Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe faces serious test after staying more than 30 years in power ruling the country as he has been ousted by the army. Here are some interesting facts about the oldest head of state on the planet.
20 ROBERT MUGABE FACTS
1) At 93, he is the oldest head of state on Earth. He has been in power for 37 years.
2) He enjoys being compared to Hitler. When someone made the comparison, due to his alleged racist attitudes towards white people, Mugabe responded, ‘I am still the Hitler of the time. This Hitler has only one objective, justice for his own people, sovereignty for his people, recognition of the independence of his people, and their right to their resources. If that is Hitler, then let me be a Hitler tenfold.’
3) Despite his age, the President shows no intention of stepping down – he reaffirmed his intention to lead Zimbabwe saying that he would stand again in 2018.
4) His birthday party will cost £650,000 – a display Human Rights Watch has branded ‘obscene’ in a country where one in three children is stunted due to hunger, according to the UN.
5) His successor might be his wife, Grace Mugabe, but the possibility of that might be unrealistic as the military has taken over the government.
6) Mugabe was actually knighted, but his knighthood was withdrawn in 2008 after 14 years.
7) When Gordon Brown attempted to step in over Mugabe’s refusal to release election results (he lost, but remains in power through a new sharing arrangement) in 2008, Mugabe described him as a, ‘a little tiny dot on this planet’.
8) Mugabe was raised in a Jesuit school, and is a devoted Catholic, attending the funeral of the last Pope despite a ‘no fly’ rule barring him from most of the planet.
9) Mugabe was actually nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize when he took power in 1981, but a series of massacres which left thousands dead turned global opinion against him.
10) Mugabe has (allegedly) fiddled elections using intimidation and other tactics – and also won the lottery in Zimbabwe in 2000, winning 100,000 Zimbabwean dollars.
11) Mugabe was originally a teacher, and while his regime has become notorious for violence, Zimbabwe has a literacy level of above 90%.
12) A popular conspiracy theory suggests that Mugabe died long ago and has been replaced by his own body double. Photos suggest otherwise.
13) Mugabe claims that age has not diminished his strength – suggesting, ‘I feel as energetic as a nine year old boy.’
14) Mugabe often drops provocative quotes about how much he hates white people, such as, ‘The white man is here as a second citizen. The only man you can trust is a dead white man.’
15) For years, Mugabe has travelled to East Asia for medical treatment – reputed to involve transfusions – which has left him, he claims, ‘Fitter than two fiddles’.
16) Mugabe’s guests reportedly enjoy two elephants at the birthday ‘do’ – provided by a local farmer, much to the horror of conservationists.
17) Guests at his birthday also receive T-shirts commemorating events in Mugabe’s life.
18) Mugabe led his country’s revolution against a colonial regime backed by Britain in 1980, and he still has support among some Africans. Mugabe was elected chairman of the 54-nation African Union at a summit of African leaders in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
19) He spent ten years in prison before assuming the leadership of Zimbabwe.
20) Mugabe and his family alongside top government officials are being held under house arrest by the military in the country. His Minister of Finance has also been detained.