Robert Mugabe, age 89, was sworn in this Thursday after his reelection as leader of Zimbabwe, despite a flood of criticism regarding the election's fairness. He has led the country as president since 1980 and has faced much international criticism for his policies over his seven terms ruling the country. Although the results of this summer's reelection were hotly disputed, the president defeated his challenger Morgan Tsvangirai with an alleged 61% of the vote early in August, and overturned a previous power-sharing deal to re-gain a full grip on power for the next five years. Because the leader is older and failing in health, many questions remain as to what a post-Mugabe future may look like. Here are some things any reader should see to get the full truth about Mugabe's brutal reign over the years, as he steps forward into yet another term.
1. This Human Rights Activist, Beatrice Mtetwa
Mtetwa is a human rights lawyer and activist in Zimbabwe. She was detained and held by the Mugabe regime in March 2013 under "obstruction of justice" charges, after visiting to counsel a member of Mugabe's opposition party. She has since been released. She has continued to work tirelessly on human rights issues in her country, and has been featured in a documentary to international acclaim called Beatrice Mtetwa and the Rule of Law.
2. This Conflict Map
A series of conflict maps over time published by National Geographic in 2008 reveal increasing levels of violence across the African state. A number of economic and political factions have long contributed to pervasive violence in the country, but much blame has been put on the Mugabe regime, which has brutally employed violent tactics to maintain rule. For example, Dadirai Chipiro, the wife of one of Mugabe's political opponents, was burned alive in an instance of political violence in the lead-up to the country's 2008 elections.
3. This Human Rights Watch Report
"Bullets for Each of You: State-Sponsored Violence Since Zimbabwe’s March 29 Elections" is a Human Rights Watch report, available here, that exposes numerous human rights abuses, including instances of torture, murder, and widespread crackdowns on civil society during 2008 elections that ensured Mugabe's continued hold on power.
4. This Report On Zimbabwe's Black Market Economy
This Washington Post feature on Zimbabwe's black market reveals how the country's failing economy has been scrambling under political strife. Although the country has been under Western sanctions for years, economic struggles have been the result of many failed presidential policies. “We were left with no jobs,” one unauthorized miner said, referring to the disruption in 2005 caused by "Operation Clear the Filth (Murambatsvina)," a government run program of mass eviction for peasants across the state. “We had to come to the rural area, and the only thing to do was to dig for gold.”
5. This Audio Feature Of Voices From Zimbabwe
Audio files from interviews with men, women, and children, many of whom have escaped Zimbabwe, are available here. The testimonies speak of rampant violence, police brutality, hunger, and suffering inside Zimbabwe under Mugabe's reign.