Robert Mugabe, the guerrilla leader who led Zimbabwe to independence in 1980, died aged 95 on Friday, two years after the army brought an ignominious end to almost four decades of his iron-fisted rule.
Following are reactions to his death from Zimbabwe and around the world.
- Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa, on Twitter
“Cde (Comrade) Mugabe was an icon of liberation, a pan-Africanist who dedicated his life to the emancipation and empowerment of his people. His contribution to the history of our nation and continent will never be forgotten.”
- South African President Cyril Ramaphosa
“South Africans join the people and government of Zimbabwe in mourning the passing of a liberation fighter and champion of Africa’s cause against colonialism.
“Under President Mugabe’s leadership, Zimbabwe’s sustained and valiant struggle against colonialism inspired our own struggle against apartheid and built in us the hope that one day South Africa too would be free.
“During the decades of our own struggle, Zimbabwe’s liberation movement supported our own liberation movement to fight oppression on multiple fronts. After Zimbabwe achieved independence, the apartheid state brutalized and violated Zimbabwe as punishment for supporting our own struggle.
“Many Zimbabweans paid with their lives so that we could be free. We will never forget or dishonour this sacrifice and solidarity.”
- Zimbabwean opposition senator and rights lawyer David Coltart
“He was a colossus on the Zimbabwean stage & his enduring positive legacy will be his role in ending white minority rule & expanding a quality education to all Zimbabweans.”
- Nelson Chamisa, leader of Zimbabwe’s main opposition party the Movement For Democratic Change
“My condolences to the Mugabe family and Africa for the passing on of Zimbabwe’s founding President. This is a dark moment for the family because a giant among them has fallen. May the lord comfort them.
“Even though I and our party, the MDC, and the Zimbabwean people had great political differences with the late former President during his tenure in office, and disagreed for decades, we recognize his contribution made during his lifetime as a nation’s founding President.
“There’s so much to say for a life of 95 years and national leadership spanning over 37 years but in the true spirit of Ubuntu, we would like to give this moment to mourning but there will be time for greater reflection.”
- Julius Malema, leader of radical left South African opposition party the Economic Freedom Fighters
“I’m saddened by the passing of our martyr & giant of the African Revolution (comrade) President Robert Mugabe. Let’s continue to fight & protect his legacy. We must not allow our enemies to tell us how to remember him; we know our heroes.
“May his soul rest in revolutionary peace.”
- Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang
Geng said Mugabe was an outstanding liberation movement leader and statesman for Zimbabwe who had defended his country’s independence, opposed foreign interference and promoted good cooperation with China.
“We are deeply saddened by his passing and express sincere sympathies to the Zimbabwean people, government and to Mr Mugabe’s family.”
- Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta
“In this moment of sorrow, my thoughts and prayers go out to his family, his relatives and the people of Zimbabwe who, for many years, he served with commitment and dedication.
“Words cannot convey the magnitude of the loss as former President Mugabe was an elder statesman, a freedom fighter and a Pan-Africanist who played a major role in shaping the interests of the continent ..a man of courage who was never afraid to fight for what he believed in even when it was not popular.”
President Kenyatta said termed Mugabe a beacon of Africa’s liberation struggle, adding, “He spent a lifetime challenging Africa to find its place and voice among the Community of Nations.”
- Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza, on Twitter
He said Mugabe “was a valiant artisan of Pan-Africanism.”
President John Magufuli of Tanzania
In a brief tweet said “Africa has lost one of its brave, courageous pan Africanist who rejected colonialism in practice.”
The chairperson of the AU Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat
“It is with immense sadness that I learnt of the passing of Zimbabwe’s former president Robert Mugabe. My sincere condolences to his family and the Zimbabwean people as we mourn an iconic liberation fighter and Pan-Africanist in the struggle for liberation and continental integration”.
- Additional reporting by Fred Oluoch