tv CNN Tonight With Don Lemon CNN September 5, 2019 11:00pm-12:00am PDT
this is cnn breaking news. >> and we're following the breaking news this hour. the former president of zimbabwe, robert mugabe, has died at the age of 95 years old. welcome to viewer here is in the united states and around the world. i'm george howell at the cnn center in atlanta. word of mr. mugabe's passing comes from the current president
of that nation. mugabe was the first head of government of zimbabwe at their independence in 1980 until november of 2017, that is, when military there had seized control of the country. the current president said this, quote, it is with the utmost sadness that i announce the passing on of zimbabwe's founding father and former president, comrade robert mugabe. comrade mugabe was an icon of liberation. the 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. our david mckenzie has a look at his complicated legacy. >> reporter: after 57 years in power demanding nothing less than absolute loyalty, robert mugabe's reign was never going to end at the ballot box. but few could have imagined
those two weeks in november 2017 when his military moved against him and his people took to the streets. so what did those crowds mean to former president mugabe? what did he say? >> he saw that they spoke. he saw that they spoke. >> did it break him? >> it moved him. it moved him in this sense that he realized they are speaking to say this is enough. >> reporter: in negotiations, the generals would salute the man they were looking to overthrow. still, the coup and his resignation was a humiliating exit for mugabe, whose very name came to define zimbabwe. >> this is a man who had so much to offer to zimbabweans, but he didn't. he focused on himself. what a tragedy. the death of robert mugabe breaks my heart within the context of the millions of lives
that he destroyed, the millions of lives that he wrecked. >> reporter: robert mugabe's legacy was built by violence and oppression. and an economic collapse so bad money became worthless and millions fled. for many, he left behind a shell of a country. >> i robert gabriel mugabe do swear -- >> reporter: so it's easy to forget that at first he was likened to nelson mandela. mugabe preached reconciliation after a brutal struggle he helped lead, repaired bonds with former colonial master britain. he was even knighted. >> historical links between the united kingdom and zimbabwe, which date from far back in history have grown from strength to strength over the years. >> reporter: the young zimbabwe became the envy of the continent. mugabe, trained as a teacher, presided over an education
revolution and a thriving agricultural powerhouse. >> robert mugabe was my hero, and i looked up to robert mugabe's eloquence. robert mugabe's confidence in postulating amazing positions, and i decided that this is a man that impressed me. >> reporter: but mugabe liked to say he had a degree in violence, and from the start he squashed dissent. >> translator: yes, i saw people being killed. i saw them killed, and you could not say a word. >> reporter: alice relives her trauma every day. her back was broken by the north korean trained fifth brigade as they swept through matabele land. meant to crush mugabe's rivals, civilians were targeted. victims chosen along ethnic lines. when mugabe's power was again threatened, this time at the
ballot, he sanctioned violent attack, seizing white-owned farms by so-called war veteran, strengthening his hand. and he crushed a rising opposition using his hold on state security. but the violence shocked the world. mugabe was abandoned by the west and its aid, and the country never fully recovered. >> they want to come to us and dictate to us what we must do. that shall never be, not in zimbabwe. never, never. whatever the cost. >> robert mugabe was not an idiot in the country. he worked hard for this country. mistakes were done, but he's a man who cared. but ultimately, of course, the president in the end wholly responsible for whatever action. >> reporter: actions throughout a long rule and rapid demise that many critics say were driven by mugabe's number one priority, himself.
>> and life in johannesburg are david mckenzie is with us now. david, you covered those last days of mugabe's rule. what do you remember about those last few days as he still wanted to cling to power? >> well, that was in 2017. and he did everything he could to cling on to power. you saw there the chief mediator of those talks. he had a sense that robert mugabe just eventually felt that his time was up, and he had to let go. he was forced out. but there was this sense as well that they made appearances that he was going willingly. he resigned in the end and was allowed to stay in the presidential palace and live with relative luxury. he died in singapore after a lengthy illness. many times he went to that
country and to asia in general to convalesce. and the man who was so erudite and confident at leading zimbabwe into liberation did slow down with age, become more confused in his public appearances, and in the end, as he left the scene, he wasn't the powerful leader, but someone who sort of faded into obscurity. but the legacy of robert mugabe in zimbabwe certainly is being felt still today. >> to your point, i remember one of the news conferences, david, we spoke about this, where it seemed to be a long rambling news conference, this as we saw the power of transition to emmerson mnangagwa. one question that many people, as they look at his leadership during the years, his crackdown on dissent and the day that he moved on from power.
you remember the streets of the capital city, many people in the streets cheering for hope. >> that's right, george. it was a hopeful moment, and people poured on to the streets and celebrated the end of the rule of robert mugabe. unfortunately, that hope turned to reality now and in some cases to despair because the economy of zimbabwe is struggling massively. there have been strikes and opposition and general protests in recent weeks. teachers on strike, and they just haven't been able to move beyond the legacy of mugabe. you read that statement from emmerson mnangagwa, the current president of zimbabwe, and he praised his predecessor, but he was the right-hand man of mugabe. and subsequently, many feel that the policies and practices particularly of the security forces have continued that iron grip on the country. so zimbabwe maybe has an opportunity today to take stock
and try restart again to get beyond this legacy that was tainted so much. >> a man who was as revered by many as he was reviled by many others. david mckenzie following the story. david, thank you for the reporting. we'll of course keep in touch with you on this. let's bring in now for perspective jeff hill. jeff is live on the line from johannesburg, the chief africa correspondent for the washington times and the author of the book "what happens after mugabe." on the day of the death of robert mugabe, the question to you, what do you make of his legacy? >> george, very mixed in that zimbabwe some of your other correspondents pointed out had the best education system in africa, one of the best in the world, where kids of course learned calculus and algebra and shakespeare, but he made no
provision of the needs, the needs of an educated workforce. and so unemployment went up to 90% by 2010. that was the hopelessness that we saw breaking out in more and more violence as he tried to keep control. it really was about unemployment and unfulfilled expectations of his people. >> when you hear from people who remember and were part of the liberation movement, again, this was a person who was compared to nelson mandela. but as we saw in 2017, as we saw younger people on the streets cheering, chanting, hoping for a change in government, he certainly had two very different personas in that country. >> well, indeed. and people were saying at the time when there were literally across the country millions of people on the streets in towns and cities and hamlets. who are these millions who have been voting for mugabe all the time and giving him these
enormous majorities? of course as we know, the elections were cheated. he stayed in for a long time. george, you have to look at two zimbabwes. you have to look northward, his majority shona people, where he was already reviled. the genocide he carried out in 1983 to 1987 in the south against the matabele. they have never forgotten that. he did leave up to some 40,000 people dead simply as a way of crushing political opposition. >> at this point, many people are looking at that nation, asking what is the change politically and economically for people under the leadership of emmerson mnangagwa, whose nickname is the crocodile, a person who worked alongside robert mugabe. what is the difference? >> there isn't a great deal of difference. that's the difficulty.
mnangagwa was part of the genocide of the 1980s. he was part of the crackdown on white farms. he was part of the bulldozing of shanty towns around the capital because so many of the urban people had moved to town in search of jobs and were becoming restless. he was mugabe's first, his iron fist. and of course that's now the man who has come to power. i hear my fellow zimbabweans, because it's my ehome country, i hear zimbabweans say mnangagwa is worse. no, nothing has been done really to arrests we've seen over recent years. >> giving his importance to the founding of the nation, what does the death of robert mugabe mean for people there? >> it could be used as a chance to change. and my sense is that there might
be a willingness from the united states where of course much of the zimbabwe regime is banned from entering, personal sanctions, from europe, australia, canada. it could be a chance if mnangagwa takes it to open up and reach out. but he would need to bring in real change. the dilemma, george, is that if mnangagwa holds a democratic free and fair election, let's go of state control of the media, the ruling party would probably lose. if he keeps the crackdown and the power in his own hands, then he can carry on forever, but he will not reenkbaj with the democracies who have made it quite clear they want to see proper change. >> jeff hill on the line giving us perspective on the death of robert mugabe, the breaking news this day here on cnn. robert mugabe has died at the age of 95. again, jeff hill, thank you again for taking time to speak with us. well, we continue to follow
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yeah...yeah, this is nice. hmm. how did you make the dip so rich and creamy? oh it's a philadelphia-- family recipe. can i see it? no. philadelphia dips. so good, you'll take all the credit. we continue to follow hurricane dorian here along the u.s. east coast. that hurricane has weakened slightly. now a category 1 storm. look at there, churning, right there along the coastline. it's hitting the coast of north carolina with winds right now of 90 miles, or 150 kilometers per hour. before losing some of its strength, dorian caused a lot of flooding there in parts of the carolinas, spawned a number of tornadoes as well. it left hundreds of thousands of people in the dark. and in the bahamas, a much, much worse story. every day brings much clearer view of just how bad that storm
hit there. hundreds of people there are still missing. so many structures destroyed while the official death toll has risen to 30. the country's health minister warns the final number will be in his words, quote, huge. our meteorologist karen maginnis is on deck in the international weather center. karen? >> yes, george, it has been over a week, august 29th. that was the last time dorian was a category 1. now it's a category 1, finally. and it's picked up speed. 90-mile-an-hour winds. some higher gusts, up to 120 miles per hour. it is battering the coastline of north carolina. i'm going to add a new word to your lexicon, and that is a little bit of a wobble. but the overall trend as this moves towards the northeast at 15 miles an hour, sometimes it just kind of wiggles right along what would otherwise be a straight path.
but these never move in a straight line. they just kind of weave back and forth a little bit. it's coming very close to that cape lookout point, right here. this is cape hatteras. this is a very vulnerable shoreline. as we mentioned earlier, you heard george mention, there were tornadoes associated with hurricanes. you typically think of tornadoes as something that happens over the great plains of the united states or in the deep south. but over the last two days, 24 tornadoes, most notably emerald isle. lots of damage there. also near new bern, north carolina, and we're still seeing some isolated reports of possible tornadoes, especially right up here in this extreme northeastern corner of north carolina. but some of these outer bands really are firing up quite a bit. typically, these tornadoes are short-lived. they're not as strong, but if you've been battered by a hurricane, and your home is destroyed or damaged by a
tornado, it's a big deal. all right. this is the view as we look right along the coast. some of the wind gusts here up around 100 miles an hour. as i mentioned, take note of some of these higher topped thunderstorms that can trigger or spawn some tornadoes, because there is just a lot of dynamics in the lower levels of the atmosphere, and some of these spin up and can produce those tornadoes. in addition, storm surge, heavy rainfall. charleston set a record of rainfall. more than 7 inches of rainfall, or just about 175 millimeter, george. and it's continuing tonight, but at least we're seeing it weaker and moving away from the coast. >> all right, karen. we'll keep watching this storm. again, right now there in north carolina, hitting many of those communities quite hard. thank you, karen. some of the worst devastation that we've seen so far is in the abaco islands of the bahamas. paula newton and her crew maybe
it to one part of that area, and she saw devastation, just unbelievable. power lines destroyed, homes destroyed, along with a great deal of resilience. here is her exclusive report. >> reporter: the people on the abaco islands that we spoke to are still trying to process everything they've gone through, and now trying to figure out what happens next. when they look at their own city, their own towns, their own streets, they cannot believe what they survived. take a listen. it is so much worse than they had feared. the abaco islands forever scarred now by mass destruction. home after home, entire rooftops blown away, debris scattered in unrecognizable heaps. boats tossed like confetti. the images belie the obvious question, how could anyone survive this. >> oh my god. >> okay, okay, okay.
you're okay. you're going to be okay. >> i know, i know. >> reporter: we arrived by helicopter in man-o-war, embracing his wife shanna after days of not knowing if she was dead or alive. shanna hunker down with friends in a seaside home until the roof blew off and they all scrambled. this is what kept you alive? >> this little room kept us alive. this is it. we came in and hunkered down, and shanna was on the ground crying, and we were just trying to -- >> i was hysterical. >> reporter: what did it sound like in here at the time? >> it was loud. >> there was a lot of crashing. all the crash and banging and whirling. >> and stuff we thought was coming through this wall. >> reporter: so many in the
abaco islands lived through hours that resembled a horror movie, exposed to winds that topped 215 miles per hour like tornadoes touching down every minute. >> words can't describe it. i don't wish it on nobody. nobody. words can't describe it. they could never categorize this, never. >> my grandfather ran out. >> it was like an atomic bomb went off. >> reporter: residents here tell me their little island paradise is unrecognizable, even to them. they're resourceful and self-reliant, they say, but they could have never imagined a storm as powerful as dorian. you know, there is no better way to describe to you the force of hurricane dorian than to be right here where people rode out the storm in their living rooms, in their dining rooms. look at this. the roof blew off the house here. the entire kitchen came down. their refrigerator ended up here on the ground. their living room and dining
room furniture is strewn all over. people describe these things being tossed around the island like projectiles. they all cowered, hovered in their bathrooms and closets. anything they could find to take shelter. there are now the beginnings of recovery, but only the basics. medical attention, private helicopters to take out those who are sick, the elderly, young families. >> i'm sure it will never be the same again, but i mean, the people are strong here. we're going try to do our best to rebuild the best way we can, but we know it will never be the same. >> reporter: this was a storm of biblical proportions, abaconians tell me. and yes, they worry it will take a miracle to recover from it all. now these people are terrified about what comes next, still traumatized by this storm. it is the death toll that worries them. they know it will rise an neck
co dotely. they're also wondering whether or not it will be possible to rebuild given the magnitude of the destruction. paula newton, cnn, nassau. >> paula, thank you. still ahead, he ruled over zimbabwe for more than three decades before being ousted in a coup. now reaction to the death of robert mugabe. it is mixed. more on that story ahead. plus, the bahamas, the devastation there is unthinkable. it's everywhere. >> we don't know if anybody was here, but it's hard to imagine they could have survived, because residents say the storm surge, and you can see the line just up there, got this high. >> we get an exclusive look at one of the hardest hit areas by dorian. live in the united states and around the world, you're wat watching "cnn newsroom." ♪
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this is cnn breaking news. >> we continue following the breaking news this day. the death of former president robert mugabe of zimbabwe, dead at the age of 95 years old. i'm george howell at the cnn center in atlanta. mugabe was the first head of government of zimbabwe after independence in 1980. in november of 2017, the military took control of the country. mugabe led the zimbabwe african national union to overthrow the white minority government of ian smith and to bring independence to the territory that would go on to be recognized as zimbabwe in 1980. on this story this hour, we
bring in farai avenzo. i remember when you covered the transition in that country. there were so many people on the streets who were excited about the hope, the possibility of change. first of all, what does the death of mugabe mean to people on this day? and did they see the change that they were hoping for? >> when the event happened, it was the end of a huge era, 37 years of one man being in control of one country. and people were excited because everybody wanted change. but the reality is that this man who had died, he was basically the founding father, one of the founding fathers of the other wing of the revolutionary movement, which brought independence to zimbabwe.
in the '70s and '80s when the whole of southern africa was gripped by apartheid. you're talking about zimbabwe and namibia, and he was seen as a hero. but of course, as everybody knows the old cliche, absolute power corrupts absolutely. somehow he lost his way and began an incredible descent into what zimbabwe became, which is a billion dollars worth of inflation and all the rest of it. but november 2017, people were excited to see him leave because he had been there for so long. but his death really brought the end of an era of -- >> we may have just lost farai sevenzo. but again, we are covering the death of robert mugabe. robert mugabe, the former president of zimbabwe, who has died at the age of 95 years old.
and our farai sevenzo was telling us about the day he covered the transition of power to the current president emmerson mnangagwa. many people were excited. they were elate about the possibility of change in that nation. our farai sevenzo pointing out not a great deal of change has happened. we will continue to follow the story and bring you more as we learn more. the other big story we're following, hurricane dorian. it has weakened slightly in the atlantic ocean. now a category 1 storm. it's brushing along the east coast. right now near north carolina. dorian has been leaving, though, a trail of destruction for many days now. one part of south carolina got more than 7.5 inches of rain. that's about 19 centimeters in just six hours' time. before that, the bahamas was devastated by dorian. take a look at these images.
man-0-war. it essentially sat over the islands and churned for two days, hitting that island chain with a great deal of power and rain. some areas in the bahamas have been cut off since that storm passed through. high rock and on grand bahama isle, for instance, no one could get there to see the level of destruction until now. our patrick ottman shows us what's left behind in this exclusive report. >> we're only about an hour from freeport, but it took us much longer to get here, driving around debris like this, you can see in every direction for miles all the power lines are down. hurricane dorian came here and ripped the roof clean off. but not only that, you think of the power that a storm needs to knock down entire cement walls. we don't know if anybody was
here, but it's hard to imagine they could have survived because residents say the storm surge, and you can see the line just up there, got this high, almost all the way to the roof. 17 feet that. >> said. they measured it. you can see the water stains all the way down to the ground. devastation everywhere you look. and the town goes all the way back to the water. there are some 300 homes here. every home is either damaged or destroyed. you can see where the wind mashed into the sign, but somehow didn't tear it off. just slabs of concrete, and they've been thrown around like they were nothing, like they weighed nothing. this is the high rock prison. there is only one jail cell, and it's not guarding anybody now. we don't know if anybody was
here when the storm came behind bars. they certainly didn't stick around. there is nothing left in this town, and the people say they've yet to receive any help from the government. like so many bahamians, they are waiting for that assistance to come. patrick oppmann, cnn, the town of high rock on grand bahama island. >> joining now to talk more about what happened with this storm is christy de la field. christy from mercy corps joining us this hour from nassau. thank you for being with us. >> thanks so much for having me. >> so the images of devastation that we've seen from the islands is simply staggering. keeping in mind this storm parked itself over grand bahama island so, many structures in high rock and freeport just leveled by dorian. throughout the bahamas, what is your organization seeing there? >> well, mercy corps is particularly concerned about the people in abaco who by all
accounts have no longer have access to clean water. this is a series of islands that are largely getting water supplies from wells. and the extreme flooding has contaminated all the groundwater with saltwater. so we're looking at how we can bring in as a humanitarian community, desalinization equipment on a large scale, and then mercy corps is looking to bring in water filter, water purification tablet, jerry cans, all of that good stuff to help people stay healthy. we have boxes of solar lanterns that have these little usb chargers. they're pretty nifty, and it means you can charge your phone. people can connect with their families, their loved ones who haven't heard about them and are incredibly worried about them, as well as access of emergency services. but honestly, there is so much work to do. as you say, we look at these images, and we're talking about a destruction that seems near total. >> look, you talk about those
important items, the things that people need to survive -- water, food, medicine. how difficult is it to get those things to people. look, christy, when i see these image, and i've been out there in storms like this covering them, the roads are filled with debris. sometimes the roads are gone. so many homes are leveled. so many people are missing. how do you get the resources to people? >> this is the biggest challenge, honestly. and it's the thing that makes us impatient, and i know it's the thing that makes your viewers impatient also, because we can see how desperately the aid is needed. we are looking at islands where airports have been destroyed or have been incapacitated for hours, and really, it's all about kind of triage, and looking at what needs to be done first, second and third. this is not going to be a short recovery. this is a long recovery. so we're starting with letting the authorities get search and
rescue equipment in. that first view -- those first few days are so much about life-saving moments, medical evacuations are the first priority. and meanwhile, we're mobilizing, we're working to get supplies ready, and we're working to line up the transportation that we're going to need to bring those supplies in. this is an all hands on deck situation, and everyone's help is needed. >> what are people doing as far as just getting shelter? those basic necessities over these hours after the storm? >> it is hot. it is humid. it is stressful. and you want to -- you were talking about the storm parking itself over these islands. this is something that we're seeing more and more, that climate scientists say is happening more and more, that storms are moving more slowly, that they are supercharged, that they are larger, and that they're hovering over places, over land for longer periods of time. so we're going to see this happening more.
but you can imagine just how traumatic it's been for people. so in addition to those basic needs for shelter, for clean water, we're also looking at kind of a potential mental health crisis, a need for people to get psychological care, get just that basic comfort, just that basic care giving, to reconnect with each other and with their families, and to be reminded that they're all right, that they've made it through. and that's something that is so important in the aftermath of a really grueling experience that people have been through. >> christy delafield, we appreciate your time, giving us insight about what's happening there. thank you. >> thank you so much. >> and this hour, that storm continues to churn there along the u.s. east coast. we'll be right back after this.
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hurricane dorian is scraping along the u.s. east coast right now, hitting the state of north carolina this hour, as you see here by radar, though a positive sign to tell you about. it has now weakened to a category 1 storm. its winds right now up to 90 miles per hour, or nearly 145 kilometers per hour, though that still brings plenty of heavy rain to those areas an the potential for more floods for tornadoes, and a lot of destruction. the storm already devastated the islands of the bahamas. take a look at these images. you see what's left over. and not much, really. 30 people have been reported killed, and officials warn that number will likely rise. now to the u.s. president. donald trump doubles down on his la claims that the state of alabama was once in dorian's path. he used an outdated model when he made that claim.
as early as thursday afternoon he was still trying to convince a reporter for fox news that he had been right all along. he wasn't. our kaitlan collins has this. >> reporter: president trump is now on day five of insisting alabama was in the path of hurricane dorian. >> that was the original chart. >> reporter: after being ridiculed for displaying a forecast map altered by a black marker to prove his point, trump tweeted that alabama was going to be hit or grazed and then hurricane dorian took a different path. he now says he was referencing early predictions when he claimed alabama could be impacted. >> i know that alabama was in the original forecast. >> reporter: but he first made that assertion sunday, long after the state was ruled out as a potential target. while the gulf coast was shown as a possible threat for dorian's track in early projections, by friday, the guidance had shifted to florida's east coast, two days
before trump said this. >> this just came up, unfortunately. >> reporter: the president canceled a trip to poland to monitor the storm, and the white house said he was being updated every hour, meaning he would have known that information. instead of admitting the error and moving on, trump is insisting he's right, even tweeting out projections last night from over a week ago with dated information. the spaghetti models the president is using as a defense are updated four times a day, meaning by the time trump made this claim sunday -- >> alabama could even be in for at least some very strong winds and something more than that it could be. >> reporter: they had been updated at least 15 times. it's against the law to knowingly issue or publish a false weather forecast, though right now both fema and noaa are referring all questions back to the white house where aides are refusing to say who it was that altered the map and won't rule out that it was the president.
>> i don't know. i don't know, i don't know. >> now regardless of who made that alteration to that map, the president has made clear he has no intention of becoming off or admitting that he was wrong about alabama, continuing to tweet old maps that show that there was a chance the storm could hit the state, even as hurricane dorian was hitting the carolinas on thursday. kaitlan collins, cnn, the white house. latest check in mobile, alabama. sunny skies there. widespread destruction, though, to tell you about in the bahamas. people there are reportedly -- of course many people missing, many people desperate, searching for loved ones. we'll hear from some residents there as "newsroom" continues. to turn their unsold seats into amazing deals, family reunion attendance is up. we're all related! yeah, i see it. and because priceline offers great deals by comparing thousands of prices in real time, sports fans are seeing more away games. various: yeah-h-h! is that safe? oh, y... ahh!
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across the bahamas, officials say thousands are still missing. the access to try to get to the hardest-hit areas is limited. cnn spoke with one resident who was waiting anxiously to hear from her family. >> the last we heard from them was days ago. and now, we're getting information, trickling from one or two settlements. but as i said earlier, there's nine settlements of abaco. and it seems like the residents were just washed from the planet. we're not hearing from them. >> we have an update from her situation. her family is safe. her grandmother and a few other relatives got on a rescue flight on a hard-hit area from abaco.
it could be weeks before others can get updates on their family members. organizations like amercare and salvation army are raising money for supplies and relief efforts. on ideas on how you can help, go to cnn.com/impact. i'm george howell. we'll be back with more of your top stories. ♪ ♪ ♪ applebee's handcrafted burgers now starting at $7.99 now that's eatin' good in the neighborhood.
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this is cnn breaking news. >> we're following two major breaking news story this hour. welcome to viewers here in the united states and around the world. i'm george howell at the cnn center in atlanta. we'll have the latest on dorian. but first, the former president of zimbabwe, robert mougabemuga died. he was in a military coup just two years ago, leaving a complicated and controversial legacy behind. >> reporter: after 37 years in power, demanding nothing less