When did Robert Mugabe become President of Zimbabwe?
1976 unofficially and officially in 1980 After a series of small raids into Zimbabwe by exiled ZANU and ZAPU forces in the early 1970s, the war between black nationalists and the Rhodesian government began in earnest in 1972. Mugabe was freed in 1974 and became active in the further development of ZANU’s guerrilla army. Under Mugabe’s inspiration ZANU evolved as a Marxist-Leninist party fighting a popular war of liberation. With the backing of radicals within ZANU, Mugabe formally replaced Sithole as leader of ZANU in 1976, and ZANU and ZAPU joined forces militarily as the Patriotic Front (PF). The combined guerrilla force successfully fought government troops in the late 1970s, eventually forcing the government to negotiate with moderate black leaders. The white government tried to compromise by installing a coalition government in 1979, but later the same year agreed on a transition to full black majority rule. This was achieved in 1980 when the first free elections were held in the