Zanu-PF 'tight-lipped' after Mantashe's call on Mugabe to stop attacking Mandela

ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe. (Oupa Nkosi, M&G)

ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe. (Oupa Nkosi, M&G)

President Robert Mugabe’s ruling Zanu-PF party has reportedly remained mum after the ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe this week moved to call on the Zimbabwean leader to stop attacking Nelson Mandela’s legacy.

Mantashe on Tuesday told the media in Johannesburg that he had lodged a formal complaint in a telephonic conversation with his counterpart in Zanu-PF for Mugabe to stop making “unwarranted and unfortunate attacks” on Mandela.

Mantashe accused Mugabe of destroying his country’s economy.

“The reality of the matter is that you have destroyed the economy of your country,” Mantashe said during a press conference at the ANC headquarters at Luthuli House.

But according to Zimbabwe’s privately owned NewsDay newspaper, Zanu-PF’s spokesperson professed ignorance of Mantashe’s telephonic conversation.

Economic freedom
“Nobody has talked to me about it. If they wrote a letter of protest, it would have been directed to [Ignatius] Chombo (Zanu-PF secretary for administration). I cannot comment on things that have not been communicated to me. The secretary for administration is better placed,” he said.

Chombo was reportedly unavailable for comment.

Mugabe was quoted to have said last week that Mandela cherished his personal freedom over the economic freedom of his people, which was the reason why today in South Africa “everything is in the whites’ hands”.

The 93-year-old president said this while speaking in Shona at a ruling party rally in the central town of Gweru on Friday.

“What was the most important thing for (Mandela) was his release from prison and nothing else. He cherished that freedom more than anything else and forgot why he was put in jail,” Mugabe said, in comments translated by news website NewZimbabwe.com.

‘The biggest mistake’
Mugabe claimed this view of Mandela was even shared by ministers in President Jacob Zuma’s cabinet.

“I was in South Africa recently talking to a minister in President Jacob Zuma’s office and I did ask him how they have handled the land issue after attaining independence. I did ask him why they left the whites with everything. He answered my question in English and said: ‘Ask your friend Mandela.’”

This was the second time in recent days that Mugabe had hit out at Mandela’s legacy. He made similar remarks at a state funeral recently.

Mugabe said that Mandela had made “the biggest mistake” by failing to attend to land reform in South Africa.

Said Mugabe: “They (whites) are in control of land, industries and companies and are now the employers of the blacks. These blacks have failed to liberate themselves from white supremacy all because of what Mandela did.” –º News24

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