Key Images From Robert Mugabe’s 37 Years Ruling Zimbabwe

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has lost his 37-year stranglehold on political power, after military generals took power and pressured him to step down. His tenure in office included allegations of vote-rigging, human rights abuses and policy missteps that have driven what was once one of Africa’s star performers to economic ruin. Here are some of the best images from throughout his tumultuous presidency.

Mugabe kept a strong hold on Zimbabwean politics until the generals moved against him. His inauguration and swearing-in ceremony on Aug. 22, 2013, at a 60,000-seat sports stadium in the capital, Harare, came after he secured another five-year term in an election the main opposition said was neither free nor fair.

Photographer: Alexander Joe/AFP via Getty Images

Mugabe lights a flame to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the nation’s independence, at the National Sports Center in Harare on April 18, 1990.

Source: AP Photo

Mugabe holds a press conference in his garden in Mount Pleasant, Salisbury (as the capital was then known) on March 6, 1980, shortly after he was elected as the nation's first post-independence prime minister.

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Mugabe was a key figure in national life long before independence and his time as president. As leader of the Rhodesian fighting forces, left, here he attends a meeting in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania in the early 1960s. Next to him are Georges Silundika, information secretary and deputy leader of the African National Congress, which was fighting white minority rule in South Africa, and Joshua Nkomo, leader of the Zimbabwean African People Union party.

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Hyperinflation rendered the Zimbabwean currency useless after the turn of the millennium and it was eventually scrapped. The country now mainly uses the U.S. Dollar and is facing widespread cash shortages. Here various denominations of the Zimbabwean dollar are held up next to a South African 20 rand note in Harare in 2009. 

Photographer: Kate Holt/Bloomberg

Black squatters and a policeman stand guard behind the entry gate to a farm of an expelled white farmer, in Mazowe, about 60 kilometers north of Harare, in April 2000. The farm was one of thousands across the country occupied by black squatters after parliament passed a bill giving the government the power to seize white-owned land without paying compensation. A portrait of Mugabe, who condoned the land grab, hangs on the fence. The farm seizures crippled agricultural output.

Photographer: Alexander Joe/AFP via Getty Images

Zimbabwean tobacco farmers protest at the low prices being offered for their crop at an auction in Harare on the first day of marketing season in March 2015. Exports of tobacco, the nation’s biggest foreign-currency earner among agricultural products, collapsed following the often-violent seizure of about 4,500 mostly white-owned commercial farms in a land-reform program strongly criticized by human-rights groups.

Photographer: Jekesai Njikizana/AFP via Getty Images

Zimbabweans sleep on the pavement outside a bank in the capital, Harare, on Dec. 1, 2016. Chronic cash shortages mean banks frequently run out of notes and withdrawals have been limited.

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Shelves lie empty in a general store in Mazowe, Zimbabwe, in 2009. Zimbabwe’s economy has fallen to the 20th biggest in sub-Saharan Africa from 10th when President Robert Mugabe came into power almost four decades ago.

Photographer: Kate Holt/Bloomberg 

Mugabe is greeted by supporters as he arrives at a parliamentary election rally in Gutu, 220 kilometers south of Harare, in March 2005.  As leader of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe has survived longer than Stalin in the Soviet Union and Mao in China.  

Photographer: Alexander Joe/AFP via Getty Images

The Zimbabwean president speaks at the 64th annual United Nations General Assembly in New York in 2009.

Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

Mugabe and his wife Grace wave to supporters at an election rally in Harare in 2013. Mugabe was contesting the vote against long-time rival Morgan Tsvangirai.

Photographer: Alexander Joe/AFP via Getty Images

Mugabe and his wife Grace arrive at the ruling party's headquarters in Harare, the capital. Mugabe fired Emmerson Mnangagwa as his vice president on Nov. 8, 2017, and the rise of Grace Mugabe to political prominence is understood to have contributed to the military’s decision to move against her husband.

Photographer: Jekesai Njikizana/AFP via Getty Images

Zimbabweans watch a television broadcasting an address by Mugabe following his meeting with military generals on Nov. 19, 2017.
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