Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe on Friday escalated his tiff with South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC).
Mugabe had on two previous occasions told his Zanu-PF party supporters that Mandela only negotiated for his freedom from jail and not for the economic emancipation of the majority blacks who continued to languish in poverty while whites had it all.
Gwede Mantashe, ANC Scribe, this week said he had spoken to the Zanu-PF secretary for administration Ignatius Chombo whom he asked to restrain Mugabe from insulting Madiba, as Mandela was affectionately known.
“This morning, I phoned the secretary-general of Zanu-PF and I said to him, your president is all over Madiba, but the reality of the matter is you have destroyed the economy in your country.
“We continue to create black millionaires in this country, including Zimbabwean millionaires.
“So restrain your president from making statements that are not researched. And it’s been done in a responsible manner that has not brought our economy to its knees in the quest for populism,’’ he said.
However, Mugabe hit back and described Mantashe’s reaction as stupid, saying the people who once oppressed black South Africans were still in control of the resources.
Addressing captains of industry and commerce at State House, Mugabe said liberation movements in Southern Africa did not just fight for political independence but also for the control of resources.
“I made this remark in regard to South Africa and what do they call him, Gwede Mantashe stupidly reacted. Yes, they only fought to remove apartheid. That was it. We talked to them,’’ he said.
Mandela, who had been in prison for 27 years, became South Africa’s majority president in 1994 and for the next five years until his retirement, led the country on the path of peace and reconciliation.