The uncompromising former president, who was ousted in a coup in 2017, left behind a mixed legacy. He was touted worldwide as the hope of his country, Zimbabwe's icon of independence – before overseeing the nation's descent into economic disruption.
After news of his death broke, some world leaders and political groups reflected the early, hopeful image of Mugabe and focused on his struggle to free his country from the rule of the white minority.
The Government of South Africa wrote in condolences
describing Mugabe as a "fearless Pan-African freedom fighter". The African National Congress, the ruling party of South Africa, also issued a statement
calling it the embodiment of the "new African" – who shook off the colonial yoke, would strive to ensure that his country took a proper place among the community of nations. "
In a statement, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenya called Mugabe" an elder statesman, freedom fighter and Pan-Africanist who played a major role in shaping the interests of the African continent … a man of courage who has never been afraid to fight for what he believed in, even when it was not popular. "
The US Embassy in Zimbabwe's capital Harare also extends condolences to Mugabe's family. "We are joining the world by reflecting on its legacy in securing Zimbabwe's independence," says Tweets .
Former ministers of the Mugabe administration also share mourning messages. Jonathan Moyo, former Minister of Higher Education, tweeted
: "The dark cloud has enveloped Zimbabwe and beyond. The Lord gave it and the Lord took it. "Former Minister of Education, Sport, Arts and Culture David Coltart called
Mugabe a" colossus on the stage in Zimbabwe "and praised his role in ending white rule.
Other politicians around the world have pointed to the darker side of Mugabe's legacy. After coming to power, his administration brutally rejected any dissent, and he chaired forces that destroyed the strongholds of the opposition.
Nelson Chamisa, leader of the opposition party Movement for Democratic Change in Zimbabwe, expressed his condolences – but acknowledged "many political differences with the former president during his term. "