Robert Mugabe

  1. British American Tobacco fails to address Mugabe bribe

    BBC Panorama

    Investigative TV show

    Late Zimbabwean leader Robert Mugabe
    Image caption: Robert Mugabe ruled Zimbabwe for decades

    One of Britain’s biggest companies has responded after BBC Panorama found evidence suggesting it paid a bribe to the former Zimbabwean leader Robert Mugabe.

    The statement from British American Tobacco (BAT) is similar to one sent to the programme pre-transmission, saying it is committed to "acting responsibly and with integrity". The company has yet to deny paying a bribe to Mugabe.

    The investigation, carried out in conjunction with the Bureau​​​ of Investigative Journalism and the University of Bath, had access to thousands of leaked documents. The documents show how​ BAT funded a network of almost 200 secret informants and used illegal surveillance methods to gather information on its rivals in Zimbabwe and South Africa.

    BAT has said it was helping the South African government tackle illicit cigarettes and its work in this field has been mischaracterised - but evidence strongly suggests it used security companies to undermine competitors with bribes, phone taps and tracking devices.

    Evidence also suggests the company was involved in negotiations to pay between $300,000 and $500,000 to Mugabe's Zanu-PF party in 2013.

    Campaigning organisation Transparency International has called for the UK's Serious Fraud Office (SFO) to investigate the tobacco giant in light of the BBC Panorama film.

    BAT said it fully cooperated with a previous SFO investigation, which ended earlier this year and resulted in no action being taken.

    The BBC understands the Serious Fraud Office investigation did not exonerate BAT of wrongdoing. And that in the event new evidence comes to light, the SFO could reopen their investigation into the tobacco company.

    The SFO's investigation was launched following Panorama's revelations in 2015 that BAT had made secret payments to public officials and politicians in east Africa in an attempt to undermine anti-smoking legislation.

    Watch BBC Panorama: Dirty Secrets of the Cigarette Business on iPlayer in the UK, or BBC World on Saturday 18 September 02:30GMT and 15:30 GMT, and Sunday 19 at 09:30 GMT and 21:30GMT.

  2. Court rules Mugabe's body can be exhumed

    Soldier looking at portrait of Mugabe
    Image caption: Robert Mugabe died in 2019 - two years after being overthrown

    A magistrate in Zimbabwe has said that the body of former President Robert Mugabe can be exhumed after a traditional leader said that his burial had violated cultural practices.

    Mugabe, who died aged 95 in 2019, was buried in a courtyard of his family homestead. But after a local court hearing in May, the traditional leader said the internment broke local custom, the Reuters news agency reported at the time.

    "I give powers to those who are permitted by law to exhume the late Robert Mugabe's remains from Kutama and rebury them at the National Heroes Acre in Harare," a copy of the ruling in the local Shona language quoted by Reuters said.

    Mugabe's family challenged that ruling, but a magistrate has dismissed the challenge.

    The family is likely to appeal to the High Court, the BBC's Shingai Nyoka says.

    Mugabe led Zimbabwe from independence in 1980 to 2017, when he was overthrown.

    His family says he remained bitter after being ousted from power and did not want to be buried at the national shrine.

  3. New twist in Robert Mugabe burial row

    Shingai Nyoka

    BBC News, Harare

    A soldier by Robert Mugabe's coffin as it lies in state - Zimbabwe, September 2019
    Image caption: Mugabe died in a Singapore hospital nearly two years after a coup ended his 37 years in power

    A Zimbabwean chief has denied reports that he had summoned former First Lady Grace Mugabe to his traditional court, in the latest twist in a row over the burial of ex-President Robert Mugabe.

    A summons in the name of Chief Zvimba, the traditional chief of Mugabe’s home region, has been circulating on social media.

    It accuses Mrs Mugabe of having gone against local culture by burying her husband at the family homestead, instead of a place "chosen by his relatives and mother".

    It says the late president's body should be exhumed and reburied "according to the culture of the Zvimba people".

    But according to Zimbabwe’s private NewsDay paper, the summons was delivered to the Mugabe home in the capital, Harare, by police officers and a presidential aide - and the complainant was actually a man from Mugabe’s rural village.

    "I know nothing about this issue,” Chief Zvimba told NewsDay.

    Mugabe, who led Zimbabwe to independence and ruled for 37 years, died in 2019 in a hospital in Singapore at the age of 95.

    His family decided on a private burial in Kutama in Zvimba district - about 90km (55 miles) west of Harare - after weeks of argument with the government led by Emmerson Mnangagwa, who replaced him in 2017.

    The army had forced Mugabe to step down after suspicions that he wanted his wife to succeed him.

    After his death two years later, he was buried under concrete at a small ceremony in the courtyard of his rural homestead reportedly in a steel coffin. National heroes are normally buried at a national shrine in Harare.

    His family says they were simply honouring the former president’s wishes

  4. Mugabe Trump comparison riles many

    Donald Trump

    Some people on Twitter have taken umbrage against a tweet by a former US official comparing President Donald Trump to Zimbabwe's late leader Robert Mugabe, over his comments alleging fraud, without evidence, in the US election.

    Samantha Power, who served as the UN ambassador in the administration of former President Barack Obama, tweeted that Mr Trump was "going full Robert Mugabe".

    View more on twitter

    Mugabe ruled Zimbabwe from 1980 until he was ousted in a coup in 2017. His stay in office for decades was secured through elections marred by widespread allegations of fraud.

    Ms Power's tweet was sent minutes after Mr Trump held a press briefing on Thursday, where he blamed his dwindling chances for re-election on votes cast illegally.

    He has been widely criticised for the comments with many saying that he was undermining US democratic systems.

    But some Africans on Twitter thought the comparison was a way of Americans pointing fingers at others instead of appreciating the problems in their own country.

    Here's a sample of a few of them:

    Quote Message: There really is no Robert Mugabe comparison here. Accept your president" from @Tomi_Oladipo
    Quote Message: only African elections are like this. Not elections in the sophisticated White west! Your inability to see and acknowledge America's flaws, and try to rebrand this as an African failure is outrageous. No, this is Western democracy behaviour. It's the USA, 100%. Own it." from @GlobalMediaPhD
    Quote Message: Ah.. Africa the bench mark of disaster. I remember the administration you served having its own favourite tyrants. Should I name them? Nah. You have their phone numbers." from @bahrzaf
  5. Robert Mugabe: Liberator and Despot

    Video content

    Video caption: Grant Ferret looks back at the divisive life of former Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe.

    Grant Ferret looks back at the divisive life of former Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe, who was forced out after decades in power in 2017.

  6. Mugabe to be buried at home not Heroes Acre

    People carrying a coffin
    Image caption: Former President Robert Mugabe was given a state funeral on 14 September

    In the latest episode in the saga of where Zimbabwe's former President Robert Mugabe will be buried, the family has reversed a decision to have him interred at Heroes Acre in the capital, Harare.

    Instead he will be buried in his home region of Zvimba.

    The location of his grave became a source of tension between the Mugabe family and the government.

    They blame the current leadership for Mr Mugabe's overthrow in November 2017. He was toppled after 37 years in power and replaced by current President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

    At his funeral, family member Walter Chidhakwa said he had died a "sad, sad, sad man".

    It was thought that the family had compromised over the site of his burial and agreed to Mr Mugabe being laid to rest at Heroes Acre, where those who fought colonial rule are buried, once a mausoleum had been built.

    But it seems there has been a change of heart.

    In a statement, Information Minister Nick Mangwana said the government will respect the wishes of the family and support them in providing a "fitting burial" in Zvimba.

    View more on twitter
  7. Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe 'died of cancer'

    Person walks past digital image of Robert Mugabe
    Image caption: Memorials like this digital image have been springing up in tribute to the former president

    Zimbabwe's former President Robert Mugabe died from cancer after his chemotherapy treatment was stopped, the country's state-run Herald newspaper quoted his successor Emmerson Mnangagwa as saying.

    The president gave two reasons for why doctors in Singapore had stopped the treatment:

    Quote Message: Because of age and also because the cancer had spread and it was not helping anymore."

    The 95-year-old former leader, who ruled Zimbabwe for 37 years from independence until he was ousted in a coup in November 2017, died earlier this month in Singapore, where he had been in hospital for several months.

    He will be buried in a mausoleum still under construction at Heroes Acre - a hilltop shrine just outside the capital, Harare, where many of the country's most prominent liberation fighters have been laid to rest.

    Read more:

  8. Video content

    Video caption: Robert Mugabe: Current and former African leaders attend funeral in Zimbabwe

    Current and former African leaders attend Robert Mugabe's funeral, but Zimbabwe's national stadium is not full.

  9. Video content

    Video caption: Robert Mugabe: Coffin arrives ahead of state funeral

    Former Zimbabwe president Robert Mugabe's coffin arrives at the national sports stadium in Harare ahead of his funeral.

  10. Mugabe burial agreement a compromise


    Andrew Harding

    BBC News

    he casket containing the body of Zimbabwe's late former president, Robert Mugabe is hoisted by soldiers on Thursday
    Image caption: Thousands gathered at a stadium in Harare on Thursday to see the late leader's body lie in state

    Zimbabwe's former President Robert Mugabe’s body will be buried at Heroes' Acre - a state cemetery for the country’s liberation leaders. That is what the government has always wanted.

    And it seems like a careful compromise after days of heated debate.

    There will be a public ceremony at the cemetery this Sunday. But the burial itself will take place in private at a later date that is yet to be announced.

    That will allow the Mugabe family to conduct its own separate ceremonies in the meantime. Their spokesman, Leo Mugabe, confirmed these details to the BBC.

    There is clearly plenty of bitterness between the Mugabes and those who forced the former president out of office in a coup in November 2017.

    This may be a compromise deal, but the state - and Mr Mugabe's successor President Emmerson Mnangagwa - have clearly emerged with the upper hand.

    Read more about the agreement here.