HomeOpinion & AnalysisColumnistsWho is Mugabe to criticise Mandela?

Who is Mugabe to criticise Mandela?


PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has in the past few weeks enjoyed taking potshots at the late former South African President, Nelson Mandela, whom he accuses of prioritising personal freedom at the expense of total emancipation of the black majority.


Whatever gripe Mugabe has with Mandela — that is his problem — but it is an indictment for the Zimbabwean leader that many of his countrymen choose to go to South Africa in search of greener pastures because they have no hope in their own country or leaders.

Mandela left behind a legacy that Zimbabweans can only dream of, that is why thousands have died trying to cross the Limpopo River into South Africa.

Thanks to Mandela and others, South Africa has strong institutions and a functional democracy, while Zimbabwe is a hotbed of nepotism and reeks of lack of constitutionalism.

Mandela left behind a very strong constitution that allows for regeneration of leadership, yet Zimbabwe is stuck with one leader for almost four decades, leading to a dearth of ideas.

South Africans can be proud of what Mandela accomplished, whereas Zimbabweans will cry about impoverishment, where only a few are happy because they are connected to someone at the top.

Instead of Mugabe worrying about the speck in Mandela’s eye, the soon-to-be 94-year-old leader should be more concerned about the log in his own eye.

Zimbabwe has no currency, depends on wholesale imports mainly from South Africa and has lurched from one crisis to the next, yet Mugabe has the temerity to question that country’s former leader.

Mugabe should be more concerned about what is happening in his background rather than bothering about what the neighbour is feeding his children.

The Zimbabwean President literally has no leg to stand on in criticising Mandela.

He can talk about the land reform, but this has not at all empowered most Zimbabweans, but rather, a powerful clique within his inner circle, with the crumbs left for his party members who sing his praises loudest.

Mugabe has presided over shocking levels of corruption and nepotism that have left the country on the brink, with South Africa being the salvation of many.

This is not to say Mandela was a saint — he made mistakes, many of them — but criticism of him or anyone should be contextual and fair and we believe Mugabe is being grossly unfair because the former South African leader is not there to respond for himself.

Mugabe should first ensure that his own country is functional before he goes about criticising others who have done better for their people.

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