Former President Robert Mugabe who is constantly being bashed for the economic collapse of Zimbabwe during the 37 years he was in power, the first seven as Prime Minister, has received rare praise, and ironically from his archenemy, the British.
According to the Independent, former British Ambassador to South Africa Sir Robin Renwick said former South African President Nelson Mandela was not as intelligent as Mugabe.
He said this soon after Mandela’s release from prison in 1990. Mandela had spent 27 years in prison and was talking to then British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher about the way forward for South Africa which was under apartheid rule at the time.
Sir Robin described his own early, slightly mixed impressions of Mandela, saying: “All those who visited Mandela in prison were struck by his courage and dignity. My own experience is the same. Mandela has a natural dignity and authority.
“He is not as intelligent as Mugabe, but a great deal nicer…. In so far as Mandela understands anything about economics, his ideas were formed in the 1950s. He is an old-fashioned socialist, but has never been a communist.
“But the ANC’s document on The Economy Beyond Apartheid is full of the kind of ideas about the role of the state that have been discredited and proved disastrous elsewhere.”
Mugabe was a darling of the West at the time and was even knighted by the British though some of the honours that were accorded to him, including honorary degrees from leading universities across the world, were withdrawn when he fell out with the West.
Mandela became the darling of the world and served only one term before stepping down.
He also married former Mozambican First Lady Graca Machel who Mugabe had turned down according to United States intelligence, which said that was one of the reasons why Graca was bitter with Mugabe.