Mugabe; Liberation, Despotism, Intestacy

Robert Mugabe who ended white-minority rule in Zimbabwe and improved access to education and health services for the country’s poor black majority, before resorting to fear and repression to govern died in a Singapore hospital aged 95 on September 6.

Following extensive inquiries, Lawyers for the Mugabe family were unable to locate Mugabe’s will.

Mugabe was born on 21 February 1924; in Rhodesia in 1960, his political activism earned him a 10-year prison term for “subversive speech”, after which he fled to neighbouring Mozambique to lead the guerrilla forces of the Zimbabwe African National Union (Zanu) – in a protracted war against Ian Smith’s government that left 27,000 dead.

In 1973, while still incarcerated, he was named the president of the Zimbabwe African National Union (Zanu); on his release, he directed guerrilla raids into Rhodesia from Mozambique.

The Lancaster House Agreement in 1979 ended Rhodesian white-minority rule, resulting in the newly independent Republic of Zimbabwe with Mugabe securing an overwhelming victory in the republic’s first election in 1980.

At independence, Zimbabwe was one of Africas most promising countries however the position was weakened through economic mismanagement by Mugabe and his party, Zanu-PF, who held power mostly through the use of terror by security forces.

In 2000 as the economy faltered, Mugabe seized land from white owners, and in 2008, used violent militias to silence his political opponents during an election famously declaring that only God could remove him from office.

In November 2017, the military seized control of a public broadcaster announcing that Mugabe would be held under house arrest. In the days following, people swept the streets to demand the resignation of Mugabe, Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa replaced Mugabe a week later.

Mugabe’s legacy for many Zimbabweans will be economic mismanagement and increasingly tyrannical rule rather than liberation. Millions fled the country to escape decades of hyperinflation and crackdowns on dissidents.

In the event that a person dies intestate Zimbabwean law provides that the heirs to an intestate deceased person’s estate are their children and the surviving spouse.

Last week the Mugabe family agreed and a court in Zimbabwe appointed his daughter Bona Chikore to identify assets left in order for them to be distributed to his beneficiaries.

It has been reported that Mugabe and his family amassed as much as $1 billion, during his 37 years in power. In October Bona provided the Master of the High Court with a modest portfolio of properties that her father owned as a part of a $10 million estate.

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