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Robert Mugabe, former president of Zimbabwe, dies at the age of 95

International News from World: The Zimbabwean independence icon transformed into an authoritarian leader, Robert Mugabe, has died at the age of 95.

Since April, Mr. Mugabe has received therapy at a hospital in Singapore. After 37 years in power, he was ousted in a military coup in 2017.

The former president was commended for extending the black majority’s access to health and education.

But the brutal repression of his political rivals and the financial ruin of Zimbabwe marked years later. His successor, Emmerson Mnangagwa, called Mr. Mugabe “an icon of liberation” and expressed his “most sorrow.” He was born in what was then Rhodesia, a British colony run by its white minority, on 21 February 1924.

He was jailed for more than a decade without trial after criticizing the Rhodesia government in 1964.

He was elected chairman of the Zimbabwe African National Union (Zanu), of which he was a founding member, while still in prison in 1973. Once released, he headed for Mozambique, from where he directed guerrilla raids to Rhodesia, but he was also considered a qualified negotiator.

The new autonomous Republic of Zimbabwe led in political contracts to end the crisis.

Mr. Mugabe obtained an overwhelming win in the republic’s first election in 1980 with his elevated profile in the independence movement.

But global views have sown over his decades in authority, with more and more critics depicting Mr. Mugabe as a dictator. He died away from home, bitter, solitary, and humiliated— an epic life with the shabbiest endings.

Robert Mugabe embodied the fight of Africa against colonialism in all its rage and failures.

He was a brave politician, jailed for daring to challenge the rule of the white minority. One of the most promising countries on the continent was the nation he lastly led to independence, and Zimbabwe flourished more or less for years. But Mr. Mugabe lost his nerve when the economy collapsed. He has introduced a disastrous program of land reform. Zimbabwe slipped rapidly into hyperinflation, isolation, and political chaos.

The safety forces held Mr. Mugabe and his Zanu-PF party in power, mostly by terror. But the military ultimately turned against him, pushing him out.

Few countries were ever so bound to one person, so shackled. Mugabe has been Zimbabwe for centuries: a cruel, bitter, sometimes charming guy-who helped to destroy the territory he loved.

He confiscated property from white owners in 2000 and used violent militias during an election in 2008 to silence his political rivals.

He stated famously that he could be removed from office by God alone. In 2009, in the midst of economic collapse, he was compelled into sharing authority by installing rival Morgan Tsvangirai as prime minister.

But in 2017, in the midst of worries about his wife Grace being groomed as his successor, the military-his longtime ally-turned against the president and compelled him to step down. Deputy Information Minister Energy Mutodi, of the Zanu-PF party of Mr. Mugabe, informed the BBC that his death had “very saddened” the party.

“He’s a guy who has believed in himself, he’s a guy who has believed in what he’s done, and he’s a guy who’s been very assertive in what he’s said.

However, not everybody agreed.

George Walden, one of the British negotiators of the 1979 Lancaster House Agreement that finished the rule of the white minority, said that Mr. Mugabe was a “real monster.”

The deal “went quite well… and looked nice for a while,” but later Mr. Mugabe became “a grossly corrupt, cruel dictator,” he said.

Zimbabwean Senator David Coltart, once labeled by Mr. Mugabe as “an enemy of the state,” said that his legacy was overshadowed as a political instrument by his commitment to violence.