‘Use relevant facts in quizzing Madiba’s legacy’
THE Nelson Mandela Foundation said that people including Robert Mugabe who want to question former president Nelson Mandela’s legacy should do so using relevant facts and evidence.
The foundation was responding to recent attacks that Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe has levelled at Mandela’s legacy.
“It is with weariness that we respond to his rehashing of an old narrative that either ignores or plays fast and loose with the historical evidence. While it is true that Madiba initiated ‘talks about talks’ while he was in prison, from its earliest phase the process of negotiation between the ANC and the apartheid regime was driven by a collective leadership within the movement,” a statement from the foundation said.
The foundation further said that “those who find fault with Madiba’s strategy for making democracy a reality in the 1990s need to reckon with the extent to which the array of special instruments for restitution and reparation he put in place have been ineffective due to failures of implementation in the longer term”.
At a recent Zanu-PF rally, Mugabe who has been in power for nearly 40 years since that country attained independence from Britain claimed that Madiba prioritised his personal freedom over the economic freedom of black South Africans.
Earlier this month, New Zimbabwe website quoted Mugabe saying: “What was the most important thing for Mandela was his release from prison and nothing else. He cherished his freedom more than anything else and forgot why he was put in jail.” Mugabe also said that white people in South Africa were still in control of the economy 23 years South Africa became a democratic state.
The criticism of Mandela’s legacy prompted ANC secretary-general, Gwede Mantashe to lodge a formal complaint with his Zanu-PF counterpart asking Mugabe to stop attacking Mandela.
With Zimbabwe’s high unemployment at around 80%, millions of Zimbabweans have been forced to make a living in foreign countries including South Africa. Mantashe also challenged Mugabe to admit that he had destroyed that country’s economy.