Robert Mugabe Ousted

Protestors in Harare, Zimbabwe, demonstrate against longtime dictator Robert Mugabe
Protestors in Harare, Zimbabwe, demonstrate against longtime dictator Robert Mugabe

Historical Context

Robert Mugabe ruled Zimbabwe with an iron fist for almost 40 years. Emerging as a political leader during the Rhodesian Bush War (Zimbabwe's name under British rule), he served as Prime Minister from 1980 to 1987 and as President from 1987 until his ousting in a military-backed coup in 2017.

Zimbabwe's economy drastically declined under Mugabe's leadership. Once the breadbasket of Africa, unemployment was high and the economy remains one of the poorest in the world. Policies of forcible land reform against white farmers and other economic mismanagement had led to vast inflation and dissent against Mugabe's rule, and in turn led to violent crackdowns against opponents.

Mugabe was 94 when he was ousted, and the question of his succession hung over his government. He and some allies in his ZANU-PF political party had attempted to install his wife, Grace Mugabe, as his successor. This was met with a strong pushback from other factions. On November 6, 2017, the vice president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, was removed from his position, as he was considered a strong opponent of Grace Mugabe and a potential successor in his own right.

This appears to have made the military act. On November 14, the army took control of the broadcasting corporation and key sites in the capital, Harare. Mugabe was placed under house arrest. After days of negotiations, and impeachment proceedings beginning in Parliament, Mugabe finally resigned as President on November 21 and was succeeded by Mnangagwa.

Photo Info


Photographer: Zimbabwean-Eyes
Date taken: November 18, 2017
Location taken: Harare, Zimbabwe

Source: Flickr

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