close

News WrapGet Handpicked Stories from our editors directly to your mailbox

Zimbabweans 'suffered for too long' under Mugabe: UK

File Photo: Robert Mugabe Photograph:( Reuters )

AFP London, United Kingdom Sep 06, 2019, 05.58 PM (IST)

Zimbabwe's former colonial ruler Britain said Zimbabweans had "suffered for too long" under former president Robert Mugabe, who died Friday.

"We express our condolences to those who mourn Robert Mugabe's death. However, Zimbabweans suffered for too long as a result of Mugabe's autocratic role," the foreign ministry said in a statement.

It noted "mixed emotions" in Zimbabwe at the death of Mugabe, adding, "We hope that in this new era, Zimbabwe can continue to be set on a more democratic and prosperous path."

Mugabe won the 1980 elections at the end of a black nationalist guerrilla war against white-minority rule in the rebel colony of Rhodesia.

Peter Hain, a leading anti-apartheid campaigner, told AFP he was "elated" at the time.

"It was a huge moment in history when he became president in a landslide and all of us cheered him on at the time."

But he said Mugabe then "betrayed all of those values of justice and human rights and democracy under the freedom struggle and became a corrupt dictator".

In 2000, Mugabe's supporters violently took over white-owned farms a watershed moment in relations between the West and their protege.

Zimbabwe was suspended in 2002 from the Commonwealth, a grouping of former British colonies, and pulled out voluntarily in 2003.

Last year, President Emmerson Mnangagwa applied to rejoin the Commonwealth after ousting Mugabe.

Story highlights

"We express our condolences to those who mourn Robert Mugabe's death. However, Zimbabweans suffered for too long as a result of Mugabe's autocratic role," the foreign ministry said in a statement.