Barack Obama blasts dictators

HARARE - US president Barack Obama yesterday admonished world leaders co-opting Nelson Mandela’s struggle against oppression yet suppressing opposition and critics in their own countries.

In a powerful and personal speech — clearly acknowledging the links between the struggle against apartheid in South Africa and the struggle against segregation in the United States — Obama, the first black US President, said Mandela was evidence that if politicians truly wish to be remembered by history, they first need to simply be good people.

Obama received a massive standing ovation, in sharp contrast to the opprobrium that greeted South African President Jacob Zuma, currently mired in a housing scandal and whose problems have been cast into sharp relief by Mandela’s death.

Zuma was greeted by boos every time his image appeared on the screens in the stadium, with ANC deputy chairman Cyril Ramaphosa, acting as master of ceremonies, appealing to the crowd to show discipline.

In what has been billed as one of the largest gatherings of global leaders in recent history, the US President spoke on how Mandela’s example had inspired him in his own life and career.

Zimbabwean leader Robert Mugabe was applauded by the vociferous crowd in the half-filled 95 000-seat stadium.

Obama slammed those who embraced Mandela’s struggle against repression yet quashed the opposition and critics in their own countries.

“There are too many of us who happily embrace Madiba’s legacy of racial reconciliation, but passionately resist even modest reforms that would challenge chronic poverty and growing inequality,” Obama said.

“There are too many leaders who claim solidarity with Madiba’s struggle for freedom but do not tolerate dissent from their own people,” he said.

Obama delivered an emotion-laden tribute to Mandela.

“While I will always fall short of Madiba’s example, he makes me want to be a better man,” Obama said.

Obama said Mandela emerged as the last great liberator of the 20th Century.

Over the past decade, Mandela has stolen the limelight from Mugabe as an anti-apartheid icon in the region. Reports of a feud between Mandela and Mugabe — two of the continent’s best-known leaders of liberation movements against white domination — have long been whispered.

Jonathan Moyo, Zimbabwe’s Information, Media and Broadcasting Services minister, this week rebuked the media for making “gratuitous comparisons” between the life of Mandela and other African leaders, in particular Mugabe.

Earlier this week, Mugabe paid tribute to Mandela, describing the South African liberation icon as “a champion of the oppressed”.

“Mr Mandela’s renowned political life will forever remain a beacon of excellence,” Mugabe, Africa’s oldest ruler at 89, said in his first official reaction.

Mandela, the founding father of modern South Africa and its first black leader, died late on Thursday aged 95.

“Not only was he a great champion of the emancipation of the oppressed, but he was also a humble and compassionate leader who showed selfless dedication to the service of his people,” Mugabe said.

“The late Nelson Mandela will forever remain in our minds as an unflinching fighter for justice,” said Mugabe, who early this year criticised Mandela for being too soft on whites after the end of apartheid.

Mugabe’s remarks in a documentary filmed in May confirmed the rift given that he so openly criticised the revered 95-year-old South African leader.

For Mandela, Mugabe represented a type of African independence leader who fought successfully for independence, then drifted toward tyranny by clinging to power.

Mandela did the opposite, assuming the leadership of his nation and then stepping down after one term in office.

Political analysts say Mugabe has been driven into a permanent rage by the adulation heaped internationally on Mandela, an accolade of praise and recognition that he felt was more properly due to him.

Mandela once described Mugabe’s rule as “tragic failure of leadership.”

Coinciding with UN Human Rights Day, the memorial in FNB Stadium was the  main scene of a week of mourning for Mandela, revered across the world as a symbol of reconciliation and forgiveness.

“He was more than one of the greatest leaders of our time. He was one of our greatest teachers,” United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon told the crowd. “His baobab tree has left deep roots that reach across the planet.”

Obama made history by shaking hands with the Cuban leader Raul Castro ahead of his speech.

He also put aside diplomatic tensions with Brazil over spying allegations by greeting president Dilma Rousseff with a kiss.

Comments (43)

What a powerful speech, brother Obama. Dictators of the world beware. The world is watching you and your autocratic days are numbered!

Feldman Bandura - 11 December 2013

i find it quite interesting that people are glorifying Obama speech, but just yesterday tokyo sexale was detained by Obama administration as an ANC terrorist which was led by a man who he is heaping praise today, is is worthy noting that Mandela himself was removed from the terrorist list some 14 years after his release from prison after they were really convinced that he was not a threat to their wealth. pliz wake up these guys cannot determine heroes for us

judgemore - 11 December 2013

@ judgemore. That Tokyo Sexwale and Madiba remained on the terrorist list in USA is clearly an administrative oversight. Nothing to write home about. "These guys" are not determining heroes for us for we love Mandela on our own. Move around Harare, Byo, Mt Darwin, Dete and see how the people are grieving for the passing on of the great hero called Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela!

Feldman Bandura - 11 December 2013

I want to touch on one issue in particular - “There are too many leaders who claim solidarity with Madiba's struggle for freedom, but do not tolerate dissent from their own people” - Obama was talking to a brickwall because for a few dictators who were in attendance it's like water off a duck's back. Brutal dictators Raul Castro, Robert Mugabe, Denis Sassou-Nguesso, Obiang Mbasogo, Ali Bongo, Yahya Jammeh and Yoweri Museveni are cases in point. Incorrigible dictators who will cling on to power mercilessly. Some dictators have had to send their proxies for fear of being overthrown while away from home. Some of these brutal dictators came on sightseeing visits and the last thing in their minds is freedom for citizens in their countries but their personal glory.

Musona - 11 December 2013

Hate him or like him Obama I think the message was delivered to the rightful receipients. Shoko harivikwi. MaDictators mazvinzwa chete.

GIZHALDO - 11 December 2013

Feldman Bandura , it's quite obvious you don't understand the American system as they do things with impunity and always have people like you who glorify them . Madiba played his rehearsed part and therefore it's a big thank you they have to give him for being an Uncle Tom after his release from prison . What has he given his people ..not even the freedom they claim to have . People can grieve because he was in the struggle without a dought but what happened to him when he was released . A good African is one who doesn't argue with whites .. That was Mandela for you ..

Jojo - 11 December 2013

I do not think that arguing with whites is a sign of progressive leadership. It is want the people in your country say about you.What really matters is that his people in South Africa are mourning and feel the loss. That is leadership.For some leaders I know people will rejoice when they die.

Mavara Azarevhu - 11 December 2013

@Jojo. I don't glorify the Americans. I also happen to know certain people not outside our borders who act with impunity. Ever heard of Talent Mabika and Tichaona Chiminya's murder? The culprit was identified and the court recommended that the culprit be brought to court but nothing has happened more than a decade later and the culprit is still employed by the state. That's impunity. The story of one Ignatius Chombo's looting of stands as well as the demand for bribes of $10 million (US) by one Obert Mpofu are known. What happened to them? Nothing. And Godwills Masimirembwa's $6m bribery scandal. Can we mention the abuse of the War Victims fund in which the culprits went scot-free with some getting ministerial jobs after being ensconced in the scandal. Can you provide evidence that Madiba was just a player in a Western written script? Nelson Mandela was nobody's doormat. Ask de Klerk who was humiliated by Mandela during the CODESA negotiations. To fight against white domination Mandela had to have military training in Algeria and he became an Umkonto weSizwe guerrilla. He sacrificed everything including his family to free the downtrodden South Africans from white oppression. The black majority did not have a vote neither did they have access to economic means. Now there are many black billionaires including former guerrilla Tokyo Sexwale and Cyril Ramaphosa. The likes of Julius Malema are swimming in opulence thanks to Mandela. South Africans are free even to boo their president at the memorial service of Madiba and that can never happen in Zim. Mzansi has one of the best constitutions the world has ever seen. Again, thanx to Rolihlahla. To show that Madiba was nobody's poodle he supported Muammar al Gaddaffi at a time Gaddaffi had pariah status in the Western world. Mandela is a good African who argued with whites and even had the cheek to refer to Queen Elisabeth simply as Elisabeth unlike some people we know!

Feldman Bandura - 11 December 2013

@Feldman Bandura. All those who say Mandela did nothing will urinate and sh**t on themselves if taken to a Police Station for one day.

Squarebasher - 11 December 2013

ichokwadi vamwe vakuru vakafa sandikufara kwatichaita pamwe hudzvanyiriri hungapere uye huwori nenhamo!!!

mablaa - 11 December 2013

Haiboo, @feldaman nothing of that sort is happening here in Zimbabwe. Why do you lie? In Zim it's just like any other day nothing unusual about , people going about their daily routines.

Hlongwane - 11 December 2013

@fieldman Bandura, thank you for standing up to the nonsense espoused by one @jojo. Facts matter in life, we are all entitled to our opinions but we cant manufacture facts. That Mandela was a true revolutionary is undisputed, that he fought whites and the west if fact, just see how Obama shook Raul Castro's hand? its never happened and probably will never again but they did at Mandela's funeral. Its because Mandela was no one's water carrier, he danced to the tune of his own drums and lived an exemplary life. He was the first to acknowledge his failures and missteps. How many of you have ever heard Mugabe say I made a mistake? the man is 89 and has never made a mistake? Recently Obama acknowledged his failure to roll out the health care law in the USA and went on national TV to apologize. Has Mugabe ever apologized for gukurahundi?, for willovale scandal. for anything,.. If you are getting something out of denigrating the memory of Madiba then say so jojo but you can not manufacture facts

tino - 11 December 2013

Obamas's speech makes very proud because not more than two days ago I posted a comment to the effect that Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela were true examples of good leadership only to have President Obama mention the names of two at the funeral commemoration of the third!

Johno - 11 December 2013

just boo Mugabe and see if u can survive another day,thanks Madiba we ar also enjoying his legacy.

dan - 11 December 2013

Mandela was a true icon who taught even the whites themselves that the African is not a savage but a normal human being with the capacity to move humanity forward through reconciliation and forgiveness and not through brutal revenge. His primary concern was to foster peaceful coexistence between blacks and whites in South Africa as the the foundation for the new rainbow nation of South Africa. There is no way he could have cured all the societal ills of the country in one day and its the duty of succeeding SA presidents to carry the torch forward and bring the social transformation every black South African yearns for. Rest in Peace Madiba. Too bad that our state media think otherwise and it makes me shudder with embarrassment for sharing the same geographical boundaries with these malcontents whose brain size only equals that of a retarded mouse. Phew!!!!

Gwandove - 11 December 2013

@Fieldman Bandura, thank you for opening the eyes for many of us here! I am one of those who were not privy of Mandela's greatness; having been brainwashed by our state media's penchant to downplay his relevance, I was lost. But having gone through his documentaries of late, his sacrifices and his refusal to be conditionally released from jail, 27 years refusing to exchange his principles with freedom, maintaining that "prisoners cannot go into contracts", I now understand why millions of South Africans are grieving. They can't be millions of fools! And to those who call him white's uncle Tom, this is what he said in 2003 when USA invaded Iraq.. “It's a tragedy what is happening, what Bush is doing. All Bush wants is Iraqi oil. There is no doubt that the U.S. is behaving badly. Why are they not seeking to confiscate weapons of mass destruction from their ally Israel? This is just an excuse to get Iraq's oil..” This was Mandela. I remember very well when I was a little boy I used to think that no one else could beat my brother, little did I know! Most of us here have known only Mugabe, so we think he is the greatest. South Africans don't know him that way, and do not need us to convince them. Like us we don't know how Mandela influenced the life of an ordinary South African. Let us therefore leave South Africans to moan their hero. Only time will tell whether Mugabe is of the same grandness or not.

Shebba - 11 December 2013

Great eulogy by Pres Obama.

Obama4eva - 11 December 2013


chimukopa - 11 December 2013


chimukopa - 11 December 2013

@Tino and Feldman Bandura - you make very persuasive arguments. Problem is you are up against people who are actually paid to try and make the other side look better than it actually is. I am sure they see and follow your intelligent conversation - but ijob yijob. They gotta do what they gotta do. So stop stressing, you make a good argument.

skuzapo - 11 December 2013

I enjoyed the speech by Obama and the bunch of African dictators got what they deserved. In defence the next day Mugabe said that Mandela did not take more than one term because most of his time was wasted by apartheid. What hogwash. Mugabe thinks we are dull. When Mandela came out of prison Mugabe had already taken two terms in office by 1990.While Mandela stepped down Mugabe brutalised the electorate to be voted into power in 2002, 2008 and 2013. Does he think Mandela was useless in 2000 to be president. What nonsense. Put the record straight. you were leaders but while Mandela led his country to prosperity Mugabe was leading his people to poverty disease, unemployment and the misery that is there today in Zimbabwe.South Africans are happy today. In Zimbabwe despite Mugabes victory people are suffering, running away to neighboring countries because of unemployment.There is decay in infrastructure and services andlife is becoming more and more difficult while Mugabes and his bunch of supporters wine and dine. Look at what was happening at ZBC. Those who sing and praise him are able to loot while others strarve

Zvigubhu Ngondongondo - 12 December 2013

Mugabe and Mandela are two different old men. Mugabe has blood on his hand. In a "moment of his madness' he massacred residents of Midlands, Matebeleland and Byo. Their crime that of supporting Nkomo. Nkomo was called a snake in the house. Today after destroying him and his party I hear he is being celebrated. Kangai stole maize, Chikowore stole petrol. Two notorious CIO killers almost killed Kombayi for challenging Muzenda. They were pardoned after conviction. They are not the only ones. Tichaona Chiminya's murderers are still living life normally. Faced by defeat in the 2000s Mr Mugabe unleashed a reign of terror. Thousands were tortured, maimed and killed. Women were raped. In the 90s The Standard News reporters Chavunduka and another were badly tortured for writing a true story. Again in the 90s PTC workers brought the nation to a halt when they went on strike. After two or so weeks their leaders were forced to call off the strike at gun point in a live broadcast on ZBC. Remember the disappearance of Rashiwe Guzha. Tongogara's mysterious accident after he had shown some interest in leading the free Zimbabwe.The thousands left homeless by Murambatsvina, punishment of urban dwellers for voting MDC. Chihuri stealing some omnibuses and being promoted thereafter. The Willowgate scandal and the response by Mugabe. Those who stole cars should be pardoned because they had liberated us. Mandela did loot state property. He did not kill. He did not protect the criminals. He stood for what was right in the true meaning. He walked the talk. He did not indicate right while turning left. He was true to himself and others. No one feared him. No one whispered criticism against him. He accepted it openly. Can we say the same the same about" dear leader" Mugabe? Never unless of course we are avoiding the truth.

mosquito - 12 December 2013

how does someone who has a 500 billion economy and the majority of hos people live in shacks in tembisa and soweto , and those better off need 24months to buy a cellphone .while foreigners and boers live in sandton, rosebank become a hero???

dickmore - 12 December 2013

@ feldman that was a well researched and thought out analysis of the geat man that Mandela was. @ jojo shame on you 4 trying to soil the unsoilable whilst trying to unsoil the filthiest solied jojos of this world

Bra Bee - 12 December 2013

Well said Mosquito!

NO BATTLE, NO VICTORY - 12 December 2013

That Mandela is a global hero is undisputed especially if it perceived so by the West. What perception of Mandela would the West have if Mandela had demanded for land distribution during his term in office? Was Robert Mugabe not a darling of the West before the 'land grab'? We are all entitled to our opinions but it is so sad to realise how shallow minded some of us are when it comes to western foreign policy. Thousands of people were killed in Matabeleland during the civil war and, most of them at the hands of security forces. But what did the America, Britain and friends do? Nothing, because it was black man killing black man. It did not directly involve the White farmer. Robert Mugabe made mistakes yes. But his biggest crime was to take land from a white man and give it to a black man. That is why he will not get any cheer from the West but will get it from Africa. When Nelson Mandela came out of prison, he was physical and mentally exhausted. And they , western countries new it! Because helped to maintain the 'status core', he is , he was a. 'Great African leader '!! But do we as Africans perceive his greatness in the same way the West perceive him. The answer is know!!! That is why Robert Mugabe also received a loud cheer whereas western leaders did not except fo Obama for the reasons we all know, that is first black American president. There will always be one Nelson Mandela and there will always be one Robert Mugabe.

Maxola - 12 December 2013

The good thing about the Mandela funeral is that we saw the truths live on TV and we no longer rely on half truth told by little papers like this daily lies paper which chose to ignore the crowd's reaction upon seeing a true African hero in the mould of Bob.

reason - 12 December 2013

Dai pasina great challenge yakauya naTsvangirai ne MDC pangadayi pasina nyaya yeminda yauri kutaura Maxola. Zarurirwa uone chokwadi.

Chokwadi - 12 December 2013

Obama and the USA are the world's biggest and most ruthless dictators. Ask the Palestinians, Libyians, Egyptians, Syrians etc. Infact ask all the Moslems and Arabs of this world who their biggest tormentor is. I hope his speech was also head by our own Lilliputan dictator Tsvangson and his followers like the party's youth league president.

Sikhosana - 12 December 2013

When Obama was giving his speech Bobo Robert Mugabe was day dreaming anga akavata hake.

Titus - 12 December 2013

If he was really inspired by Mandiba, he would have revisited US's policies towards other countries, he would have stopped the funding of wars around the globe. Not sure what kind of inspiration did he got from Madiba because Mandela promoted peace among racial divides...No matter how eloquent he was his speech amounts to nothing to me. What a hypocrite!!!

Stanford - 12 December 2013

All that is said about Mandela, Mugabe, Obama and their deeds, then, now and predicted future is mirrored into the world's minds from a worm's eye view. I implore the same world minds to caste the bird's eye view on the same characters and tell the world 1. America's contribution or views on Mandela and Mugabe before their ascent to Presidential positions of their respective countries. We want to check on that record first.

Iniwochete - 12 December 2013

Guantanamo bay and Drone strikes.....Obama was talking about himself!!!!'

joe maneta - 12 December 2013

Who the fuck is "Obama" in African politics? South African politicians are Schizophrenics who are falsely deluded that Barrack Obama is African. He isn't the black president of America. He is as black as he is white depending on the side of the coin. Those who understand genes will probably tell us how the chromosomes work to make feotus. I don't like outsiders to come and own our African politics as if we didn't have Obasanju, Mugabe, Mbeki, Kaunda etc to praise Mandela on his heroism.

Matanda Masairirwa - 13 December 2013

Did people expect Mandela to change anything within five years, get your head examined then. Mandela played his part and acknowledge that what lies ahead is a huge task which needs young energetic man, what a man. Who can do that. His duty then was to stabalise the transition and he did it immaculately. The problem we want to compare with our own who has been failing us since 1980. What matters is what the people of SA wanted and they are showing it now that they appreciated that. We will continue talking about sovereignity and owning our resources but at the end of the day we are very poor and that why we are scattered all over

Minamina - 13 December 2013

Dear Fredman , "adminstrative oversight" are you sure ? but then again let me not judge you you might be one of those that get very happy when they see a carrot and cant see the stick in the other hand of the same person smiling at them and giving them a carrot . pachikaranga tinoti kwadzinorohwa matumbu ndiko kwadzinomhanyira , much said , vhukamaulele.

Wilson - 14 December 2013

Dear Fredman , "adminstrative oversight" are you sure ? but then again let me not judge you you might be one of those that get very happy when they see a carrot and cant see the stick in the other hand of the same person smiling at them and giving them a carrot . pachikaranga tinoti kwadzinorohwa matumbu ndiko kwadzinomhanyira , much said , vhukamaulele.

Wilson - 14 December 2013

USA 44TH President & the world`s most Powerful man gave a very powerful eulogy on Madiba at the FNB Stadium much to the chagrin of Matinjili Matibili ,the murderous despot fraudulently&violently clinging to the Zim Presidency.RIP TATA MADIBA.the Global anti apartheid ICON.

Dr ZVICHAPERACHETE - 17 December 2013

To say the truth, those who sing and dance to Obama's tunes simply do not know or understand the yoke of tyranny. Why obama sang praises for madiba is different from why africans celebrate the death of the galant son of the soil. The west revere mandela because right now in south africa, Boers hold the keys to economic emancipation while our dear "liberated" comrades wallow in poverty in soweto. what our President mugabe is trying to do and has successfully managed to do is to shift the corridor of economic power from a few white minority to the generality of all Zimbabweans regardless of being in Mbare, Epworth or Umwinsidale. Do you know that south Africans are heavily burdened by debt yet the afrikaners enjoy the luxury of Captown beaches? Kutaura kwechokwadi, Va Mugabe tichavafunga vasisipo. Today i weep for my fellow comrades who are still dancing to the politics of the stomach isu vamwe tave ne economic freedom. muchasiira vana nhamo nekuda shuga. Let's work hard for our country tibudirire. do you think Britain naivo vana Obama vamunoda ava will one day wake up vachizokupai mari makarara? Let us be african. Lets embrace our own leaders, let us embrace our own domestic policies for economic growth. The problem is some of us dont read. If you may go back to China's history, you will realise what these Eastern fellows did to be what they are today - the second biggest Economy in the world. AKURUMA NZEVE NDEWAKO. PAMBERI NEKUSHANDIRA NYIKA YEDU!

Josiah - 17 December 2013

Mandela was a hero,true because he spent 27 yrs in jail singing about freedom for South Africans.Yes he participated through the support of the people for them to get independence.That was all he did.Are South Africans independent today?No, the white man is still in control because Mandela did not do what he was supposed to do (give total independence to S.Africans).Thats why you find no go areas for blacks in S.A and you call it freedon for S.Africans.Up to his day of dearth Mandela never raised his voice against the west because he new they would never recognise him in any way.When he was out of prison Winnie said it openly to the other S.African leaders that NELSON ROLINHLANHLA MANDELA was a sell-out and that they must be carefull about him.This was in relation to his stance and dealings with the whites.I can write 95 pages for you but Mandela left the S.Africans unliberated and suffering in the hands of whites.Call Mugabe a dictator if you want but he has done more than enough for his people and thats why the whites are fighting Zimbabwe so foolishly and openly.GO HANG YOURSELVES 100 TIMES and i will repeat DOCTATORS are the western leaders,sick.

alloys - 18 December 2013

South Africans booed their own leader.Lesson to S Africans is that they must do it through the ballot box.Don't be fooled by Zimbabweans who criticise Mugabe as if the don't like him yet when the ballot comes they are the first to vote for him.It's called house leeping.

alloys - 18 December 2013

Mugabe is a democrat, ask Tsvangirai; he'll tell you. Mugabe has been democratically elected every 5 years and winning fairly and freely. It is Obama's problem to try and impose candidates for electoral competition in foreign lands. He attempts to remote control our election. Whenever his incompetent horse fails; he cries fraud, and dictators this, dictators that. Madiba quit politics on his own volition, with out consulting Mugabe because they not relate. In fact, they are two different individuals representing their people's interests differently, albeit, the aim is almost the same. However, the Madibas found the going too cumbersome to confront the enemy, hence his strange behavior towards his fellow blacks. His strange behavior, however, will not take away his countrymen, i.e., blacks' sympathies over his long incarceration. RIP Tata Madiba you were a for the White capital. Let them keep stolen wealthy forever in the name of reconciliation.

ivhu raramba - 18 December 2013

Why is it that its always the Mafikizolos; the Johnny-come-lately who are so desperate for the centre stage, yet those who started it all are just relaxed and never claim anything? Mugabe was nothing in politics and African nationalism until the 1970s. Even then, he joined politics by way of an invitation from Ghana; politics was not is game - now how do you compared such a person to a trail blazer like Mandela. Robert Mugabe was released from prison only after 11 years, still a healthy young man. He never faced hard labour. The Rhodesian system was not as brutal as apartheid. Mugabe sold out to the West in the erly 1980s, but his supporters conveniently ignore this. He only went for the land after losing the referendum to the MDC and seeing whites supporting the MDC. Where is the heroism in this? Mandela has never wavered; he has been consistent with his beliefs right from the time of his Rivonia trial speech in 1964. People here expected him to abandon these nationa building principles in preference for Mugabe's childish antics of ".....because you have now chosen to support my opponents the MDC; I will grab your land, because you refuse to support me". All this west this, west that is just for his foolish supporters consumption - were the west's policies any different from what they are now, when he wined and dined with them in the 1980? He loved Queen Elizabeth, and he still does, is she not Western? She is the epitome of British Colonialism and Cecil Johna Rhodes, but she like her. He copies everything British when opening Parliemnt, but is gullible worshippers see no contradiction in this, how funny LOL, LOL!!

NKALAKATHA!! - 18 December 2013

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