Friday, June 27, 2008

Mandela on Mugabe: "tragic failure of leadership."

From the Guardian:

Nelson Mandela last night broke his silence on the political and humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe, saying the country was suffering due to "a tragic failure of leadership".

The former South African president and political icon made the remarks at a dinner in London last night attended by Gordon Brown and Bill Clinton. Mandela is reported to be deeply troubled by events in Zimbabwe which have sent thousands of refugees into South Africa, but he has been careful not to create a rift with his successor as president, Thabo Mbeki, who has emerged as Robert Mugabe's most important protector on the African continent.

"We watch with sadness the continuing tragedy in Darfur. Nearer to home we had seen the outbreak of violence against fellow Africans in our own country and the tragic failure of leadership in our neighbouring Zimbabwe," Mandela said.

And from on Archbishop Tutu:
Nobel peace laureate Desmond Tutu called on South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki to "turn the screws" on Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe if he does not step down following Friday's polls.

Tutu, the Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town, said Mbeki's "softly-softly" approach to handling the crisis "has not delivered the goods" and urged the veteran Zimbabwean leader to step aside.

"One is saying 'oh for goodness sake Mr Mugabe, you can end this tragedy, step down,'" he told Channel Four television, describing Zimbabwe as "a dream that has turned into a nightmare".

He also called on African leaders, who meet next week in Egypt for an African Union summit, to declare that Mugabe is an illegitimate leader.

"Our president should have admitted that this softly-softly approach, quiet diplomacy has not delivered the goods and everyone would support him if he now turned the screws on his colleague Mr Mugabe," Tutu said.

Asked how the pressure on Mugabe should be intensified, he added: "First thing would be for Mr Mbeki and all the other leaders to say, 'you're not the legitimate president of Zimbabwe and we will not recognise you'".

Later steps could include imposing a blockade and banning national carrier Air Zimbabwe from flying over neighbouring countries, Tutu suggested.

Great. Now we just need Mbeki to say something worthwhile.