Mugabe fought Mandela over global relevance

via Mugabe fought Mandela over global relevance December 8, 2013 Zimbabwe Standard 

President Robert Mugabe had a strained relationship with the late former South African leader, Nelson Mandela as they silently fought for relevance on the global stage and sought to outdo each other on legacy issues.

Mandela died on Thursday and there has been an avalanche of condolence messages from the region and international community.

But Harare, South Africa’s neighbour geographically, sent its condolence message well after others and the State-owned newspapers have not been very kind to the revered international icon even in death.

But Mugabe’s own condolence message to South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma did not show hate.

“Nelson Mandela’s renowned and illustrious political life will forever remain a beacon of excellence. Not only was he a great champion of the emancipation of the oppressed, but he also was a humble and compassionate leader who showed selfless dedication to the service of his people,” Mugabe said in a statement.

“We join the rest of the nation in mourning his departure. The late Nelson Mandela will forever remain in our minds as an unflinching fighter for justice.”

Though both leaders shared revolutionary backgrounds in the fight against racial segregation, they later differed on how they handled the racial issue.

Zimbabwe was one of the countries that Mandela first visited after his release from prison in February 1990 and was showered with honours including the Freedom of the Cities of Harare and Kwekwe the following month.

They both adopted a reconciliation approach with their people’s former oppressors, but Mugabe later changed and chose to “strike fear in the heart of the white man” when he felt that his rule was under threat.

Analysts said Mugabe felt very uncomfortable with Mandela when he was released from prison in 1990 and stole the international limelight from the Zimbabwean leader, who during that time, was viewed as a renowned statesman in the Sadc region.

But Mandela stole that from him.

In one televised interview in May this year, Mugabe labeled Mandela as too much of a “saint” for doing good to whites in South Africa who previously oppressed the black majority.

“Mandela has gone a bit too far in doing good to the non-black communities, really in some cases at the expense of [blacks]…,” Mugabe told talk show host Dali Tambo in an interview.

“That is being too saintly, too good, too much of a saint.”

International reports and thought leaders opined that Mugabe was somewhat jealous of Mandela’s popularity as a bastion of black people’s rights and a symbol of the fight against racial segregation.

This was confirmed in an interview where Mandela in a meeting with former French President Nicolas Sarkozy said that an increasingly unpopular Mugabe did not want him released from prison.

In a televised interview Sarkozy in 2008 asked Mandela how he judged what was happening in Zimbabwe.

“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,” said Mandela.

In another 2010 public address, Mandela took a swipe at Mugabe.

“We have seen the outbreak of violence against fellow Africans in our own country and the tragic failure of leadership in our neighbouring Zimbabwe,” said Mandela, who was opposed to Mugabe’s sending of his army to the DRC to prop up the late President Laurant Kabila.

While Mandela only served four years as president, and retired when people still wanted him, Mugabe has so far ruled for 33 years and has been accused of sponsoring the Gukurahundi massacres in Midlands and Matabeleland region.

It is estimated that 20 000 people were killed during that era and some human rights organisations want the 89-year-old leader tried at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague for human rights abuses.

These accusations soiled his international reputation as a global statesman.

Political analyst, Dumisani Nkomo concurred that there were no personal problems between both leaders.

“This was essentially a matter of legacy issues. Mandela had a strong legacy, he retired early, was admired as a global statesman whereas Mugabe was increasingly viewed as a dictator,” said Nkomo.

“Mandela was genuinely concerned about the wellbeing of Africans and generally wanted a peaceful solution to the Zimbabwean problem. His legacy is still uncontested and he towers above other African leaders of our time,” he said.


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39 comments on “Mugabe fought Mandela over global relevance
  1. Peter tosh says:

    Mugabe, snake under grass.

  2. Kubota Binga says:

    May Mandela’s soul rest in peace

  3. Johnboy says:

    To compare Nelson Mandela to Robert Mugabe is rather like comparing Mother Theresa with Adolf Hitler. Madiba was an icon of tolerance, patience and diploomacy who united the citizens of South Africa. Robert Mugabe is one of the most corrupt and despised dictators in the world with the blood of thousands on his hands whilst lining his own pockets with both cash and, more recently, diamonds.

    • jijiza says:

      The difference from Mandela and Mugabe is just an easy equation, Mandela and Joshua Nkomo fought alongside in one ANC and Umkhonto wesizwe fought together with Zipra, how can mandela and Mgabe be friends he was PAC. Iam South African Umkhonto wesizwe old cadre I know that, I expect former Zapu leaders Dumiso Dabengwa to give some talk on Mandela not Robert

  4. Tjingababili says:


  5. DW says:

    What a confused little dictator Mugabe is that he can even think he deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as Nelson Mandela (R.I.P).

  6. Jenandebvu says:

    RIP Mandela, mugabe anotevera soon.

    Mugabe, ndapota hangu, usazobvotomokewo panhamo. Usatuke vanhu pamariro unobva chimiro

  7. finish gogo says:

    long live Mugabe. long live our independence, long live our ideologies, Zimbabwe will neva be a colony again. Rest in peace our liberator VaMandela. Viva ANC. pasi neMDC.

  8. bafunda says:

    we all lived in the Mandela era. we were just too big for our smallness!

  9. Joel Nyamamhini says:

    There is a few incorrect information in this report.
    1) Mandela talked about leadership failure at his birthday in the UK in 2008 and not 2010. He never addressed any pubulic gathering from that time onwards and 2010 was the last time he appeared in public at the world cup final but he never made any address.
    2) I thought Mandela was president from 1994 to 1999, when Mbeki took over – which to me is 5 years and not 4 years.
    3) Mandela was not given the freedom of Harare and Kwekwe soon after his release in 1990 but well into his presidency around 1997 when he visited Zimbabwe for his first state visit to the country.

    • Mthwakazi says:

      Yes, officially Mandela was president for five years but unoffically Thabo Mbeki took over in the last year of Mandela’s five year term!!

  10. Mike Nyathi says:

    You have to lie on the bed you make. Mugabe can say whatever he likes but people will spit on his grave while Madiba will forever be revered.

  11. yoyo says:

    ZANU PF was a friend to the PAN AFRICAN CONGRESS of Alfred Nzo.PAC lost its relevance as it was heavily infiltrated and its leaders easily bought by the Apartheid regime.ANC was a friend to ZAPU , both based in Zambia.The alliance between ZANU and ANC is as a compromise , not heartily felt.Thats why ZANU PF is busy encouraging ANC rebels like Malema to unseat the ANC, which unfortunately is stupid and ill advised.So Mugabe himself , as he likes to be praised, got really jealousy of Mandela and if African legends are to be ranked, honestly here is the list.I might be wrong here and there
    1 Nelson Mandela
    2 Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana
    3 Julius Nyerere of Tanzania
    4 Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia
    5 Namdi Azikiwe of Nigeria
    6 Oliver Tambo
    7 Ketumile Masire
    8 Augustino Neto of Angola
    9 Patrice Lumumba of DRC
    10 Joshua Nkomo

    Mugabe could have been number 3 behind Nkrumah had he taken a reconciliation approach permanantly, retired 1995 , expanded the economy and help decisively in the Angolan dispute and Mozambican disputes without taking sides.DRC adventure, 2008 elections made his pop[ularity ranking to nothing.


    • Mthwakazi says:

      Alfred Nzo was not PAC but ANC. He was South Africa’s first black foreign Minister under Mandela’s government. One of the most useless foreign Ministers, since he was already a very old and tired old man who was mostly asleep on many ocassions!1

    • maita says:

      You may have to read about kwame Nkurumah and you will definitely remove him from the list. The guy as time went on and his power entrenched he became dictatorial giving rise to a coup. So to me he must not be on that list. Mwalimu may be there because he accepted he messed up Tanzania with his policies, Wnat he regretted is what Robert Mugabe is doing in Zimbabwe.

  12. Murimi wanhasi says:

    Without being disrespectful to the late Mandela,I think he really was a softie to the whites,thats why they love him so.Apartheid as a result still exists in S.A. U can make all the noise u want,it does
    Mandela never gave me land.I dont eat rhe list of the top ten so and so.Euphoria chete
    I laugh @ maZimbo who feel closer to baba vepanext door,than vepenyu.
    U can bad mouth me,but Long live President Mugabe.U r a living African Legend

    • Mthwakazi says:

      Murimi, what was Mandela expected to have done to whites in his five year term? What exactly did you want him to do? What did Mugabe do to whites or for blacks in his first five years?

      This question of whites should be directed to Thabo Mbeki, who is currently South Africa’s longest serving black President; not Mandela.

      How do you undo 100′s of years of colonialism and apartheid in five years?

    • nesbert majoni says:

      Murimi wanhasi u ar an idiot. How can u talk of getting a farm which u can hardly put to good use. The country is hungry because of pple like u who were given the farms which u are underutilising. You better shut up if u have nothing to say. Not all of us need those farms anyway.

  13. yoyo says:

    murimi wanhasi where are you when the government is importing maize from Zambia? The world does not evolve around violence and arrogance.e sober.If you got land, how many did not gety and how many got multiple farms? Those are the ideals that ZANU PF fanatics need to understand.Zimbabwe is reduced to a ZANU talkshow where you talk of Mujuru and Mnangagwa while cholera is ravaging the nation.Murimi wanhasi, or should i call you simbe yanhasi, at times be relevant like a mulfunctioning watch.At least is is correct once in 24 hours, not to be 365 days in dreamland.We need leaders who speak peace, prosperity and justice.Those are the values which we should embrace not the chipangano style , of raping even your mother unknowingly.

  14. Murimi wanhasi says:

    Yoyo,or shld I call u cde Yoyo?Im actually a very productive farmer,who without govt support,is making it.Remember, we r not all maize farmers..
    Yo question shld many had land(4th) not how many did not get,becoz some of u guys did not apply,thinking its fake.Well,its real,and we r reapin the benefits

    • nesbert majoni says:

      U can go on top of the mountain and praise your dear leader but things on the ground won’t change. Mugabe is worse than the white man. Smith was far much better than this Mugabe regime full of rapists and murderers. I come again. U are an idiot.

  15. MikeH says:

    It’s (mugabe that is) having a laugh !!! I certainly am if he thinks he is in slightest way comparable to Nelson Mandela. Madiba has left a giant legacy to the world whereas mugabe will leave nothing …….. except stolen wealth to his offsprings.

  16. Mthwakazi says:

    Hell no, stop writing misleading articles.

    Its Mugabe who fought Mandela for relevance; Mandela never fought Mugabe for relevance – his relevance came naturally; he never fought for it or asked to be relevent or loved!!

  17. Mthwakazi says:

    This statement is strictly not true:

    “Though both leaders shared revolutionary backgrounds in the fight against racial segregation, they later differed on how they handled the racial issue”.

    Mandela was an Algerian trained guerilla; gukurawundi Mugabe was an armchair revolutionary. Mandela was a trail blazer in nationalism and the armed struggle; Robert Mugabe was an invitee to politics in Rhodesia. He was busy minding his own buiness of teaching in Ghana when he was invited to join the struggle. Mugabe is a small man when compared to the towering Mandela figure!!!

  18. Mthwakazi says:

    In Zimbabwe the only person who is a close comparison to Nelson Mandela is Joshua Nkomo.

    Robert Mugabe is a street thug; a racist and unrepentent pathetic tribalist of the worst order!!

  19. Ngesintu sakithi…siyazi ukuthi isifo yiso esihlanganisa abantu,njengakho u-Mugabe ethe wenza isintu ngokulilela umuyi u-Tata u-Mandela kubaba uMsholozi….kanti -ke what is the Media and papers writing?? its nonsense////// what are they pushing for?? ….

  20. Mthwakazi says:

    Mugabe is a usurper of power. He should never be compared to Mandela.

    Mugabe was invited into politics by Enos Nkala and others. Otherwise he was busy minding his own teaching business in Ghana.

    He himself even stated openly that by going to Ghana his aim was to teach for a few years, raise some money and proceed to the UK for further studies – politics was not part of his plans.

    On the other hand, Mandela was a trail blazer in politics. He started uMkhonto weSizwe (MK); MKV’s first Commander-in-Chief; and the first balc to train as a guerilla. Mandela needed no invitation to join the struggle; he rebelled from authority right from the days he was at Fort Hare.

    Meanwhile Mugabe has no record of rebellion against authority in his younger years – he was always chasing after the skirts of his mother, a mama’s baby!!

  21. Oldsoldier says:

    Average leaders demand respect. The truly great leader commands respect. Mandela is probably the greatest of the truly great leaders in Africa.

  22. mujibha says:

    Murimi wanhasi mboko yemunhu, basa rekurima macabbage, asingagone kurima cabage ndiyani. Varimi vanhasi varoyi wevanhu, vasweta simba vasingabhadhare vashandi. Can u pls tell us as a nation since u took that farm what production have u made? I use to think the way you do only to realise I was being used by them idiots in zanu pf including matibili. U will see it one day when take off them blingers. Chinhoyi yaiva nemurimi mumwechete aizadza matura ese. Iwe awazadza ndeapi? Imbwa

  23. Nyepudzayi says:

    Nelson Mandela he earned his respect over the years because he married an intelligent wife Graca. Musha mukadzi . I bet if Sally was around we wouldn’t be where we are today. What we have is a greedy husband and wife who have turned there backs on the lives of ordinary Zimbabweans.
    Rest in peace Mr Mandela

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  26. maita says:

    Mugabe and Mandela are thousands of miles apart. Mandela was pragmatic, forgiving, threw away his bitterness, embraced everybody black or white, dismantled white apartheid and did not build a black apartheid state. Mugabe has done the opposite. Mugabe has never trusted his own signatures. Mugabe is always insulting others. Mugabe has destroyed Zimbabwe. Mandela passed on the button Mugabe has not. If South Africans have not been empowered its not Mandela because Mandela ruled a transition from White domination to majority rule unlike our boss who has sat over hunger and strife, poverty and deaths of Zimbabweans. Has alienated us from the whole world by his grandstanding. Mugabe in the world of civilisation can’t match Mandela. I am sorry but this is true.

    • adalandoinda says:

      MANDELA; – An icon.
      Mandela passed the baton at the right time as he realised that leading the ANC was going to be a mammoth task. The internal and external factions ,the death of Chris Hani,levels of expectation from the new government.These would need young legs and old wise minds working together, a difficult combination.
      The problems of ZIMBABWE and South Africa are very similar and hope that South Africa will tackle the challenges differently taking what they see as good and discarding what they see as bad in the Zimbabwean model.
      MANDELA will be remembered as he left when everything was good.

  27. farai says:

    They celebrate war hero leadership and we are being forced to celebrate pacifists leadership!

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