Amnesty International has said that Robert Mugabe, who led Zimbabwe for almost four decades, left behind "an indelible stain on his country's human rights record." Picture: AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi, File

Harare - Amnesty International has said that Robert Mugabe, who led Zimbabwe for almost four decades, left behind "an indelible stain on his country's human rights record."

Mugabe died on Friday in Singapore at the age of 95. 

The human rights group said Mugabe's early years as a leader saw "notable achievements" through his heavy investment in health care and education. But the group said he later eroded his own track record, citing the harassment and killings of political opponents under his leadership.

Muleya Mwananyanda, Amnesty International's Deputy Regional Director for Southern Africa, said: "While casting himself as the saviour of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe inflicted lasting damage upon its people and its reputation."

An ex-guerrilla chief, Mugabe took power after independence from white minority rule in 1980 and presided over a country whose early promise was eroded by economic turmoil and allegations of human rights violations.

A human rights activist on Friday remembered Mugabe as a tyrant who killed more black Africans than even the apartheid regime in South Africa.

Peter Tatchell, who is British, also said it was sad that the strongman died without ever facing justice.

Tatchell twice attempted to carry out a citizens' arrest of Mugabe on charges of torture and other human rights abuses, in 1999 and 2001, but they were unsuccessful.

Tatchell said: "Robert Mugabe was a liberation hero who turned tyrant. He massacred more black Africans than even the evil apartheid regime in South Africa."

Associated Press