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Zimbabwe: Defiant Mugabe ousted as Zanu-PF leader after 37 years in office *ARCHIVE*01:46

Zimbabwe: Defiant Mugabe ousted as Zanu-PF leader after 37 years in office *ARCHIVE*

Zimbabwe, Harare
November 19, 2017 at 12:40 GMT -00:00 · Published

This is perhaps the watershed moment in Robert Mugabe's 37-year rule - his last public engagement as head of state.The normally smiling and joking ruler of Zimbabwe looked down and distrait as presided over a student graduation ceremony at Zimbabwe Open University on the outskirts of Harare last Friday. Dressed in a blue and yellow academic gown and cap, it looked like the past 72-hours had taken their toll on the world's oldest ruler. He had been under hour arrest since Tuesday night when the military he once commanded turned on him in a bid to force him to step down. It was a far cry from his 93rd birthday celebrations in February when his wife Grace Mugabe led the crowd in birthday song at a lavish bash organised by his ruling Zanu-PF party. Gucci Grace, as she was sometimes called due to her appetite for shopping, was gradually positioning herself as a potential successor to her husband who is 41 years her senior. A move that would eventually seal his fate. Hundreds of supporters packed the areas surrounding the birthday tent in Zimbabwe's second largest city of Bulawayo, decorated with all trimmings and several giant cakes served to party loyalists as the Robert and Grace Mugabe looked on from the stage. But as Mugabe addressed the crowd about his age it was clear he was frail, often pausing between sentences. Just a few months earlier in September 2016 with the world's press cameras rolling, he looked at ease as he posed with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro for 17th Non-Aligned Movement Summit on Margarita Island in the Caribbean Sea.

Zimbabwe: Defiant Mugabe ousted as Zanu-PF leader after 37 years in office *ARCHIVE*01:46
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This is perhaps the watershed moment in Robert Mugabe's 37-year rule - his last public engagement as head of state.The normally smiling and joking ruler of Zimbabwe looked down and distrait as presided over a student graduation ceremony at Zimbabwe Open University on the outskirts of Harare last Friday. Dressed in a blue and yellow academic gown and cap, it looked like the past 72-hours had taken their toll on the world's oldest ruler. He had been under hour arrest since Tuesday night when the military he once commanded turned on him in a bid to force him to step down. It was a far cry from his 93rd birthday celebrations in February when his wife Grace Mugabe led the crowd in birthday song at a lavish bash organised by his ruling Zanu-PF party. Gucci Grace, as she was sometimes called due to her appetite for shopping, was gradually positioning herself as a potential successor to her husband who is 41 years her senior. A move that would eventually seal his fate. Hundreds of supporters packed the areas surrounding the birthday tent in Zimbabwe's second largest city of Bulawayo, decorated with all trimmings and several giant cakes served to party loyalists as the Robert and Grace Mugabe looked on from the stage. But as Mugabe addressed the crowd about his age it was clear he was frail, often pausing between sentences. Just a few months earlier in September 2016 with the world's press cameras rolling, he looked at ease as he posed with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro for 17th Non-Aligned Movement Summit on Margarita Island in the Caribbean Sea.

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