Mandela betrays Zimbabwe


Silence is collusion with tyranny.
Mandela's London concert will be picketed in protest.

London – 24 June 2008

“Nelson Mandela’s silence is a sad betrayal of his fellow Africans in

Zimbabwe. Silence is collusion with Mugabe’s murder and mayhem.

This criticism comes from the veteran human rights campaigner and

former anti-apartheid activist, Peter Tatchell, who campaigned for 20

years for Nelson Mandela’s release from prison.

“From an extraordinary leader, we expect extraordinary leadership.

Mandela has failed to support the people of Zimbabwe against a tyranny

that is worse than apartheid. Even PW Botha never murdered as many

people as Robert Mugabe,” added Mr Tatchell.

“Mandela should speak out against Mugabe’s terror campaign and urge

new free and fair elections. He should call on the UN Security Council

to send election observers, human rights monitors and peace-keepers to

Zimbabwe, to stop the violence and ensure that a re-run of the

presidential poll is conducted without intimidation and fraud,” he

said.

Mr Tatchell twice attempted a citizen’s arrest of Mugabe – in London

in 1999 and in Brussels in 2001. He was a prominent supporter of

Mugabe’s liberation struggle against white minority rule in the 1970s,

but he now accuses Mugabe of “betraying ZANU’s founding ideals of

socialism, democracy and human rights.”

Mr Tatchell’s call comes ahead of the Mandela 90th birthday concert in

London this Friday, 27th June. The concert will be picketed by

Zimbabwe human rights activists, in protest at “Mandela’s refusal to

speak out against Mugabe’s regime of assault, kidnap rape, torture and

murder.”

“Mandela is the closest thing we have to a living saint. He is a world

icon, and deservedly so. But the anti-apartheid liberation hero has a

less than heroic record on Zimbabwe. His failure to condemn Mugabe’s

tyranny is a tragic abandonment of Zimbabweans. It betrays the ideals

of African liberation and pan-African solidarity,” Mr Tatchell added.

“If Nelson is well enough to come to London for his 90th birthday

celebrations, then he is well enough to issue a statement condemning

Mugabe’s election fraud and violence.

“Mugabe is a liberation hero turned human rights abuser. He is worse

than the white supremacist leader Ian Smith.

“Mugabe has murdered more black Africans than the British during

period of colonialist occupation of Zimbabwe. He has murdered more

black Africans than the evil apartheid regime in South Africa.

“His slaughter of 20,000 civilians in Matabeleland in the 1980s was

the equivalent of a Sharpeville massacre every day for over nine

months. Once a freedom fighter, he is now Ian Smith with a black face

– only many times worse.

“People around the world, including Zimbabweans, supported Nelson

Mandela’s freedom struggle against apartheid. It is now time that

Mandela reciprocated this solidarity by calling for an end to Mugabe’s

beatings, torture and murder. He should call for new,

internationally-supervised free and fair elections.

“Other African leaders, including Thabo Mbeki, also need to speak out

against Mugabe’s despotism. The people of Zimbabwe deserve a

democratic, representative government that ensures equality and

justice for all its citizens. These were the goals of the African

liberation movements of the last 60 years. They are still worthy goals

today,” said Mr Tatchell.

Mr Tatchell has supported every African liberation struggle of the

last 40 years – from Angola to Zimbabwe.

Further information:

Peter Tatchell – 020 7403 1790–

NOTE: Please do not reply via this automated email system.

If you want to respond to this email, or at any time to contact Peter,

please email him at his NEW email address – [email protected]

Peter Tatchell is the Green Party parliamentary candidate for Oxford East

www.greenoxford.com/peter and www.petertatchell.net

PETER TATCHELL HUMAN RIGHTS FUND

Donations are requested to help Peter Tatchell’s campaigns promoting

human rights, democracy and global justice. Peter is unpaid and

receives no grants. He depends on donations from friends and

supporters.

Please make cheques payable to: “Peter Tatchell Human Rights Fund”.

Send to: PTHRF, PO Box 35253, London E1 4YF

To download a donation form or a standing order mandate, go to

Donations at: www.tatchellrightsfund.org

For information about Peter Tatchell’s campaigns: www.petertatchell.net

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