Robert Mugabe’s speech at Zimbabwe’s independence in April 1980 focused on peace and reconciliation. It drew sighs of relief from white Zimbabweans and the West.
Mugabe was eloquent, highly educated, and seemed eminently reasonable. He was the very model of a modern African leader—a technocrat and the antithesis of corrupt, venal leaders such as Congo’s Mobutu Sese Seko. The West swooned.
Thirty-seven years later President Mugabe was swept from power as his reign of brutality and autocratic control crumbled within days of a military takeover. The bombshell news was delivered by the parliament speaker to a special joint session of the assembly that had convened to impeach Mugabe.
Soon, despite the peoples’ hope, disappointment followed.