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Monday September 16th, 2019 8:58PM

The Latest: Mugabe named Zimbabwe national hero after death

By The Associated Press
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HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) — The Latest on the death of former Zimbabwe leader Robert Mugabe (all times local):

7:00 p.m.

Zimbabwe's president has declared former President Robert Mugabe a national hero, the country's highest posthumous honor.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa said the African country would observe an official mourning period until Mugabe is buried; he didn't say when the funeral would take place.

Mnangagwa announced on Friday that Mugabe died in Singapore at age 95. He didn't say when the body would return to Zimbabwe.

He thanked Singapore for "unmatched hospitality and medical care they extended to our leader up to the very end"

Mnangagwa was a long-time loyalist until Mugabe fired him from his Cabinet in 2017. He called Mugabe "a great teacher and mentor" and a "remarkable statesman of our century."

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5:25 p.m.

Amnesty International says that Robert Mugabe, who led Zimbabwe for almost four decades, left behind "an indelible stain on his country's human rights record."

Mugabe died on Friday at the age of 95, two years after being forced to give up power.

The human rights group said Mugabe's early years as a leader saw "notable achievements" through his heavy investment in health care and education. But the group said he later eroded his own track record, citing the harassment and killings of political opponents under his leadership.

Muleya Mwananyanda, Amnesty International's Deputy Regional Director for Southern Africa, said: "While casting himself as the saviour of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe inflicted lasting damage upon its people and its reputation."

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4:45 p.m.

A human rights activist is remembering Zimbabwe's longtime leader Robert Mugabe as a tyrant who killed more black Africans than even the apartheid regime in South Africa.

Peter Tatchell, who is British, also said it was sad that the strongman died without ever facing justice.

Tatchell twice attempted to carry out a citizens' arrest of Mugabe on charges of torture and other human rights abuses, in 1999 and 2001, but they were unsuccessful.

Mugabe died Friday in Singapore at the age of 95. An ex-guerrilla chief, Mugabe took power after independence from white minority rule in 1980 and presided over a country whose early promise was eroded by economic turmoil and allegations of human rights violations.

Tatchell said: "Robert Mugabe was a liberation hero who turned tyrant. He massacred more black Africans than even the evil apartheid regime in South Africa."

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3 p.m.

Zimbabwe's opposition leader says he is "mourning with the rest of Africa" over the death of former president Robert Mugabe but also acknowledged the pain that the country faced over "decades of political disputes" surrounding his governance.

The former leader of Zimbabwe was forced to resign in 2017 after a 37-year rule whose early promise was eroded by economic turmoil, disputed elections and human rights violations. He died on Friday at age 95.

Speaking on Friday, Nelson Chamisa, the leader of Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) gave his condolences to the family of Mugabe.

He acknowledged Mugabe's place as one of Zimbabwe's founding fathers, but also referred to problems of human rights in Zimbabwe and the "deficits of governance" during his years of rule.

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2:30 p.m.

Kenya's president has ordered flags lowered to half-staff following the death of Zimbabwe's longtime ruler Robert Mugabe.

President Uhuru Kenyatta said that the period of national mourning would run from dawn on Saturday until sunset on Monday and would involve flags lowered at all public buildings and military posts.

He called it a "mark of respect for the memory of this African hero and friend of our country."

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1:35 p.m.

The president of Kenya is mourning the death of Zimbabwe's longtime leader Robert Mugabe and recalling him as an African freedom fighter.

Uhuru Kenyatta said that Kenyans will remember Mugabe as "a man of courage." Mugabe died in a hospital in Singapore on Friday at the age of 95.

Kenyatta described Mugabe in a statement as "an elder statesman, a freedom fighter and a Pan-Africanist who played a major role in shaping the interests of the African continent."

He said his thoughts and prayers went out to Mugabe's family, relatives and the people of Zimbabwe, "who, for many years, he served with commitment and dedication."

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1:15 p.m.

Singapore's Foreign Ministry says it is working with the Embassy of Zimbabwe to fly the body of Robert Mugabe home to Zimbabwe for burial following the death of the former African leader.

Mugabe died at the age of 95 on Friday in the Gleneagles Hospital in the wealthy southeast Asian city-state of Singapore, where he had received treatment in recent years.

A spokesperson for Singapore's Foreign Ministry also expressed condolences on Mugabe's death.

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12:30 p.m.

The former president of Congo, Joseph Kabila, has paid homage to Robert Mugabe, the longtime former leader of Zimbabwe who died on Friday.

Kabila said: "The entire continent has just lost one of the great panafricanists, the lineage of the heroes of the struggle for independence."

Congo and Zimbabwe once enjoyed very close ties, and Mugabe provided critical military support to the government of Kabila's father, Laurent Kabila, in 1998, when Rwandan troops were at the doorstep of Congo's capital Kinshasa.

In his statement, Kabila said: "We will forever remember the worthy son of Africa, who flew to the rescue of our country, then a victim of external aggression."

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12 p.m.

China has called Zimbabwe's late Robert Mugabe a "prominent leader" who firmly defended the country's sovereignty.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said Friday that China deeply mourns Mugabe's death. Geng said the former president opposed foreign interference and actively promoted China's relations with Zimbabwe and Africa at large.

Mugabe ended his 37-year rule with a forced resignation in 2017. The early promise of his leadership was eroded by economic turmoil, disputed elections and human rights violations.

His successor, President Emmerson Mnangagwa, confirmed Mugabe's death at 95 on Friday.

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11:15

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa confirmed that Mugabe died in Singapore in a statement sending condolences on behalf of the government and people of South Africa.

He called Mugabe Zimbabwe's first post-independence president and said: "Under President Mugabe's leadership, Zimbabwe's sustained and valiant struggle against colonialism inspired our own struggle against apartheid and built in us the hope that one day South Africa too would be free."

He also acknowledged Mugabe's role in "advancing regional solidarity, integration and development through Zimbabwe's participation in the Southern African Development Community."

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10:00 a.m.

The Gleneagles Hospital in the wealthy southeast Asian city-state of Singapore, where former Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe has received treatment in recent years, sent a statement of condolence on his passing.

The hospital's parent company, Parkway Pantai, says in an emailed statement, "We are saddened by the news of the passing of Mr Robert Mugabe" and expresses its condolences to his family and loved ones.

It says it cannot give further information "out of respect for the privacy of Mr Mugabe and his family."

The hospital would not confirm that he was being treated there at the time of his death Friday.

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8:50 a.m.

Robert Mugabe, the former leader of Zimbabwe forced to resign in 2017 after a 37-year rule whose early promise was eroded by economic turmoil, disputed elections and human rights violations, has died. He was 95.

His successor President Emmerson Mnangagwa confirmed Mugabe's death in a tweet Friday, mourning him as an "icon of liberation." He did not provide details.

"Cde (Comrade) Mugabe was an icon of liberation, a pan-Africanist who dedicated his life to the emancipation and empowerment of his people. His contribution to the history of our nation and continent will never be forgotten. May his soul rest in eternal peace," Mnangagwa said.

Mugabe, who took power after white minority rule ended in 1980, blamed Zimbabwe's economic problems on international sanctions and once said he wanted to rule for life.

But growing discontent about the southern African country's fractured leadership and other problems prompted a military intervention, impeachment proceedings by the parliament and large street demonstrations for his removal.

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