

IN particular, he appeared pricked by suggestions that the process has so far gobbled up to Sh10 billion, which he said was propaganda propagated by the media to demonise the process.

“Where is this Sh10 billion,” he asked Mr Warungu, even as he appeared to be agitated. “Who has spent this money and where is it coming from?”

“I sometimes think the media should be bold enough to explain where they get this kind of information of figures from.”

He insisted that the BBI regional campaigns have been cheap as they only require a podium and a public address system.

“People will come on their own as they don’t need to be bused to the venues.”

READ ALSO:   Why Britain is not mourning Mugabe

On Mr Ruto, the former PM said he had no personal problem but revealed that he does not like the DP’s modes operandi, especially in terms of the huge amounts of money he donates to fund raisers every weekend.

He also rejected claims that BBI is an enterprise whose purpose is to sideline Mr Ruto or that he is interfering in decision making in both Jubilee and government.

“I am not in government and therefore the question of interfering does not arise,” he said, dismissing assertion that he maintains a great influence in the manner in which President Kenyatta makes decisions.

“I don’t know about influence because I don’t make decisions in government. In fact I don’t discuss government issues or Jubilee party with the President because he is competent to make such decisions.”

The two were members of ODM during the grand coalition government of between 2008/13 but fell out over the issues related to the indictments related to the 2007/08 post elections issued by the international criminal court.

During the interview Mr Odinga revealed they had fallen out after he, as PM, tried to suspend Mr Ruto over the scandal involving the sale of maize from the National Cereals and Produce Board.

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

A probe conducted by an audit firm Price Waterhouse had indicted Mr Ruto, then Agriculture Minister, for the scandal in which Mr Ruto had authorized the NCPB to dish out maize to MPs friendly to him who later sold to the Millers, triggering the rise of retail price of maize flour.

However, the suspension was rejected by President Kibaki on the account that he had not been consulted.

“Our relationship is cordial only that he does things that are contrary the known ways of doings things,” he said,

He said the large contributions the DP makes are dubious and only corrupts the national politics.

-Nation.co.ke

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Lifestyle

Rashid Abdalla in mourning

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Lulu Hassan’s husband Rashid Abdalla has remembered his late father in a touching post.

The father of three shared an old photo of him, his dad and siblings and captioned it

#sisemikitu THE TURNING TIDE. INSHALLAH SEE YOU IN PARADISE DAD. #imissyou #theredindian #smilewiththeangels #continuerestinginpeace.

Rashid Abdalla
Rashid Abdalla with his late father and siblings

Apart from Rashid Abdalla, other celebrities who’ve lost their fathers include; Kambua, Timeless Noel, Kanze Dena, Daddy Owen, Esther Wahome just to mention but a few.

Gospel artiste cum pastor Esther Wahome lost her father to cancer in July last year and in a lengthy post, she wrote,

RIP my loving dad EV. William Wahome Gikonyo
My dad,my mentor, my spiritual cover, my prophet, my friend, my greatest fan,my cheer leader.
Today is the second day since you were transferred to heaven, and though I know you are in a better place, the pain is unbearable.
You taught me the word, you taught me to be a prayer warrior,you made me understand my kingdom mandate, you taught me music, you taught me how to proclaim and possess all that is my portion, you taught me how to pull down strongholds, you taught me how to take charge! You taught me resilience, You taught me kingdom mysteries, You raised a kingdom giant in me!!!
You released a grace for nations upon me, and nations and kings received me.
Though we have walked a painful journey this year as you battled cancer, I never heard you complain a single time!! you said God is great and good all the time, and those were the words you uttered with your last breath
Iam grateful to have spoken to you in your last minute,to have been there holding you, and to have had you pass on a mantle to me, before you crossed over.
Rest in Paradise great revivalist. RIP Baba Esther Wahome, as you preferred to be called.
RIP EV. William Wahome Gikonyo.

By Mpasho

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

VIDEO: Pomp and colour as Real Estate Developer ‘Mahiga Homes Ltd’ celebrates 2nd Anniversary

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ADVERTISER’S MESSAGE: Your number one most trusted real estate developer in East and Central Africa Mahiga homes Ltd celebrated 2nd anniversary in pomp and colour, the event was marked with jubilation as every speaker praised the developer for the great achievements in just two years.

The developer has built and handed over 4 housing projects namely;

*Cornerstone I Estate
*Cornerstone III Estate
*Cornerstone IV Estate
*Kamulu Cornerstone Gardens
The celebrations were attended by several guests and clients who have invested with Mahiga homes.
Kikuyu Diaspora Media CEO Jeremy Damaris and Finance Director Josephine Wairimu graced the event.

Jeremy Damaris had this to say, ‘when Ruhiu told me that he has a project I listened to him and trusted him as my brother, its two years down the line and have never heard any complains from any client.
Mahiga homes Directors thanked and appreciated all the clients from believing in the developer.

Here are the current affordable houses that the developer is selling,
Rockvilla Annex located just 400 meters off tarmac at Joska long kangundo road, Kangundo rd is under construction to upgrade to dual carriageway,Spacious 3 bedroom bungalows master ensuite on plot size 40 by 80 kes 3.95m deposit kes 1.6m then pay the balance in 12 monthly instalments.

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

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