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Robert Mugabe

Robert Gabriel Mugabe, born 21 February 1924) is a Zimbabwean revolutionary and politician who is the President of Zimbabwe. As one of the leaders of the rebel groups against white minority rule, he was elected as Prime Minister, head of government, in 1980, and served in that office until 1987, when he became the country's first executive head of state. Having been repeatedly re-elected, he retains this post as of 2014. He has led the Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front (ZANU–PF) since 1975.

Mugabe rose to prominence in the 1960s as the Secretary General of ZANU during the conflict against the conservative white minority government of Rhodesia. Mugabe was a political prisoner in Rhodesia for more than 10 years between 1964 and 1974. Upon release Mugabe, along with Edgar Tekere, left Rhodesia in 1975 to re-join the fight during the Rhodesian Bush War from bases in Mozambique.

At the end of the war in 1979, Mugabe emerged as a hero in the minds of many Africans. He won the general elections of 1980 after calling for reconciliation between the former belligerents, including white Zimbabweans and rival political parties, and thereby became Prime Minister on Zimbabwe's independence in April 1980.

Soon after independence Mugabe set about establishing a one-party state run by his political party, the Zanu-PF, establishing a North Korean trained security force, the Fifth Brigade, in August 1981 designed to deal with internal dissidents. Mugabe attacked former allies ZAPU in which the Fifth Brigade crushed an armed rebellion by fighters loyal to his rival Joshua Nkomo, leader of the minority Ndebele tribe, in the province of Matabeleland. Between 1982 and 1985 at least 20,000 people died in ethnic cleansing and were buried in mass graves. Mugabe consolidated his power in December 1987, when he was declared executive president by parliament, combining the roles of head of state, head of government, and commander-in-chief of the armed forces, with powers to dissolve parliament and declare martial law.

In August 2008 Mugabe suffered a narrow defeat in the first round of a presidential election but he subsequently won the run-off election in a landslide after opposition rival Morgan Tsvangirai withdrew from the race, and extended a hand to the opposition with the signing of a power-sharing deal with opposition leaders Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara of the MDC-T and MDC-M opposition party.

On 3 August 2013, the Zimbabwe Election Commission said Mugabe won his seventh term as President, defeating Tsvangirai with 61 percent of the vote in a disputed election in which there were numerous accounts of vote-rigging and fraud.

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