See all those languages up there? We translate Global Voices stories to make the world's citizen media available to everyone.

Learn more about Lingua Translation  »

World's Oldest President, Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe, Turns 92

Zimbabwe's president Robert Mugabe turned 92 this month. Public Domain photo by the U.S. Air Force.

Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe turned 92 this month. Public domain photo by the U.S. Air Force.

Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe, nicknamed ‘Uncle Bob’, turned 92 on February 21. He is the world's oldest president, holding office since 1987. His time in the upper echelons of Zimbabwe's government isn't limited to his 30-year stint as president; he also was Zimbabwe's prime minister from 1980 to 1987.

According to human rights organisations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch Mugabe's government regularly mistreats opposition politicians and their supporters, journalists, civil society activists and human rights defenders.

Human Rights Watch's World Report 2015 pointed out that, “The government of President Robert Mugabe continued to violate human rights in 2014 without regard to protections in the country’s new constitution. An expected legislative framework and new or amended laws to improve human rights in line with the constitution never materialized.”

Mugabe is also accused by Zimbabwe's opposition and the international community of systemic electoral fraud.

Online, Twitter users have been sharing facts about and quotes from a man known for his oratory skills, brashness, sense of humor, homophobia and hatred for the West.

Mugabe made the above comment on his 88th birthday in reference to constant rumors about his death.

Mugabe chased white Zimbabwean farmers from the country from the year 2000 as part of his land reform and black empowerment program. A total of 4,000 white farmers lost their farms.

Mugabe made the observation after the United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon urged African leaders not to cling to power.

Mugabe is reported to have made the statement after US President Barack Obama called on African governments to give gay men and women equal marriage rights. In 2011, Mugabe referred to gay people as being “worse than dogs and pigs.”

The quote is widely attributed to him by many sources online including a 2015 article by the Mayor of London Boris Johnson.

Speaking at the opening of the annual African Union summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, last month, Mugabe said the UN’s headquarters in New York should be in a more populous country, such as China, India, or in Africa.

Mugabe made the above comment at the Earth Summit while responding to former UK leader Tony Blair's criticism of his land reform.

Addressing journalists at the Harare International Airport, Mugabe said, “They [Western leaders] committed crimes, colonial crimes galore – the slaughter of our people and all that imprisonment… I have a case, why was I imprisoned for 11 years? We forgave them, but perhaps we’ve not done ourselves justice… You set up the ICC [International Criminal Court], we set our ICC to try Europeans, to try Mr [George] Bush and Mr [Tony] Blair.”

The Ottoman Caliphate was the last Sunni Islamic caliphate of the late medieval and the early modern era. The Turkish National Assembly abolished the Ottoman Caliphate on March 3, 1924. Steve Biko was an anti-apartheid activist in South Africa who died in 1977 at the age of 30.

Mugabe has got seven degrees. He graduated with a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Fort Hare, South Africa, before getting four bachelor's degrees and two master's degrees through distance learning.

Our work building bridges across cultures, languages and perspectives is more urgent than ever before.

Learn more about Global Voices »

Donate now

Close