Leaders mourn Zimbabwe founding father, Mugabe

Presidents: (L-R) Magufuli, Putin and Kenyatta have all mourned the former Zimbabwean president.

Various leaders have conveyed their sympathies and condolences to the Government and the People of Zimbabwe following the death of former President Robert Gabriel Mugabe, who died Friday, aged 95.

 Mugabe received a glowing tribute particularly from African leaders.

Among others, President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya ordered the flying of national flag half-mast on Saturday and Monday in honour of Robert Mugabe; and declared him an African hero.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa.

“On behalf of the Government and the People of the Republic of Kenya and on my own behalf, I wish to convey our deepest sympathies and condolences to the Government and the People of the Republic of Zimbabwe following the death of former President Robert Gabriel Mugabe,” reads part of a statement by the Kenyan leader.

 “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 African continent.”

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari.

“Indeed, we will remember former President Mugabe as a man of courage who was never afraid to fight for what he believed in even when it was not popular.”

Brave, determined Pan-Africanist

Dr John Magufuli, the President of Tanzania, also conveyed his deepest sympathies and condolences to the people of Zimbabwe.

Magufuli said that Africa has lost one of its most brave, and determined Pan-Africanists who stood firmly against colonialists.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said Mugabe contributed a great deal to Pan-Africanism and to “our struggle for liberation.”

“We remember him as a towering leader of a struggle for the independence of the people of Zimbabwe, but as an outstanding leader on the African continent,” Ramaphosa said, adding that South African people will forever remember Mugabe for his help in the struggle against apartheid.

Earlier, Mugabe’s former deputy Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa, who is now President tweeted that: “It is with the utmost sadness that I announce the passing on of Zimbabwe's founding father and former President, Comrade Robert Mugabe.”

Mnangagwa described Mugabe as “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.”

 Mpho Balopi, Secretary-General, Botswana Democratic Party, said Comrade Mugabe was one of Africa's most renowned freedom fighters and also one of the founding fathers of what is today known as the intergovernmental Southern African Development Community (SADC), whose headquarters are in Botswana.

 “The history of our respective parties' fraternal relations would be incomplete without mention of Uncle Bob, as he was affectionately known. It is beyond any doubt that he leaves an indelible mark on the politics of the region.”

China's foreign ministry issued a statement saying that Mugabe was an outstanding national liberation movement leader and politician of Zimbabwe.

China indicated that throughout his life, Mugabe firmly defended the sovereignty of his country, opposed foreign interference, and actively promoted China-Zimbabwe and China-Africa friendship and cooperation.

 UK prime minister's spokeswoman, said: "There will be mixed emotions in Zimbabwe at today's news. We of course express our condolences to those who mourn but know that for many he was a barrier to a better future. Under his rule the people of Zimbabwe suffered greatly as he impoverished their country and sanctioned the use of violence against them.”

"His resignation in 2017 marked a turning point and we hope that today marks another which allows Zimbabwe to move on from the legacy of its past and become a democratic, prosperous nation that respects the human rights of its citizens," she added.

Russian President Vladimir Putin noted that many important events in contemporary history of Zimbabwe are linked with the name of Robert Mugabe.

According to Putin, Mugabe made a major personal contribution to the struggle for Zimbabwe’s independence and to building institutions of Zimbabwean statehood.

“The people of Russia will remember him as a consistent advocate of developing friendly relations between our countries and a person who had accomplished a great deal to strengthen mutually beneficial bilateral cooperation.”

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari also commiserated with family members, friends and political associates of the political activist who fought for the independence of the country from colonial rule, and lived most of his life in public service.

As noted, President Buhari believes Mugabe's sacrifices, especially in struggling for the political and economic emancipation of his people, “will always be remembered by posterity.”

Raila Amolo Odinga, Kenyan Leader of the Opposition since 2013, said Mugabe was a liberation hero who, like others, made mistakes during his reign.

He tweeted: “I wish to pass my condolences to the people of Zimbabwe following the death of their founding Father, H.E. Robert Mugabe. We join the country in praying for peace and stability at this moment of national grief.”

William Samoei Ruto, the Deputy President of Kenya tweeted: “Condolences to the people of Zimbabwe following the passing on of former President Robert Mugabe. Mugabe was a revolutionary freedom fighter and a liberation hero. He fought for the emancipation of his people and Zimbabwe's independence with courage, resolve and dedication.”

“Mugabe was a Pan-Africanist, who championed the cause of the continent and advanced the ideals of self-determination, mutual respect, prosperity and peace. Rest In Peace.”

Nelson Chamisa, the President of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), the main opposition party in the country, said there is 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.”

Chamisa tweeted: “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 recognise his contribution made during his lifetime as a nation’s founding President.”

 

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