Mandela Blasts Mugabe's 'Tragic Failure of Leadership'

Former South African leader makes his first public comments on Zimbabwe
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 25, 2008 10:00 PM CDT
Former president of South Africa Nelson Mandela, left, talks with Britain's Prime Minister Gordon Brown in London, Tuesday June 24, 2008.    (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Nelson Mandela broke his silence today and denounced the "tragic failure of leadership" of Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe. The influential former South African leader had previously held back so he wouldn't undermine the authority of mediator Thabo Mbeki, the BBC reports. "The world remains beset by so much human suffering," he said. "It is now in the hands of your generations to help rid the world of such suffering."

Mugabe has brushed off international calls to postpone Friday's run-off election, which has been marred by so much intimidation and violence that the opposition has dropped out. "We watch with sadness the continuing tragedy in Darfur," said Mandela. "Nearer to home we have seen the outbreak of violence against fellow Africans in our own country and the tragic failure of leadership in our neighboring Zimbabwe."