Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe's former
president, had died in Singapore. He was 95.
Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa
announced the passing on Friday.
“It is with the utmost sadness that I
announce the passing on of Zimbabwe's founding father and former
President, Cde Robert Mugabe,” Mnangagwa messaged on Twitter. “Cde
Mugabe was an icon of liberation, a pan-Africanist who dedicated his
life to the emancipation and empowerment of his people. His
contribution to the history of our nation and continent will never be
forgotten. May his soul rest in eternal peace.”
Mugabe was ousted from power in 2017
after ruling the country since it gained independence in 1980 from
Mugabe's opposition to LGBT rights was
Mugabe in 1995 described gay men and
lesbians as “dogs and pigs.” In 2013, he threatened to “chop
off” the heads of gay men who fail to reproduce.
After then-President Barack Obama
lauded the Supreme Court's ruling that led to nationwide marriage
equality, Mugabe sarcastically asked for Obama's hand in marriage.
“I've just concluded since President
Obama endorses the same-sex marriage, advocates homosexual people and
enjoys an attractive countenance thus if it becomes necessary, I
shall travel to Washington DC, get down on my knee, and ask his
hand,” Mugabe is quoted by Newsweek
as saying during his weekly radio interview.
LGBT activists in the country
celebrated his ouster.
“When he took over, we thought that
it would usher in a new independent country,” Ricky “Ricki”
Nathanson of the Trans Research, Education, Advocacy and Training
(TREAT) told the Washington Blade in 2017. “Certainly
members of the LGBTI community felt the brunt of his homophobia as
evidence by his outspokenness on them.”