Aankomst van Robert Mugabe (Patriottisch Front voor Zimbabwe) op Schiphol *19 oktober 1979


The death early this morning 1n Singapore of the founder of our Nation, and iconic leader of our struggle for National Liberation, Cde Robert Gabriel Mugabe, leaves a big void in our Nation. 

A veteran nationalist and a doughty Pan-Africanist fighter, Cde Mugabe bequeaths a rich and indelible legacy of tenacious adherence to principle on the collective rights of Africa and Africans in general and, in particular, the . rights of the people of Zimbabwe for whom he gave his all to help free.

In his life and political career met and melded key phases, moods and shifts in the story of our National Struggle and quest for Freedom and Statehood, including the tragedies, pains and rigors which underwrote that epic story. 

Incarcerated for eleven years in settler colonial prisons, he, alongside fellow nationalists who included late Father Zimbabwe, Cde Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo, remained unbowed and resolute, eventually escaping from the then Rhodesia in 1974 in order to lead and guide the resumption and escalation of our war of Liberation at a time of its tragic setbacks and paralysis. 

Before long and under his firm leadership, the struggle regained momentum, expanded and consolidated, transforming the Patriotic Front into a formidable, coordinated national liberation movement and fighting force capable of waging one of the most gruelling and protracted struggles in the Southern African region. Today our country is free – has been srnce 1980, thanks to the sacrifices of a generation of dedicated veteran nationalists and freedom fighters pre-dating the 1960s, who included the late Cde Mugabe. 

A great teacher and mentor, the bitterness of long spells of incarceration, and the anguish of a brutal and bitter war, never extinguished Cde Mugabe’s forgiving inner humanity. That humanity shone undiminished throughout that season of war, and forcefully asserted itself by way of the signature policy of National Reconciliation on which our whole Statehood was founded and built. Through that policy of forgiveness, Southern African politics took a definitive shift towards a just, post-conflict multiracial harmony, which would be replicated elsewhere in our region and beyond. 

He thus wrote a lasting page on Nation-building and statecraft for the world, making him stand out as such a remarkable statesman of our century. Apart from landmark post-Independence transformations in areas of rights, education and social services for the hitherto marginalized black Zimbabweans, the late departed icon will be eternally remembered and honoured for the bold and historic Land Reform Programme which he undertook. 

Through this Programme, indigenous Zimbabweans regained their long-denied land rfghts, to complete their sovereignty. For that he was especially vilified, shunned and punished by those who stood to lose from an end to colonial “rights”, and from· a Just reassertion of African rights. 

With characteristic defiance, he stood firm and undaunted, resolutely pressing on with the Land Reform Programme to completion, all against formidable odds which included punitive sanctions and other reprisals that followed, and which still dog us to this day. Today Zimbabwe’s Land Question, itself a principal grievance of our Struggle, stands fully and irrevocably addressed and resolved. History will remember him for this bold move. 

As we mourn the passing on of our Commander, Liberator, Founder and Leader, we remain determined to carry forward the transformation he so fervently desired, including protecting and defending the gains of the Struggle for which he made huge sacrifices. On the bedrock and solid foundation of the First Republic which he moulded as its leader, we today recover and grow our economy, brick by brick, ,until his lifelong vision of an empowered people is realized.

On behalf of our Nation, that of my family, and on my own behalf, I wish to express my deepest, heartfelt condolences to the Mugabe Family, to Amai Grace Mugabe and the children especially, on this their saddest loss. Amai Mugabe stood by her husband to the very end, thus imparting to our Nation a lasting lesson on devout love and care. For that, we deeply thank her, as we join her in the grief of loss and bereavement, which is also ours to feel and bear. ZANU-PF, the party which the late departed helped found, has met and accorded him National Hero Status which he earned and richly deserves. 

Let me also register the gratitude of Government and our entire Nation to the Government and People of the Republic of Singapore for the unmatched hospitality and medical care they extended to our Leader up to the very end. In particular, we are most grateful to the team of medical experts and support staff which cared for him with such great diligence, dedication and compassion. They did all they could, up to the very end. 

As we await the arrival of the remains of our dear departed icon, we pray that the Good Lord grant him mercies, putting his dear Soul to eternal rest.

We as Zimbabweans, declare days of mourning until our Leader’s burial. 

I thank you.

Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa 




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