Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe – Fast Facts
Here’s a closer look at the life of Robert Mugabe.
Birth date: February 21, 1924
Birth place: Kutama Mission, Southern Rhodesia
Birth name: Robert Gabriel Mugabe
Father: Gabriel Mugabe, a carpenter
Mother: Bona Mugabe
Marriages: Grace Marufu (August 17, 1996 – present); Sally Heyfron (February 21, 1961 – January 27, 1992, her death)
Children: With Grace Marufa: 2 sons and 1 daughter; with Sally Heyfron: 1 son, died at 4 years old.
Education: University of Fort Hare, B.A., 1951; University of London, L.L.B
Religion: Roman Catholic
Military: Commander-in-Chief Zimbabwe National Liberation Army (ZANLA) 1977- present.
1952-1959 – Teaches school in Southern and Northern Rhodesia and Ghana.
1960-1961 – Returns to Southern Rhodesia and works as Publicity Secretary for the National Democratic Party.
1963 – Co-founds the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) with Ndabaningi Sithole in Tanzania after having fled Rhodesia.
1964-1974 – Upon returning to Rhodesia is arrested and imprisoned for 10 years. Continues his education while incarcerated and earns university degrees in education, economics, administration and law from the University of London.
1974-1979 – Is released from prison and leads the ZANU-PF, the guerilla movement, from Mozambique.
1977 – Is elected President of ZANU and Commander-in-Chief of ZANLA
April 18, 1980-December 31, 1987 – After February elections, serves as the first Prime Minister of Zimbabwe. Helps form the Republic of Zimbabwe after British rule of Rhodesia comes to an end.
December 31, 1987 – Is elected by the national assembly to a 4-year term after a new constitution replaces the office of Prime Minister with an Executive President.
March 1990 – Is reelected by popular majority, after a constitutional revision, to a 6-year term.
1993 – Threatens to expel white landowners who object to the 1992 Land Acquisition Act permitting the government to force them to give up their land for redistribution to black Zimbabweans.
March 1996 - Is reelected, in what becomes a one-man contest after all other opponents drop out days before the election.
2000 – Mugabe begins ordering white farmers to give up their land. Some 4,000 farmers lose their land and Zimbabwe’s agricultural output decreases sharply.
October 15, 2001 – Announces countrywide shift to socialist-styled economy after 12 years of a market-driven one.
2002 – The European Union and the United States impose targeted sanctions on Mugabe and some senior ZANU-PF party members after widespread reports of human rights violations.
March 2002 – Is reelected to another 6-year presidential term amid charges of fraud and “state-sponsored-terrorism.”
June 24, 2002 – Prepares to enforce the redistribution of land from whites to blacks, issues orders to white farmers to stop working their farms and vacate their property, despite the country’s worst famine in 60 years.
December 7, 2003 – Withdraws Zimbabwe from the Commonwealth, a 54-nation organization of Great Britain and her former colonies.
August 2004 – Accusations by Human Rights Watch state that starvation is being used as a tool for the regime’s support among Zimbabweans. Farm output has decreased sharply since Mugabe began his policy of land grabs.
July 16, 2007 – The University of Edinburgh withdraws the honorary degree it awarded Mugabe in 1984 for his services to education in Africa. “The removal of this honorary degree shows the people of Zimbabwe that we recognize their struggle,” Edinburgh University rector Mark Ballard states.
April 2, 2008 – Results of the March 29, 2008 election are released by Zimbabwe’s Electoral Commission and show that Mugabe’s ruling ZANU-PF party has lost control of parliament.
June 12, 2008 – The University of Massachusetts Board of Trustees revokes the honorary law degree it gave to Mugabe in 1986.
June 22, 2008 – Amid election fraud, violence, and arrests targeting his party and its supporters, opposition candidate Morgan Tsvangirai states that he is dropping out of the race, effectively handing the presidency back to Mugabe.
June 25, 2008 – Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II strips Mugabe of an honorary knighthood awarded in 1994 by former Prime Minister John Major.
June 27, 2008 – Mugabe wins runoff election held in Zimbabwe amid worldwide controversy. He is the only candidate.
June 29, 2008 – Mugabe is sworn in for his sixth term as Zimbabwe’s president.
September 15, 2008 – Mugabe signs a power-sharing deal with political rival Morgan Tsvangirai in order to end months of unrest. Mugabe will remain president and Tsvangirai will assume post of prime minister and coordinator of government affairs.
February 11, 2009 – Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai is sworn in as prime minister of Zimbabwe by Mugabe as part of a new unity government.
February 2010 – Mugabe celebrates his 86th birthday with a lavish party, costing a reported $300,000.
December 17, 2010 – Mugabe threatens to seize all Western-owned investments in Zimbabwe unless their governments remove targeted sanctions imposed on him and his senior party members.
December 10, 2011 – Mugabe’s Zanu PF party endorses him as its candidate for the 2012 presidential elections. The 87-year-old Mugabe rejects calls for him to retire saying, “I will continue to lead the party as I have done.”
December 19, 2012 – A Mugabe spokesman says Mugabe will call for presidential elections before the end of the year even if a new constitution isn’t agree upon. Under his power sharing deal with Tsvangirai, a referendum on the constitution must be held before presidential elections can take place.