Buhari, world leaders mourn Mugabe

President Muhammadu Buhari will swear in new ministers on August 21
President Muhammadu Buhari

Nigerian president, Muhammadu Buhari, and leaders across the globe on Friday sent condolences to the people of Zimbabwe over the death of their former president, Robert Mugabe.

Mr Mugabe’s passage at 95 was announced on Friday morning.

The African liberation hero and champion of racial reconciliation, who died in Singapore, was ultimately ousted by his own armed forces in November 2017.

He served as prime minister of Zimbabwe from 1980 to 1987 and then as president from 1987 to 2017.

‘Sad passing’

In a press release sent to PREMIUM TIMES, Mr Buhari acknowledged Mr Mugabe’s sacrifices and struggle for political and economic emancipation.

The statement was issued by Femi Adesina, the President’s spokesperson.

“On behalf of the Federal Government, President Muhammadu Buhari sends condolences to the government and people of Zimbabwe over the passing of the founding father and former President, Robert Mugabe, 95,” the statement said.

“The President also commiserates with family members, friends and political associates of the political activist who fought for the independence of the country from colonial rule, and lived most of his life in public service.

“President Buhari believes Mugabe’s sacrifices, especially in struggling for the political and economic emancipation of his people, will always be remembered by posterity.

“He, however, prayed that the Almighty God will grant the soul of the former president rest and comfort his loved ones,” it added.

Flurry of condolences

Emmersonn Mnangagwa, the incumbent Zimbabwean President, called Mugabe an “icon of liberation”.

“His contribution to the history of our nation and continent will never be forgotten. May his soul rest in eternal peace.”

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South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa said his people joined Zimbabweans 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,” he said.

Mr Ramaphosa added that Zimbabweans paid with their lives so that South Africans could be free. “We will never forget or dishonour this sacrifice and solidarity.”

According to Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, Mr Mugabe was a man of courage “who was never afraid to fight for what he believed in even when it was not popular”.

He said Mr Mugabe was an elder statesman, a freedom fighter and a Pan-Africanist who played a major role in shaping the interests of the African continent.

“In this moment of sorrow, my thoughts and prayers go out to his family, his relatives and the people of Zimbabwe who, for many years, he served with commitment and dedication,” he wrote.

Tanzanian President John Magufuli, said Africa has lost one of its bravest and Pan-Africanist leaders, who led by example in opposing colonialism.

“He was a colossus on the Zimbabwean stage & his enduring positive legacy will be his role in ending white minority rule & expanding a quality education to all Zimbabweans,” Mr Magufuli stated.

Also, the Secretary General, Botswana Democratic Party, Mpho Balopi, said Mr Mugabe was one of Africa’s “most renowned freedom fighters and also one of the founding fathers of what is today 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.”

READ ALSO: Robert Mugabe: as divisive in death as he was in life

Muhoozi Kainerugaba, the Senior Presidential Adviser for Special Operations in Uganda, also mourned the demise of the former Zimbabwe leader.

“Very sad to hear about the passing of Robert Mugabe. Mzee Mugabe was a Liberation struggle icon. His contribution to the defeat of racism and colonialism in Zimbabwe is indisputable. He was a great believer and defender of Africa. May his soul rest in eternal peace,” he said.

Beyond Africa

The China’s foreign ministry noted that the deceased was “an outstanding national liberation movement leader and politician of Zimbabwe”.

“Throughout his life, he has firmly defended the sovereignty of his country, opposed foreign interference, and actively promoted China-Zimbabwe and China-Africa friendship and cooperation.”

Likewise, the United States, who had running battle with Mugabe over some of his policies, sent condolences through its embassy in Harare.

It extended condolences to the Mugabe family and the people of Zimbabwe as they mourn the passing of former President Robert Mugabe.

“We join the world in reflecting on his legacy in securing Zimbabwe’s independence,” it said.

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