War Of Words: President Mugabe Slams Mantashe Over Nelson Mandela Comment


Mandela Comments – A full-scale diplomatic war is gradually unfolding between Zimbabwe’s leader Robert Mugabe and the ruling party, the African National Congress (ANC).

Sadly, the man at the center of the commotion is no other person but South Africa’s apartheid hero – former president Nelson Mandela.

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Actually, it was President Robert Mugabe that started the ‘fight’ when he alleged that “everything is in the hands of whites today because Nelson Mandela cherished his personal freedom over the economic freedom of his people.”

He publicly made the cruel remarks while speaking in Shona at a ZANU-PF rally in the central town of Gweru, in Zimbabwe.

Before Mugabe said that, he earlier alleged that Mandela revered across the world and sold out the struggle by cozying up to the masterminds of apartheid rule.

His allegations did not go down with many people in the country, especially the ANC. In response, the ruling party cautioned him not to make further allegations about Mandela.

However, while addressing the media at the ANC headquarters at Luthuli House earlier this week, ANC secretary-general, Gwede Mantashe told reporters that he has personally told Mugabe’s party to caution the 93-year-old leader over the comments.

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Gwede also accused the number one citizen of destroying his country’s economy.

“I phoned the secretary-general of Zanu-PF and told him that Mugabe may be all over Madiba, but the reality is that you’ve destroyed your economy,” he said.

Now, Zimbabwe’s media, New Zimbabwe.com reported on Friday that Mugabe has reacted to Mantashe complaint. According to the media, Mugabe accused the ANC secretary-general of “stupidly” reacting to his attack on Mandela.

The veteran leader reportedly slammed Mantashe on Thursday during a meeting with Zimbabwe’s business leaders in Harare.

President Mugabe reportedly said:

“We did not fight just for freedom. I make this remark in regard to South Africa. And what do they call him?

Gwede Mantashe stupidly reacted (to criticism of Mandela). Yes, they only fought to remove apartheid. This was it, we talked to them.

I remember TG Silundika (a hero of Zimbabwe’s liberation war) and myself talking to (Oliver) Tambo and we said, Ah, you’re just fighting for the removal of apartheid, not for independence, not for freedom and independence as we were doing.

And they said, ‘well, freedom, independence was given to us by Britain in 1910 on May 31.’ (Tambo said) ‘It’s a legal thing; we cannot change it’. What? Can’t you change it?

A revolutionary party says it cannot change it. Then all our efforts, even ourselves, would be in vain if we can’t change the laws that our oppressors made.

Mugabe went further in the 10-minute attack on Mantashe and the ANC. “They (the ANC) went that way. It was an easy way. You’d get even some of the whites supporting them.

Apartheid, yes, is not democratic, it’s a sinister policy. No, it must not obtain… but they could only go that far.

Ours was not just freedom. No. We wanted freedom of the nature that gave us independence and the right of ownership of our country.

That’s it; that was the difference. And that is why you have the differences now in the systems, our system, the Mozambican system, Namibia, Angola, on one side – different from South Africa.

They (the ANC) left the very persons they said had imposed apartheid on them in control of the resources. Praise God, if the future will yield for them true independence.

And Gwede Mantashe was foolishly reacting to what I had said. That’s it, it’s the truth: South Africa is not as free as the other countries of SADC.”

Meanwhile, Gwede Mantashe said he would not back down on his earlier statement this week. He called on Mugabe to give South Africa space “so that we can fix this country.”