Rugare Gumbo says Mugabe was ruthless and autocratic

Robert Mugabe and Rugare Gumbo
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The former Economic Development Minister says Mugabe was power hungry as he never tolerated any form of opposition during and after the country’s liberation struggle of the 1960s.

Gumbo was expelled from the party in 2015 for allegedly conniving with former vice president Joyce Mujuru, to topple Mugabe and remains bitter to this day.

The former liberation fighter and spokesperson for the Zanu-PF party says he was “personally tortured,” by Mugabe during the liberation war when he and other senior Zanu-PF officials were accused of revolting against his leadership and were detained from 1978 until independence in 1980.

In an interview with VOA’s Zimbabwe Service, Gumbo, however gives credit to Mugabe for prioritizing education, and giving land to blacks, though he says the process was disorderly.

Meanwhile, Charles Ray, former U.S. Ambassador to Zimbabwe from 2009 to 2012, said while Mugabe, who led Zimbabwe from its independence in 1980 to 2017 when he resigned under pressure from the military, made a lot of mistakes, one can never strip him of his legacy as “one of the founding fathers of Africa’s independence.”

Ambassador Ray applauded Mugabe’s legacy on free education for Zimbabwe’s children, but criticized Mugabe’s controversial land reform program which he described as unsuccessful.

Turning to the government of President Emmerson Mnangagwa, Ambassador Ray urged the administration to “put the country back on the track it should have been on from the time they removed him (Mugabe) from office.”

Ambassador Ray said Mugabe should be remembered for his complete history.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa has described the late Zimbabwean leader as the “founder of the nation and iconic leader of our struggle for national liberation.”

He ousted him in a defacto military coup in November 2017. – VOA