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Mugabe's rule leaves Tutu 'devastated'

Mugabe's rule leaves Tutu 'devastated'

South African Nobel peace laureate Desmond Tutu said on Tuesday he was "devastated" by the human rights abuses of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's government in Zimbabwe, where the economy has virtually collapsed.
But Tutu, who has criticized South African President Thabo Mbeki for his policy of "quiet diplomacy" toward the Zimbabwean leader, said he was growing more confident in Mbeki's efforts to coax it's southern African neighbor toward political reform.
"I have in the past lambasted the softly, softly approach. But I have to admit I have been very surprised," Tutu said.
He cited signs that Zimbabwe's ruling ZANU-PF party and its political opposition had moved toward a compromise that could lead to elections next year.
Tutu said he struggles to understand how Mugabe, denounced as "tyrannical" by U.S. President George W. Bush at the U.N. General Assembly in New York, changed so drastically after steering the former British colony to independence in 1980.
Under Mugabe's 27-year rule Zimbabwe has plunged from prosperity - it was once called the "bread basket" of southern Africa - to penury.
"I'm just devastated by what I can't explain, by what seems to be an aberration, this sudden change in character," said the 75-year-old former archbishop of Cape Town.
"But it does not in any way remove that he did do very well. Zimbabwe was for a long time a showcase country."
Mugabe, a former Marxist guerrilla, is accused of engineering the country's chaotic descent with controversial policies, like the seizure of white-owned commercial farms, many of which were handed to cronies or inexperienced blacks.


Updated : 2021-10-28 12:52 GMT+08:00