Mugabe to turn 93 years old

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Zimbabwe’s President, Robert Mugabe, is turning 93 next Tuesday and he is still going strong.

In 2018, his country will go to the polls and he is ZANU-PF‘s sole Presidential candidate and by then he will be 94-years-old.

If he wins, it will be Mugabe’s last tenure as the President of Zimbabwe. Mugabe signed a new Constitution into law in May 2012 that limited presidential term to two.

He is the only ruler the Southern African nation has known since independence from Britain in 1980.

Born in 1924 in Kutama, his political career came to prominence in 1960 with the formation of the National Democratic Party.

A teacher by profession, Mugabe was jailed in 1964 for 10 years for fighting white minority rule.

After his release he went into exile in Mozambique, team up with Joshua Nkomo and formed the Patriotic Front.

The turning point in the seven year war came when Mugabe and Nkomo agreed to attend talks convened by the British government.

This led to the Lancaster House Agreement which oversaw the transition to majority rule. After his election in 1980, Mugabe offered forgiveness and reconciliation.

Soon thereafter, he had a fall out with Joshua Nkomo. In 1983 Mugabe crushed a rebellion by ex-ZAPU guerrillas in Matabeleland.

And government forces were accused of killing thousands of civilians.

Access to land by Zimbabweans remained an achilles heel to President Mugabe’s rule

Zimbabwe’s land reform never got off the ground and a combination of state debt and cash-shortages forced Mugabe to act.

He pushed legislation through parliament allowing the seizure of more than half the white-owned farms.

And he consequently faced a barrage of western criticism and sanctions.

In as much as he can be blamed for his country’s misfortune, the spirit of the Lancaster house settlement was never fulfilled.

An agreement on financing the acquisition of land by black people was never implemented by London.

Access to land by Zimbabweans remained an achilles heel to President Mugabe’s rule.

While Western leaders have freely criticised Mugabe, few African leaders have publicly condemned the veteran of Africa’s liberation struggle.

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– By SABC TV News desk