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
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
“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.
Peter Tatchell – 020 7403 1790–
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Peter Tatchell is the Green Party parliamentary candidate for Oxford East
www.greenoxford.com/peter and www.petertatchell.net
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For information about Peter Tatchell’s campaigns: www.petertatchell.netPost published in: News