Robert Mugabe, who ruled Zimbabwe with an iron fist from 1980 to 2017, has died aged 95, the country’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa announced on Friday September 6th. The following are reactions to his death from Zimbabwe and around the world.
Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa paid attribute to Mugabe who “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." Mnangagwa said on Twitter.
"He was a colossus on the Zimbabwean stage and his enduring positive legacy will be his role in ending white minority rule and expanding a quality education to all Zimbabweans." Zimbabwean opposition senator and rights lawyer David Coltart said on Twitter.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said: “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 brutalised and violated Zimbabwe as punishment for supporting our own struggle,” Ramaphosa said.
China also paid tribute to Zimbabwe's former leader Mugabe following Friday’s announcement, saying he was an "outstanding national liberation movement leader and statesman for Zimbabwe who had defended his country's independence, opposed foreign interference and promoted good cooperation with China,” Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang said.
“We are deeply saddened by his passing and express sincere sympathies to the Zimbabwean people (and their) government and to Mr. Mugabe's family.” he added.
"We express our condolences to those who mourn Robert Mugabe's death. However, Zimbabweans suffered for too long as a result of Mugabe's autocratic role," Britain's foreign ministry said in a statement.
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta deplored the death of Mugabe saying: "In this moment of sorrow, my thoughts and prayers go out to his family, his relatives and the people of Zimbabwe whom, for many years, he served with commitment and dedication.”
Kenyatta has paid homage to the Zimbabwe ex-president, saying he 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.”
Tanzanian President John Magufuli, has paid tribute to Mugabe adding “Africa has lost one of its bravest and Pan-Africanist leaders, who led by example in opposing colonialism.”
Zambian President Edgar Lungu also regretted the death of Mugabe, “Mugabe will be remembered for his fight for Africa's liberation and for standing up to fearlessly defend a continent he loved ... His place in the annals of Africa's political history is well assured.”
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, said he believes Mugabe's sacrifices, especially in struggling for the political and economic emancipation of his people, “will always be remembered by posterity."
In addition, Zimbabwean Deputy Minister of Information Energy Mutodi, expressed condolences on the death of Mugabe, “Rest in Peace President Robert Mugabe. There is no doubt you were an African icon, a statesman of rare character and a revolutionary,” he said on Twitter.
Mpho Balopi, Secretary General, Botswana Democratic Party, said that Mugabe was one of Africa's most renowned freedom fighters and also one of the founding fathers of what today is known as SADC, the intergovernmental Southern African Development Community, 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,” he said.