Henry Olonga takes ‘no pleasure’ from ex-president Mugabe’s death

Henry Olonga playing for Zimbabwe against New Zealand in 2003 - one of his last matches for his country, aged just 26.

ZIMBABWE’S first black Test cricketer Henry Olonga, who was forced to flee the country after protesting against Robert Mugabe, says he takes “no pleasure” from the ex-president’s death.

Mugabe died aged 95 on Friday.
He was ousted during a military coup in 2017 following years of violent repression and economic ruin.

“People have been saying perhaps I’ll have a drink as a toast, but I get no pleasure from his death,” Olonga said.

“In fact, it makes me incredibly sad, because for all he could have represented, he failed to scale the heights of someone like Nelson Mandela. He became a megalomaniac, a power-hungry tyrant, a dictator and a man who subjugated his own people while purporting to be representing them.”

Olonga, who now lives in Adelaide, Australia, wore a black armband in support of a pro-democracy protest in Harare at the 2003 Cricket World Cup, which was jointly hosted by Zimbabwe, Kenya and South Africa.

He was joined by captain Andy Flower, and the pair issued a statement to journalists at the Harare Sports Club in which they denounced the “death of democracy” in their homeland.
The action made headlines across the world – and effectively ended their international careers.
Olonga was exiled from his homeland and faced death threats, fleeing to England and never playing for Zimbabwe again. (BBC Sport)