Johannesburg – Former president Thabo Mbeki has reportedly said that South Africans must “stay clear” of criticising Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, adding that the veteran leader should only be “shown the door” by his own people.
Mbeki said this while speaking during a discussion with young people involved in his foundation.
According to New Zimbabwe.com, Mbeki said: I would fight with any South African who stands up to say: ‘I, as a South African, say Robert Mugabe must go… I say it’s none of your business. It is the business of the people of Zimbabwe.
Mbeki said that only Zimbabweans could tell Mugabe; “president, please go away”, if they felt he had overstayed.
Mbeki’s sentiments came just a few months after South African opposition leaders took turns to criticise Mugabe for clinging to power.
Mugabe has been in power since 1980 when the southern African country attained its independence from colonial Britain.
‘We must stand for democracy’
Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema made headlines in January following his “Grandpa it’s enough” comments in which he called on Mugabe to relinquish power.
Malema said at the time that Mugabe was “incapable of discharging his duties” and called on members of the ruling Zanu-PF party to be brave enough to tell the nonagenarian to go.
“Zimbabwe’s situation is bad. President Mugabe cannot even control a spade… We are not going to be good friends if we don’t tell them that what they are doing is not good for Zimbabwe’s people,” Malema was quoted as saying.
As if that was not enough, Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Mmusi Maimane also weighed-in the following month when he called on Mugabe to be forcibly removed from power in the same way that Gambia’s former leader Yahya Jammeh was ousted.
“We must stand for democracy. The Zimbabweans won the elections, the opposition won the elections and we (South Africa) negotiated a government of national unity, undermining the will of the people.
“We must do to Zimbabwe what had happened in Gambia, where the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) troops were deployed, leading to Jammeh leaving the country,” Maimane was quoted as saying at the time as.
Jammeh was forcibly removed from office early this year after the intervention of the regional bloc, Ecowas.