Malema slams Mandela and Mugabe!
Julius Malema is a South African politician who is notorious for making explosive and divisive comments on a range of issues. Some see him as nothing more than a self-publicist while others think of him as a true man of the people, championing the cause of the ordinary African in the streets of Soweto, Cape Town and Durban. Malema’s latest comments in which he criticised both Nelson Mandela and Robert Mugabe are in keeping with his reputation.
Mugabe’s land reform was bloody and ‘opportunistic’
Speaking at Oxford University on his latest International tour, Malema argued that the land reforms of the ruling Zanu PF administration in Zimbabwe were only to save Mugabe from losing power and were done in a bloody and violent manner. The Daily Zim quotes him as saying:
“We are not going to do what the Zimbabweans have done; of drawing the blood of innocent people. There’s nothing wrong with Mugabe’s policy on land, but there’s everything wrong with the method used to obtain the land. We cannot have people killed, injured because you want your land back.
“Mugabe had more than 25 years to pass legislation through democratic means that would systematically take the land back, he did not do anything about it. He only introduced that policy at a time when he was losing power, it was opportunistic.
“You ought to pass legislation through parliament in line with your constitution that will take land back to the hands of people.”
These comments will be music to the ears of people like Tony Blair and the British political establishment who steadfastly opposed Mugabe. The UK still has sanctions in place against Zimbabwe though the EU has recently lifted its measures. Interestingly though, Mugabe himself has recently spoken of flaws in the land reform which resulted in low productivity. And in a startling turn of events, ZANU PF is now considering halting the continued appropriation of White-owned farms, and even returning some seized farms to previous White owners. So perhaps Mugabe himself might not disagree too much with Malema’s comments!
Mandela sold-out the people of South Africa
Malema is somewhat of a darling among Panafrican circles, who also laud Mugabe for his Black nationalism. So they will be horrified to hear such comments from the former ANC Youth Wing leader who now heads the Economic Freedom Fighters party. However, such people will be happier with Malema’s comments on the late Nelson Mandela who, though holding near-saintly status in the global public sphere, has been criticised for failing to deliver real liberation to the masses of South Africa. Malema repeats this line of attack by saying:
“The deviation from the Freedom Charter was the beginning of selling out of the revolution. When Mandela returned from prison he got separated from Winnie Mandela and went to stay in a house of a rich white man, he was looked after by the Oppenheimers, Mandela used to attend those club meetings of those white men who owned the South African economy.
“He stayed in one of their houses, they had access to him 24hours. They told him what he represented would not be achieved, that’s when he turned against himself.
“The Nelson we celebrate now is a stage-managed Mandela who compromised the principles of the revolution, which are captured in the Freedom Charter.
“The Freedom Charter is the Bible of the South African revolution. Any deviation from that is a sell-out position. We normally don’t use phrases like Mandela sold out, he was too old, he was tired, he left it to us.
“We have to pick it up from where he left it. That’s why he said the struggle is not over, political freedom is incomplete without economic freedom. I will say Nelson took us to a point and left it to us to take it further.”
Brave move taking on two giants of African liberation struggle
Attacking two heavyweights of the African liberation struggle in this way is an interesting move by Malema. His comments on both Mugabe and Mandela send a message to the people of South Africa that he recognises the need for economic liberation and that this forms a key part of his vision. However, by criticising so strongly the methods of Mugabe and ZANU PF, Malema also sends a message to the International community and especially Britain that they need not fear a repeat of the kind of violence and bloodshed seen in Zimbabwe a decade and half ago. This intriguing combination of revolutionary zeal and appeal to the principles of moderation and democracy will cause considerable discomfort in the power centres of Harare and especially Johannesburg, at a time when ANC support is plummeting following their re-election in 2014.