JOHANNESBURG – The ANC has slammed reports that Robert Mugabe believes Nelson Mandela valued his own personal freedom over the economic liberation of black South Africans.
The Zimbabwean president reportedly told supporters over the weekend that South Africa’s first democratically-elected president forgot why he was put in jail and gave whites an easy ride after 1994.
ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe said he addressed the matter directly with the governing party there, Zanu-PF.
“I phoned the secretary-general of Zanu-PF and told him Mugabe may be all over Madiba but the reality is that you’ve destroyed your economy.
We continue to create black millionaires in this country – including Zimbabwean millionaires. So restrain your president from making statements that are unresearched. And it’s been done in a responsible manner that has not brought our economy to its knees in the quest for populism, said ANC Secretary-General, Gwede Mantashe.
In 2008 Nelson Mandela broke his silence over the crisis in Zimbabwe, condemning the “tragic failure of leadership” in the country.
The late South African president, who had been criticised for his failure to condemn the Mugabe regime, made his comments to an audience of world leaders and celebrities at a private fundraising dinner.
Among the guests in Hyde Park were ex-British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and former United Stated President Bill Clinton, who also spoke, as well as Boris Johnson, the current British Foreign Minister, and many of the stars who acted as ambassadors for the late Mr Mandela’s charities.
Mandela mentioned Zimbabwe only briefly, calling on his audience to reach out to the “poor, vulnerable and marginalised” in society.
He said: “In our time we spoke out on the situation in Palestine and Israel, and that conflict continues unabated.
“We warned against the invasion of Iraq, and observe the terrible suffering in that country. We watch with sadness the continuing tragedy in Darfur.
“Nearer to home we had seen the outbreak of violence against fellow Africans in our own country and the tragic failure of leadership in our neighbouring Zimbabwe. It is within this context that we should also see the plight of those affected by HIV and Aids.
Mr Mandela added: “It is now in the hands of your generations to help rid the world of such suffering.”
In the audience were Will Smith, and his wife Jada Pinkett Smith, classical singer Katherine Jenkins, and former James Bond star, Pierce Brosnan.
The television presenter Oprah Winfrey, campaigner Bob Geldof and actor Robert de Niro were also in attendance.
The late Nelson Mandela was deeply loved and adored throughout the world. His fight against Apartheid, culminating with his inspirational journey to become South Africa’s first black president after 27 years of incarceration in the notorious Robben Island prison, is still today the modern day hero’s journey. In posthumous he is an inspiration to millions around the World. Today, the respect for Mandela is the only subject that the rainbow nation of South Africa agrees upon.
In 1194 Nelson Mandela was elected as first black South African president. At the time, Zimbabwe was enjoying its 14th year as an independent republic, with scars of the liberation struggle slowly coming to a healing. Robert Mugabe was already a veteran President, but still loved throughout the country. The economy was rapidly growing, and Zimbabwe was fast becoming the breadbasket of Africa, a model that South Africa could only aspire to reach.
Fast-forward five years, to 1999. South Africa’s economy was one of the fastest-growing in the world, and its people who had only known true independence for five years, were far better off than their peers in Zimbabwe. Nelson Mandela needed only five years to set South Africa on a path to fully recovery. In those five years, he worked tirelessly to unite a nation deeply divided on racial lines. He dedicated his only term in office to build bridges between races that many thought were burnt beyond repair. He worked to emancipate the downtrodden and calm the hearts of the black majority, who had been viciously oppressed by the Apartheid regime and itched to revenge their sufferings. Mandela made hearts that were once so filled with anger embrace forgiveness. In so little time, he accomplished more than most African leaders do in decades.
As Nelson Mandela retired, leaving South Africa on solid footing, his Zimbabwean counterpart was on the verge of setting my birth-country in the very opposite direction. In 2000, he began a policy of land redistribution that destroyed the Zimbabwean economy, and he has ruled with a dictatorial hand, crushing those that raise any opposition to his ruling. The Zimbabwean economy has collapsed, largely because of his policies. Millions have been forced to move to South Africa and many other parts of the world, far from family and friends, and doing all they can to make ends meet, largely because of these policies.