Robert Mugabe

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Robert Mugabe

Robert Gabriel Mugabe (born 21 February 1924) is a Zimbabwean politician. He was originally a teacher and academic but was involved in campaigning for majority rule in the then Southern Rhodesia in the early 1960s as publicity secretary of the Zimbabwe African People's Union. He broke away with Ndabiningi Sithole to form the Zimbabwe African National Union in 1963. As an African nationalist he was interned by the Rhodesian government in 1964 and remained in prison for ten years. On his release he went into exile where he became a commander in the 'Second Chimurenga' war and participated with Joshua Nkomo in the Patriotic Front political alliance.

After the Lancaster House Agreement of 1979, Mugabe led ZANU-PF to victory in elections in 1980 and became the first Prime Minister of Zimbabwe. He has been in power ever since, since 1987 as executive President. Initially praised for trying to accommodate the white population, he moved to deprive his rival Nkomo of a power base and in 1987 Nkomo's PF-ZAPU was forced to merge with ZANU-PF, effectively removing any credible opposition. In the late 1990s economic problems led to a serious challenge through the emergence of the Movement for Democratic Change as an opposition party; elections in which the MDC were defeated have been challenged by some international observers as tainted by intimidation. A need to ensure his popularity with his grassroots supporters led him to start moves to seize farms owned by white farmers in order to achieve land reform. International sanctions were placed on Zimbabwe by the European Union and United States over these two issues.



  • Africa must revert to what it was before the imperialists divided it. These are artificial divisions which we, in our pan-African concept will seek to remove.
    • "African threat to ban Sir Roy Welensky", The Times, 10 April 1962, p. 10.
    • Speech at a meeting in Salisbury, Southern Rhodesia, 9 April 1962.
  • It may be necessary to use methods other than constitutional ones.
    • "ZAPU deposes Mr. Nkomo as Leader", The Times, 9 July 1962, p. 9.
    • Remarks to the press, 8 July 1962, concerning the future strategy of ZAPU in achieving majority rule.


  • Our votes must go together with our guns. After all, any vote we shall have, shall have been the product of the gun. The gun which produces the vote should remain its security officer – its guarantor. The people's votes and the people's guns are always inseparable twins.
    • Martin Meredith, "Our Votes, Our Guns: Robert Mugabe and the Tragedy of Zimbabwe".
    • Said in 1976 while a leading commander of the Zimbabwe African National Liberation Army.


  • Stay with us, please remain in this country and constitute a nation based on national unity.
    • BBC News 'On This Day'
    • A plea to the white population of Zimbabwe in a speech at a ZANU-PF rally, 27 January 1980.
  • I wish to assure you that there can never be any return to the state of armed conflict which existed before our commitment to peace and the democratic process of election under the Lancaster House agreement.


  • We are still exchanging blows with the British government. They are using gay gangsters. Each time I pass through London, the gangster regime of Blair `expresses its dismay'.
    • Chimaima Banda, "Gays seeking sexual asylum in South Africa", The Independent, 6 November 1999, p. 18.
    • A reference to an incident on 30 October 1999 when the human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell attempted a citizens' arrest on Mugabe during a visit to London.


  • Our party must continue to strike fear in the heart of the white man, our real enemy!
    • "Whites are real enemy, warns Mugabe", Irish Times, 15 December 2000, p. 11.
    • Speech to ZANU-PF congress, Harare, 14 December 2000.
  • The white man is not indigenous to Africa. Africa is for Africans. Zimbabwe is for Zimbabweans.
    • ibid.


  • So, Blair keep your England, and let me keep my Zimbabwe.
    • John Battersby, Andrew Grice, "Anti-West anger at summit as Mugabe rounds on Blair", The Independent, 3 September 2002, p. 1.
    • Speech at the Earth Summit in Johannesburg, 2 September 2002.


Robert Mugabe
  • Let Blair and the British government take note and listen. Zimbabwe is for Zimbabweans. Our people are overjoyed, the land is ours. We are now the rulers and owners of Zimbabwe.
    • Michael White, Andrew Meldrum, "Commonwealth leaders delay decision on defiant Mugabe", The Guardian, 6 December 2003, p. 2.
    • Speech to ZANU-PF Congress, 5 December 2003.
  • If the choice was made for us, one for us to lose our sovereignty and become a member of the Commonwealth or to remain with our sovereignty and lose membership of the Commonwealth, then I would say, then let the Commonwealth go. What is it to us? Our people are overjoyed, the land is ours. We are now the rulers and owners of Zimbabwe.
    • ibid.
  • The Commonwealth is a mere club, but it has become like an 'Animal Farm' where some members are more equal than others. How can Blair claim to regulate and direct events and still say all of us are equals?
    • Richard Dowden, "Mugabe: Commonwealth is 'Animal Farm'", Independent on Sunday, 7 December 2003.
    • Speech to ZANU-PF Congress, 6 December 2003.


  • We are now being coerced to accept and believe that a new political-cum-religious doctrine has arisen, namely that there is but one political God, George W Bush, and Tony Blair is his prophet.


  • We cannot have a situation where people decide to sit in places not allowed and when police remove them they say no. We can’t have that. That is a revolt to the system. Some are crying that they were beaten. Yes you will be thoroughly beaten. When the police say move you move. If you don’t move, you invite the police to use force.
    • Addressing delegates at the Zimbabwe embassy in Cairo, Egypt, on the arrest, torture and mistreatment of 15 trade union activists in Zimbabwe, 23 September 2006.


  • When they criticise the government when it tries to prevent violence and punish perpetrators of that violence we take the position that they can go hang.
  • Mr Bush, Mr. Blair and now Mr Brown's sense of human rights precludes our people's right to their God-given resources, which in their view must be controlled by their kith and kin. I am termed dictator because I have rejected this supremacist view and frustrated the neo-colonialists. [2]
  • Let Mr. Bush read history correctly. Let him realise that both personally and in his representative capacity as the current President of the United States, he stands for this "civilisation" which occupied, which colonised, which incarcerated, which killed. He has much to atone for and very little to lecture us on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. His hands drip with innocent blood of many nationalities. [3]
  • He imprisons and tortures at Guantanamo. He imprisoned and tortured at Abu Ghraib. He has secret torture chambers in Europe. Yes, he imprisons even here in the United States, with his jails carrying more blacks than his universities can ever enroll. He even suspends the provisions of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights. Take Guantanamo for example; at that concentration camp international law does not apply. The national laws of the people there do not apply. Laws of the United States of America do not apply. Only Bush's law applies. Can the international community accept being lectured by this man on the provisions of the universal declaration of human rights? Definitely not! [4]
  • Our economy is a hundred times better, than the average African economy. Outside South Africa, what country is [as good as] Zimbabwe?...What is lacking now are goods on the shelves - that is all.


  • President Mugabe is like a lion — when he roars, he leaves some quotable quotes that linger in the mind for a very long time.
    • "Quotable quotes from the President", Sunday Mail (Harare), 17 December 2006.

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