Personality Profile of Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe

Personality Profile of Zimbabwe’s
President Robert Mugabe

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, 2002

Aubrey Immelman and Adam Beatty
Unit for the Study of Personality in Politics
October 2002


This paper presents the results of an indirect assessment of the personality of Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe, from the conceptual perspective of Theodore Millon.

Psychodiagnostically relevant information regarding President Mugabe was extracted from biographical sources and media reports and synthesized into a personality profile using the second edition of the Millon Inventory of Diagnostic Criteria (MIDC), which yields 34 normal and maladaptive personality classifications congruent with Axis II of DSM–IV.

The personality profile yielded by the MIDC was analyzed on the basis of interpretive guidelines provided in the MIDC and Millon Index of Personality Styles manuals.

Mr. Mugabe’s primary personality patterns were found to be Conscientious/compulsive and Ambitious/self-serving (narcissistic), with secondary Dominant/controlling (aggressive), Retiring/aloof (introverted), and Distrusting/suspicious (paranoid) patterns. In addition, his profile revealed the presence of subsidiary Contentious/resolute (negativistic) and Reticent/circumspect (avoidant) features.

Mugabe’s profile suggests the presence of Millon’s bureaucratic compulsive syndrome — an obsessive-compulsive personality orientation infused with narcissistic features.

Leaders with this composite character complex are noted for their officious, high-handed bearing, intrusive, meddlesome interpersonal conduct, unimaginative, meticulous, closed-minded cognitive style, grim, imperturbable mood, and scrupulous if grandiose sense of self.

Research paper

The Political Personality of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe
Paper by Aubrey Immelman and Adam Beatty presented at the 26th Annual Scientific Meeting of the International Society of Political Psychology, Boston, MA, July 6–9, 2003. Abstract and link for full-text (28 pages; PDF) download at Digital Commons: