Last night President Mugabe and his wife Grace joined a long list of world leaders who landed at the Waterkloof Air Force Base just outside Pretoria to attend Nelson Mandela’s memorial and funeral.
Most if not all of the world leaders attending the funeral had great respect for and revered Madiba and felt the need to pay their last respects. The former and current world leaders attending include people who have clashed with and do not see eye to eye with Mugabe. This is something that presented an interesting logistical challenge for those managing the events.
One of those people that Mugabe has clashed with is Mandela. It was only a few months ago in an interview with Dali Tambo that Mugabe said the following (the commentary starts approximately 24:30 mins into the video):
“They [whites] will praise you only if you are doing things that please them. Mandela has gone a bit too far in doing good to the non-black communities, really in some cases at the expense of [blacks],
….. That is being too saintly, too good, too much of a saint.”
….. Naturally we will speak good of him [Mandela] but everyone knows he did not do enough for his people”
To add to that, upon hearing news about Mandela’s death it took Mugabe and/or the Zimbabwe Government a lot longer that the rest of the world to respond to the news and send a condolence message. On ZBC, the news was reported about 20 mins into the 8pm News Hour versus it it being the first piece report as it was around the world. Looking from the outside in, this would seem as if as far as Zimbabwe is concerned, the event was a non-event.
Over the years, comments exchanged have gone both ways with Mandela expressing his disapproval on the way in which matters were being handled in Zimbabwe and going as far as stating that there was a failure of leadership. Mandela was also quoted as saying:
“Before I was released from prison, he was the most popular African leader, but when I was released the media said this is the end of Mugabe from the point of view of popularity. In fact he himself didn’t want me to come out of jail,”
This statement is one that the media may or may not be twisting and are saying is the root of a jealousy that caused the dislike that Mugabe has for Mandela.
The above is only a snippet of what both leaders have had to say about each other and as for some of the reasons why the rift existed, we can only speculate.
But, Mugabe’s decision to travel to South Africa for the send off leaves you wondering WHY? Does it not?