Mbeki recently visited the country where he officiated at a fundraising dinner to raise $20 million for the UZ, the country’s oldest university, at the invitation of Deputy Prime Minister, Arthur Mutambara and other local luminaries who are seeking to revive the fortunes of the institution.
Mbeki paid a courtesy call on President Robert Mugabe but Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai reportedly snubbed an invitation to give a keynote address at the dinner.
“We hear former South African President Thabo Mbeki has been in the country raising funds for our university and we ask why he is finding time to do so in Zimbabwe and not in his homeland.
“He was President of South Africa and failed to stem the tide of poverty in Soweto and other South African poor communi- ties,” said Nkiwane in a speech to commemorate Workers Day.
He added: “Mr Mbeki we say to you, get your hands off our country. We can solve our own problems so please find time to solve the poverty in Soweto first,” declared Nkiwane.
He said ordinary Zimbabwean workers were contributing to the education of the elite and were thus disadvantaged.
“Our people are paid very little but are forced to pay for the education of a select few. We have over the years paid for the Presidential bursary but the selection criteria have always favoured students whose parents are aligned to Zanu (PF),” he said
Mbeki, who was forced to step down in 2009, was appointed a facilitator in negotiations between Zanu (PF) and the two MDC factions at a time there was a political impasse relating to political disturbances and a disputed presidential election.
More than 4000 people were killed in widespread violence that was instigated by Zanu (PF) as a way of maintaining Mugabe in power.
Mbeki was seen as too soft on Zanu (PF) and became unpopular with the MDC and the Zimbabwean people for claiming that there was no crisis in Zimbabwe at a time political opponents were being butchered and social services were at a virtual standstill.
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