Personality & Character
Degwin is cunning and pragmatic, often being able to see and far into the future and thinking carefully of his next move.
While not as close with his older children, Degwin tends to dote heavily on his youngest son, Garma and trusts his daughter Kycilia heavily with many behind-the-scenes operations. In contrast, Degwin does not think too highly of Dozle most especially with his failure in stopping the Dawn Rebellion and prematurely leading them to war against the Federation, though he still has enough confidence to keep Dozle in command of the front lines.
Perhaps his most complicated relationship is with Gihren, and Degwin is quick to notice his eldest son's insatiable ambition and radical solutions; Among the greatest points of their contention being the destruction of Side 5, the declaration of war against the Federation, and the possibility of peace with the Federation. Degwin fears his growing inability to control Gihren, and compares his son to historical figures, Napoleon Bonaparte and Adolf Hitler, believing firmly that Gihren would also be consumed by his own desires like them.
As the patriarch of the Zabi family and a close advisor to revolutionary, Zeon Zum Deikun, Degwin helped Zeon in spreading his speeches pushing for the people of Munzo to gain independence from the Federation. Due to Zeon's abrupt death to a heart attack, Degwin takes control of Zeon's previous assets and effectively becomes his successor. As the Zabi family fears possible insurrection from the late Zeon's family and followers, they have Kycilia hunt down Zeon's children, Casval and Artesia. Unfortunately, the children are able to flee to Earth with help from Jimba Ral.
Nonetheless, without Zeon's heirs and chief followers, Degwin and the Zabis are able to quickly consolidate their control, eventually forming Autonomous Republic of Zeon. Although Gihren sees this as the perfect opportunity to finally declare themselves separate from the Federation, Degwin is against immediate conflict due to the difference in resources and manpower between the Federation and a mere colony-sized Zeon. When Garma wishes to follow in his siblings' footsteps and enter a military academy, Degwin assigns Dozle as the academy's superintendent to keep watch over Garma and to prevent conflicts between Zeon's people and the Federation.
When a Federation ship collides with a local transport vessel and crashes and destroys an agricultural block, Degwin's fears come true as Garma leads a rebellion against the Federation forces forcibly suppressing the civilians of Zum City. Although unwilling to punish Garma or hand him over to the Federation, Degwin reaches a compromise with Admiral Revil by dismissing Dozle from his position in the academy and expelling Char Aznable, one of the rebellion's ringleaders. In exchange, Revil would have to forfeit the Federation's military assets to prevent another occupation like the one Zum City had been subjected to. While this maneuver did allow a brief ease in tensions, both Zeon and the Federation had unknowingly started the infamous One Year War.
As further talks between both parties deteriorated, many of the other colonies were left unsure who to side with. Among these was Side 2, Hatte, which had openly opposed Zeon's declaration, was defeated, and at Gihren's orders, had one of its colonies dropped on Earth, successfully causing massive damage and killing roughly half of Earth's population. Following Hatte was how to deal with Side 5, Loum, which was positioned beside Side 3 and had mostly been conflicted over who to join. As Tianem's fleet was approaching the colony, the anti-Zeon groups within Side 5 had gained the upper hand. As a result, Gihren believes Loum must also be destroyed before they can proceed, but Degwin vehemently replies of Loum's value in their holy war. Degwin also promises to see those responsible for dropping Hatte's colonies also duly punished for their actions. In response, Gihren stresses the importance of attaining victory lest they be deemed as the Federation's war criminals, much to Degwin's disgust. Degwin eventually concludes the meeting, simply returning to his chambers in frustration.
With Revil's fleet soon coming to assist Tianem, a battle in Loum becomes inevitable, and Degwin and Garma remain on Zeon's home front with a handful of ships while most of the military's forces are under Dozle's command in distracting and diverting Tianem away from Revil. The initial fighting between Dozle's forces and Tianem is bloody with Tianem smashing into Dozle's rearguard. Despite this, Dozle's forces are eventually able to flee away from Tianem's sight while Revil's fleet was subsequently ambushed by Zeon's new mobile suit teams.
The surprising potential and utility of the machines, combined with Dozle's arrival, allows Zeon's forces to handily defeat the Federation, claiming Revil as a prisoner. Garma immediately wishes to celebrate Dozle's triumph, but Degwin warns his youngest son that should Tianem abandon Revil's men and push on to Zeon, Dozle's forces would surely be too late in rescuing them. Fortunately, Tianem decides to shift course and turns around to rescue the remains of Revil's forces. Garma soon becomes ecstatic over the sign that they had now achieved their great victory, only for Degwin to respond that Garma still naive and had yet to see true horrors of war.
Following their great victory, Degwin expresses his hope for being able to use Loum as a negotiation tool in their upcoming meeting with the Federation at Antarctica. Gihren immediately voices his disproval as they were, by the late Zeon Deikun's words, the new evolution of mankind. Degwin, however, sees Gihren's growing dissatisfaction, and reminds him of the failures of Napoleon and Hitler in failing to understand their own limitations, a lesson Gihren refuses to acknowledge. Degwin later opens to Kycilia of his fears that Gihren will bring ruin to their family, though Kycilia assures her father that she will keep matters in check.
Before going to Antarctica, Degwin briefly visits the imprisoned Revil, where the two converse in the possibility of co-existing. Degwin admits that such a bloody conflict could only be ended by the both of them, and that the people space weren't truly in the wrong for seeing hope in freedom, but Revil replies that he wouldn't be able to do anything as he was merely a prisoner.
The discussions in the Antarctic Treaty are soon interrupted by Revil, having successfully escaped imprisonment. Revil would soon deliver his famed "Zeon is dying" speech, inspiring the Federation's forces to refuse to give in to Zeon's demands and to accept the Zabis' dictatorship. Incensed beyond words, Degwin is left with no choice but to fight an all-out war against the Federation.
He later bids farewell to Garma, asking his son to destroy every war-loving earth dweller.