Robert Mugabe's rule in facts and figures


Added 6th September 2019 02:37 PM

When Mugabe came to power in 1980, life expectancy at birth in Zimbabwe was 59.4 years, rising to 60.8 years in 1986.

Mugabe999 703x422

July 1, 1984: Zimbabwe's Prime Minister Robert Mugabe clenches his fist during a meeting in Harare stadium. (AFP)

When Mugabe came to power in 1980, life expectancy at birth in Zimbabwe was 59.4 years, rising to 60.8 years in 1986.


Data on health, economics, corruption, press freedom and migration reveals much about Robert Mugabe's 37-year rule.


Life expectancy

When Mugabe came to power in 1980, life expectancy at birth in Zimbabwe was 59.4 years, rising to 60.8 years in 1986, according to the World Bank.

It then crashed to just 44.1 years by 2002 -- a devastating indictment of his rule.

In 2006, the World Health Organization put it even lower at 34 years for women and 37 for men -- the worst figures worldwide.

The major causes were HIV-AIDS, the collapse of healthcare and falling standards of living as the country's economy crumbled.

Life expectancy has now risen to 61.4 years according to WHO, largely due to international aid funding.

Mugabe died aged 95.


 ay 18 1995  resident ill linton with his imbabwean counterpart obert ugabe at the hite ouse May 18, 1995: US President Bill Clinton with his Zimbabwean counterpart Robert Mugabe at the White House


GDP growth

Erratic GDP growth and decline has exposed Zimbabwe's torrid economic woes... and its potential.

1980: +14.4%

1992: -9%

1996: +10.3%

2003: -16.9%

2008: -17.6%

2011: +14.1%

2015: +1.7%

2018: +6.1%


 arch 5 1999 outh frican resident elson andela and his imbabwean and amibian counterparts resident obert ugabe and am ujoma shake hands after a joint press conference in retoria March 5, 1999: South African President Nelson Mandela and his Zimbabwean and Namibian counterparts President Robert Mugabe and Sam Nujoma shake hands after a joint press conference in Pretoria



The HIV infection rate climbed sharply to a peak in 1997 at 27 percent of all 15 to 49-year-olds.

With a massive, foreign-funded treatment programme, it fell to 13.3 percent in 2017.

Last year Zimbabwe still had one of the highest HIV prevalences in sub-Saharan Africa, with 1.3 million people living with HIV.

But nearly every pregnant woman now has access to anti retroviral medicines, according to


 uly 28 2013 resident ugabe greets his supporters alongside his wife race after his address at a rally in arare July 28, 2013: President Mugabe greets his supporters alongside his wife Grace after his address at a rally in Harare



Zimbabwe has consistently been ranked as one of the most corrupt countries in the world, rated at 160th out of 180 last year.

Transparency International said that the problems range from "petty, bureaucratic and political corruption to grand forms of corruption involving high level-officials."

It also highlighted "the deeply entrenched system of political patronage, the tight grip of the ruling party over the security forces, and the history of political violence, repression and manipulation."


 eptember 12 2005 uban resident idel astro shakes hands with ugabe at the tate ouncil in avana September 12, 2005: Cuban President Fidel Castro shakes hands with Mugabe at the State Council in Havana


Press Freedom

Zimbabwe is one of the least open countries for press freedom in the world. In 2002 it was ranked 122nd out of 139, and in 2019 127th out of 180.

Reporters Without Borders said that the government controls the two main newspapers, and all radio and television. Journalists must be accredited and foreign correspondents have been arrested and deported.


 pril 18 2017 chool children hold an image of resident ugabe during the countrys 37th ndependence ay celebrations at the ational ports tadium in arare April 18, 2017: School children hold an image of President Mugabe during the country's 37th Independence Day celebrations at the National Sports Stadium in Harare



Figures are hard to pin down, but the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has said about three million Zimbabweans are believed to live abroad.

Many of them fled due the economic crisis, heading to South Africa, Botswana, the Middle East, the United States, Britain and Australia.

"Emigration particularly after 2000 contributed significantly to brain drain especially in the health and education sectors," IOM said.

"Zimbabwe was left incapacitated in terms of service delivery."



Former Zimbabwe president Robert Mugabe dies

PICTURES: When Mugabe visited Uganda



More From The Author

Related articles