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The Mugabe of Today is Not the Man he Once Was

Jul 2, 2008, 6:50 AM

Once again we must stand up and applaud that star of Africa, Nelson Mandela. Even at the age of 90 he still has the strength to stand up and critisise injustice where he sees it. Unfortunately he does not have to look very far as the situation in Zimbabwe continues to go from bad to worse. In recent years Nelson Mandela has restricted himself to working on issues such as HIV/AIDS rather than getting involved in straight political confrontation which is what makes his statement in relation to Zimbabwe so striking.

Africa's most popular former President, Nelson Mandela, during the celebration of his 90th birthday in London, used the opportunity for the first time to denounce the authorities in Zimbabwe for refusing to allow democracy to flourish. This should be a clear message to every African that what is going on in Zimbabwe is wrong and must be denounced. Our correspondent in London, Alhagie Mbye, states in his piece in today's issue of The Point, "Interestingly a few individuals had different opinions about Mandela's views. A young West African who voluntarily approached this correspondent at the main entrance gate, insisted that Mandela had made a 'mistake in denouncing the regime of Robert Mugabe' because, according to him, 'Mugabe is doing the right thing.'

It is not difficult to find people in The Gambia who expresses the same sentiments. Many quote the sterling work that Mugabe did in driving out the colonial oppressors from Zimbabwe. Nobody is denying this but the fact is that his people are suffering now. Nelson Mandela also struggled at great personal sacrifice for the freedom of his people from the crushing oppression of Apartheid and should be respected for it. The difference between the two leaders is that now in the twilight of their years one adheres to the principles of democracy and non-violence while the other beats his own people, terrifies them into not voting and uses extreme physical violence to subdue democratic opposition.

These are the facts of the matter. African leaders must consider their response to the situation carefully but there should be no doubt that if you are pro Mugabe as he currently exists, you are anti democracy.

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