Welcome to our collection of quotes by Robert Mugabe. We hope you enjoy pondering them and please share widely.
Robert Gabriel Mugabe (Shona: [muɡaɓe]; 21 February 1924 – 6 September 2019) was a Zimbabwean revolutionary and politician who served as Prime Minister of Zimbabwe from 1980 to 1987 and then as President from 1987 to 2017. He served as Leader of the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) from 1975 to 1980 and led its successor political party, the ZANU – Patriotic Front (ZANU–PF), from 1980 to 2017. Ideologically an African nationalist, during the 1970s and 1980s he identified as a Marxist–Leninist, and as a socialist after the 1990s.
Mugabe was born to a poor Shona family in Kutama, Southern Rhodesia. Educated at Kutama College and the University of Fort Hare, he worked as a schoolteacher in Southern Rhodesia, Northern Rhodesia, and Ghana. Angered by white minority rule of his homeland within the British Empire, Mugabe embraced Marxism and joined African nationalists calling for an independent state controlled by the black majority. After making anti-government comments, he was convicted of sedition and imprisoned between 1964 and 1974. On release, he fled to Mozambique, established his leadership of ZANU, and oversaw its role in the Rhodesian Bush War, fighting Ian Smith's predominately white government. He reluctantly participated in peace talks in the United Kingdom that resulted in the Lancaster House Agreement, putting an end to the war. In the 1980 general election, Mugabe led ZANU-PF to victory, becoming Prime Minister when the country, now renamed Zimbabwe, gained internationally recognised independence later that year. Mugabe's administration expanded healthcare and education and—despite his professed desire for a socialist society—adhered largely to mainstream, conservative economic policies.
Mugabe's calls for racial reconciliation failed to stem growing white emigration, while relations with Joshua Nkomo's Zimbabwe African People's Union (ZAPU) also deteriorated. In the Gukurahundi of 1982–1987, Mugabe's Fifth Brigade crushed ZAPU-linked opposition in Matabeleland in a campaign that killed at least 10,000 people, mostly Ndebele civilians. Internationally he sent troops into the Second Congo War and chaired the Non-Aligned Movement (1986–89), the Organisation of African Unity (1997–98), and the African Union (2015–16). Pursuing decolonisation, Mugabe emphasised the redistribution of land controlled by white farmers to landless blacks, initially on a "willing seller–willing buyer" basis. Frustrated at the slow rate of redistribution, from 2000 he encouraged black Zimbabweans to violently seize white-owned farms. Food production was severely impacted, leading to famine, economic decline, and foreign sanctions. Opposition to Mugabe grew, but he was re-elected in 2002, 2008, and 2013 through campaigns dominated by violence, electoral fraud, and nationalistic appeals to his rural Shona voter base. In 2017, members of his party ousted him in a coup, replacing him with former vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Having dominated Zimbabwe's politics for nearly four decades, Mugabe was a controversial figure. He was praised as a revolutionary hero of the African liberation struggle who helped free Zimbabwe from British colonialism, imperialism, and white minority rule. Critics accused Mugabe of being a dictator responsible for economic mismanagement and widespread corruption and human rights abuses, including anti-white racism and crimes against humanity.
We have said we will never collapse, never ever. We may have our droughts, our poverty, but as a people we shall never collapse, never ever.
There are many refugees, if not more refugees inside the country than outside the country. There is also the question of working to aid us at the present moment when we are campaigning for elections.
I am an educationist. I'm an economist. I am a politician. I am also now a good storyteller, you know?
Grooming a successor, is it an inheritance? In a democratic party, you don't want leaders appointed that way. They have to be appointed properly by the people.
Some people think that being a leader means killing people and beating people, but that is not the way. Even the fallen heroes would not approve of that.
Cooperation and respect for each other will advance the cause of human rights worldwide. Confrontation, vilification, and double standards will not.
What is the problem? We now have aeroplanes which can take them back quicker than the ships used by their ancestors.
Africa must revert to what it was before the imperialists divided it. These are artificial divisions which we, in our pan-African concept will seek to remove.
Is it not obvious that Britain, under the regime of Tony Blair, has ceased to respect the Charter of the United Nations?
We will defend our victory through armed struggle. We will have to do that.
The armed struggle is not ending just now. We are upholding a ceasefire. We have our arms with us.
I would spend my time telling stories or writing them.
If you are ugly, you are ugly. Stop talking about inner beauty because men don't walk around with X-rays to see inner beauty.
South Africans will kick down a statue of a dead white man but won't even attempt to slap a live one. Yet they can stone to death a black man simply because he's a foreigner.
Sometimes you look back at girls you spent money on rather than send it to your mum and you realise witchcraft is real.
We are now being coerced to accept and believe that a new political-cum-religious doctrine has arisen, namely that 'there is but one political god, George Bush, and Tony Blair is his prophet.
How can these countries who have stolen land from the Red Indians, the Aborigines, the Eskimos dare to tell us what to do with our land?
We expected anyway that the democratic forces which have agreed with us in Zimbabwe would have rallied behind us. But it was a difficult struggle.
It could never be a correct justification that, because the whites oppressed us yesterday when they had power, that the blacks must oppress them today because they have power.
Cricket civilizes people and creates good gentlemen. I want everyone to play cricket in Zimbabwe; I want ours to be a nation of gentlemen.
If President Barack Obama wants me to allow marriage for same-sex couples in my country (Zimbabwe), he must come here so that I marry him first.
Zimbabwe is for Zimbabweans; so are its resources.
Zimbabwe has lots of safaris, but very few are African. Most are white-owned. In our region, we have the most safaris and animals. Our people cannot keep suffering.
In most recent times, as the West started being hostile to us, we deliberately declared a Look East policy.
Some people are contriving ways and means of making us collapse.
True, some land was bought by a few Cabinet Ministers. They bought the land. No minister, to my knowledge acquired land which was meant for resettlement.
Our small and peaceful country is threatened daily by covetous and bigoted big powers whose hunger for domination and control of other nations and their resources knows no bounds.
We pride ourselves as being top, really, on the African ladder... We feel that we have actually been advancing rather than going backwards.
Stay with us, please remain in this country and constitute a nation based on national unity.
Our party must continue to strike fear in the heart of the white man, our real enemy!
Zimbabwe will never be a colony again.
There are things one must do for oneself.
We of Africa protest that, in this day and age, we should continue to be treated as lesser human beings than other races.
The only white man you can trust is a dead white man.
I have died many times. I have actually beaten Jesus Christ because he only died once.
So, Blair keep your England, and let me keep my Zimbabwe.
We have said the first step was to designate the land, inform the owners. And the second would be to get the responses from the owners. And this will be openly done.
Was it not enough punishment and suffering in history that we were uprooted and made helpless slaves not only in new colonial outposts but also domestically.
It may be necessary to use methods other than constitutional ones.
The white man is not indigenous to Africa. Africa is for Africans. Zimbabwe is for Zimbabweans.
We don't mind having sanctions banning us from Europe. We are not Europeans.
We are not hungry... Why foist this food upon us? We don't want to be choked. We have enough.
We are no longer going to ask for the land, but we are going to take it without negotiating.