Mugabe says Mantashe’s reaction is stupid

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HARARE ‑ Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe said African National Congress secretary-general Gwede Mantashe reacted “stupidly” to a remark he made about South Africa.

While addressing captains of industry at State House in Harare on Thursday, Mugabe said South Africa was “economically unfree”  and he did not envy the neighbouring country.

“We didn’t fight just for freedom,” he said.

“I made this remark in regard to South Africa and what do they call him, Gwede Ma …, stupidly reacts. Yes, they only fought to remove apartheid.

“The country went to war for a number of years, lost men and women within the country, outside the country, in order for us to regain what was our lost country,” the 93-year-old leader said.

“Defeat the settlers, as we have done, and then came those of us who were out and joined those who were here and say together, we fought this struggle, together we have won and here is now a free country, ours together.”

Mugabe’s latest statements came after Mantashe on Tuesday told journalists he had called the Zanu PF “secretary general”, possibly secretary for administration Ignatius Chombo, to protest against Mugabe’s “lies” on the legacy of late former president Nelson Mandela.

“This morning, I phoned the secretary-general (sic) of Zanu PF and I said to him, your president (Mugabe) is all over Madiba (Mandela), but the reality of the matter is you have destroyed the economy in your country, (yet) we continue to create black millionaires in this country, including Zimbabwean millionaires. And this has been done in a responsible manner that has not brought our economy to its knees,” Mantashe said.

Mantashe’s remarks came a few weeks after Mugabe lashed out at Mandela for having been concerned about only his “freedom” and not that of the economy, which, he said Mandela had left in the hands of whites.

Only three weeks ago, relations nearly soured between the two countries after First Lady Grace Mugabe was granted diplomatic immunity after beating a 20-year-old South African model, Gabriella Engels, at a plush Sandton hotel, after finding her in the company of her two sons, Robert Jnr and Chatunga.

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