Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe’s longtime strong man, dead at 95

Labour peer Peter Hain, a former Africa minister and anti-apartheid campaigner, called Mugabe “a tragic case study of a liberation hero who then betrayed every one of the values of the freedom struggle.”

Speaking to CNN this morning, Hain said:

“On the one hand he is revered — and rightly so for his role in the liberation struggle…but then people also have to recognise … most of Zimbabweans will not mourn his passing at all.”

“He turned it (the country) into one that had to import in food … and he would not tolerate any opposition … (and) unleashed a wave of terror to stop their candidate Morgan Tsvangirai standing in the second round.”  

Hain added that Mugabe and his wife, Grace, were “notorious for their own self enrichment.”

Opposition Labour Party MP and Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry said that she’s “not going to shed any tears” over Mugabe’s death.

Speaking on the BBC’s Radio 4 she said:

“I’m not going to shed any tears I’m afraid for the death of Mugabe. He took over the country when it had such promise and we were all so hopeful. In fact, we were hopeful about him, but he completely lost his way and I think ruined the chance of a country that did have a great future.”   

UK Labour MP Kate Hoey, formerly the chairwoman of the all-party Parliamentary group on Zimbabwe and a longtime Mugabe critic, said on Twitter:

“Mugabe brought independence to Zimbabwe and then killed in the Gukurahundi-up to 80,000 of his own citizens in Matabeleland and brought his country to its knees economically. A hero to a brutal dictator”.