Ex-leader Robert Mugabe says he didn’t ruin Zimbabwe and “we weren’t that bad” in terms of human rights.
Mugabe, who presided over years of economic collapse and political turmoil in once-prosperous Zimbabwe, told Britain’s ITV News: “In comparison to other countries in Africa there is greater prosperity here.”
“People have their land; they won’t starve in this country, which in other countries happens,” the 94-year-old said earlier this week as he made his first comments to the international press since he was persuaded to step down in November.
He was replaced by his former deputy Emmerson Mnangagwa, who’s vowed to hold free and fair elections later this year.
Errors were made
Mugabe admitted that “errors” were made under his government with regards to not safeguarding human rights.
“That’s a very difficult area. I agree we offended with regard to that area in relation to how we handled the opposition, the violence,” he said at his mansion in Harare. But he added: “We weren’t that bad in comparison to other countries.”
Army imposed Mnangagwa
Mugabe’s claim that he was forced to resign won’t please the new government, which has tried to avoid the events of November being labelled a coup. Mugabe said Mnangagwa had been imposed by the army.
But he said Mnangagwa’s promise of free and fair elections was “a good start”.
“A promise is not the reality. It’s just a promise. Fine if he’s promising at least it’s a good start and I’m prepared to join him in making the process – the promise – a reality,” Mugabe said.