A South African government minister who described Robert Mugabe as a “crazy old man” six years ago because he was resisting reform during the first few months of the inclusive government yesterday showered praise on him over the professional manner in which he had chaired the recent African Union meeting.
Mugabe was elected chairman of the African Union for a year and also chairs the regional Southern African Development Community.
South Africa’s International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane yesterday told the South African media: “He (Mugabe) was elected unanimously by his peers as the chair for 2015 and we think he chaired the meeting at the AU very well. We have no qualms about it.”
Some quarters have raised concerns about Mugabe’s election saying it will tarnish the image of Africa because of his human rights record.
Nkoana-Mashabane told United States embassy in Pretoria six years ago that the South African government was frustrated with Mugabe adding that Pretoria could not continue with its quiet diplomacy forever and called Mugabe “the crazy old man”.
She said everyone should support then Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai but expressed disappointment that Tsvangirai had pulled out of the inclusive government without consulting anyone and was being unrealistic by demanding the removal of all security chiefs.
Tsvangirai pulled out of the inclusive government in October 2009 over the lack of reforms but rejoined after a month.