Robert Mugabe – Long-time President of Zimbabwe Dies


Robert Mugabe , Zimbabwe's long-time ex-president has died at the age of 95. He ruled the African nation for almost 40 years.

Mugabe was born in the former British colony of Rhodesia. From the 1960s onward  Mugabe led the fight for the colony's independence.  After being in prison for over a decade the militant Robert Mugabe organised a rebel movement to fight against the white government.

In 1980 Rhodesia won its independence from the UK and became Zimbabwe. In the first free elections, Robert Mugabe scored an overwhelming victory and became the country's first president.

In the years that followed, the new nation prospered. Mugabe's government  introduced social reforms, improved health care and education. As time went on Mugabe gained more and more power and became an authoritarian leader, who did not share power with others. He gradually removed politicians who challenged him.

In 2000 Mugabe started a  controversial land reform programme. Land was taken away from thousands of white farmers and given to blacks. The country grew from a food-exporting nation to a nation relying on foreign aid. Political and economic chaos followed, and Mugabe was criticised for his policies.



In 2009 Mugabe was forced to share power with a prime minister. In his final years he had tried to set up his wife Grace as  his successor. In 2017, the army forced Mugabe to give up the presidency and resign.

Shortly after Robert Mugabe died, President Mnangagwa declared him a national hero.




Related Topics



  • authoritarian leader = a person who controls everything and does not let anyone else have power
  • challenge = to be against someone
  • controversial = much-discussed; many people have other opinions about a topic
  • decade= ten years
  • declare = here: to give someone an official title
  • election = when people choose someone for an official position
  • force = to make someone do something they don't want to do
  • foreign aid = money and help that comes from other countries
  • former = in the past
  • gain = get
  • government = group of people who rule a state
  • gradually = slowly
  • health care = what the government does to look after people's health
  • improve = to make better
  • independence = to become free from a country that has controlled you for a long time
  • militant = aggressive , willing to use violence
  • onward = continuing
  • overwhelming = very large or great
  • policy = the way a government does certain things
  • prosper = here: to be successful and grow stronger
  • rebel movement = group of people who want to get rid of the government
  • rely = need, depend on
  • remove = to get rid of
  • resign = to leave the government
  • rule = here: to be the leader of a country
  • score = here: win
  • set up = install, organise
  • share = give to others
  • social reform = to pass laws that make the lives of poorer people better
  • successor = the person who is supposed to take his job