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Former Zimbabwe president dies aged 95

The BBC reported, citing Mugabe’s family, that he had died after battling ill health.

Mugabe was ousted from power in a military coup in November 2017, ending his three-decade reign.

While the West regards the 94-year-old as an autocrat, some in Africa saw him as an anti-colonial champion.

Educated and urbane, Mugabe came to power after seven years of a liberation bush war. But nearly four decades after independence in 1980, many saw him as power-obsessed and willing to unleash death squads, rig elections and trash the economy in the relentless pursuit of control.

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. Several million Zimbabweans fled, mostly to South Africa.

An unapologetic Mugabe portrayed himself as a radical African nationalist competing against racist and imperialist forces in Washington and London.

On November 14, Mugabe’s grasp on Zimbabwe was weakened when the army seized power. A week before, Mugabe sacked his vice president Mnangagwa, ZANU-PF’s favourite to succeed him, to smooth a path to the presidency for his 52-year-old wife Grace.

The country’s parliament began impeachment proceedings against the then 93-year-old leader, after the ruling ZANU-PF party fired him as its leader following nearly four decades in charge.

He signed a short letter of resignation to parliament speaker Jacob Mudenda that was read out to lawmakers on November 21.

Wild celebrations broke out in parliament when Mugabe’s resignation was announced. People in the capital Harare danced and cheered as they heard the news.

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