The recently deposed dictator of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe, has died aged 95.
Mr. Mugabe spent 37 years in power, during which time he managed to decimate the Zimbabwean economy to the point of collapse through the illegal seizure and redistribution of farmland.
Beginning his political career as a Marxist revolutionary what was then the self-governing British colony of Southern Rhodesia, Mugabe went on to seize power and, over time, began to function like a despotic dictator. He ruled with an iron fist; rigging elections and violently subduing any political challenge to his ruling party, Zanu-PF.
Throughout his diabolical reign, Mugabe’s loyal associates were gifted with farmland stolen from working farmers and party officials generously lined their pockets by looting the country’s wealth of natural resources.
Soon, Zimbabwe was plunged into economic chaos, racial conflict and international isolation. At the peak of its financial collapse, in mid-November 2008, the country’s rate of inflation reached a staggering 79.6 billion percent month-on-month.
However, Mugabe, true to character, refused to accept that the blame for Zimbabwe’s economic ruin fell squarely upon him. Quashing any notion of resignation, he retained a “strong man” image and refused to leave political office. He famously said that “only God” could remove him from his position of power.
Indeed, while ruthlessly persecuting Christians in the country, Mugabe viewed himself as something of a Christ-like figure — the only man fit for the job of saving his country, despite a shambolic track-record.
Responding to premature rumors of his death in 2012, he said:
“I have died many times. That’s where I have beaten Christ. Christ died once and resurrected once. I have died and resurrected and I don’t know how many times I will die and resurrect.”
Insistent that his decades-long campaign of inciting violence against white farmers was justifiable to protect and develop his own country, Mugabe even called himself the “Hitler of the time.”
“This Hitler has only one objective, justice for his own people, sovereignty for his people, recognition of the independence of his people,” he added. “If that is Hitler, then let me be a Hitler tenfold.”
Mugabe was finally ousted after being seized by Zimbabwe’s military in 2017 and forced to resign. Concerns were raised among Zanu-PF officials after it became apparent that his wife, Grace Mugabe, was being prepared to succeed him. Nicknamed “Gucci Grace,” Mugabe’s spouse had become infamous for her lavish lifestyle and relentless spending of state funds.
Despite the fact that her country was languishing in economic ruin at the time, in 2003 Grace was reported to have spent some $120,000 in a single shopping trip to Paris. There is speculation that Grace could now become the subject of a criminal investigation into how she acquired such staggering wealth as First Lady.
Robert Mugabe eventually made his way to Singapore to receive treatment for his ailing health, where he subsequently died early on September 6.
Faithwire spoke to Mike Campbell Foundation Executive Director, Ben Freeth, for his reaction to Mugabe’s death. A committed Christian, Ben is a Zimbabwean farmer and human rights activist who, in 2008, sued the government of Robert Mugabe for evicting the Freeth/Campbell family from their land — during the process, Ben almost died after being brutally attacked by Mugabe’s henchmen.
“His legacy is unfortunately largely a legacy of violence, injustice, fear and greed,” Freeth told Faithwire, before noting that the current president, Zanu-PF’s Emmerson Mnangagwa, is not much better. “His successor was his key enforcer for the last 40 or even 50 years,” Freeth explained. “He has continued in the same vein as Mugabe.”
Incredibly, Ben’s family won their case, with a Southern African Development Community (SADC) court ruling that Mugabe’s land repossessions were enforced on a racial basis and were therefore in violation of the SADC’s principles of human rights.
The government ignored the ruling and withdrew from SADC — just a year later, Mugabe’s supporters stormed Ben’s farm, Mount Carmel, and burned the entire place to the ground.
Ben remains in Zimbabwe and continues to fight for equality and fairness, while also helping farming communities get back on their feet.
Now, more than ever, Freeth said his country needs prayer.
“Principally we need prayer for justice in Zimbabwe,” he told Faithwire. “Currently the culture of impunity, which has prevailed for so long, has become entrenched. As a result, greed and corruption have become endemic and people and their property are not protected.”
“We need prayer for a total overhaul of the Judges and the justice system – and for the church to take its place with courage in being at the forefront in pushing for justice and righteousness in the nation.”
You can learn more about Ben’s work by keeping up with the Mike Campbell Foundation Facebook page here.