Cape Town – Former South African president Thabo Mbeki has taken a swipe
at Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe’s chaotic land reform programme, saying
the Zanu-PF leader had "set a bad example which we don’t want any country in
Africa to follow", a News Day report said on Wednesday.
Mbeki said this during a Thabo Mbeki African Leadership
Institute presentation at the University of South Africa in Pretoria last
Friday, a day after attending Mugabe’s inauguration in Harare.
"The way the land reform was done offended other players in
the world. I told them [Mugabe and Zanu-PF], they could not listen; they did
what they wanted with their own country. They set a bad example which we don't
want any country in Africa to follow. So they must pay a price. I think this is
the reason why, apart from diamonds, there is too much attention on Zimbabwe."
Integrity of Africa
The former South African leader also blasted the West for
refusing to endorse the Zimbabwean polls when Africa had done so, claiming such
actions were tantamount to undermining the integrity of Africa.
Mugabe won last month's elections by 61% votes, but his
rival Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai immediately
challenged the poll outcome citing several irregularities.
filed a Constitutional Court application challenging Mugabe’s victory, but
withdrew the petition arguing that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission had denied
him access to the poll material which he wanted to support his case.
"Yes, indeed there were problems, but we did not need
Washington, Brussels and London to say Africans were wrong in endorsing the
elections. I know why the special interest in Zimbabwe, a small country by any
standards. Zimbabwe has been on the frontline in calling for Africa to
determine its future. It’s high time Zimbabwe should be supported in order to
put an end to that African contempt."
Mbeki helped broker a power sharing agreement between the MDC and Zanu-PF following a disputed election in 2008 which
left at least 200 people.