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Published: May 26, 2013
President Robert Mugabe has criticised anti apartheid hero Nelson Mandela for being too soft on whites, in an unseen documentary set to grace the world next month.
The documentary produced by People of the South’s Dali Tambo gives a rare and intimate peep into the family life of one of Africa’s longest serving leaders in human history.
The 89-year old spoke on a wide range of issues from his controversial hold on power, to his relationships with former British premiers Tony Blair and Margaret Thatcher.
The two-and-a-half hour interview, described in detail by British and South African media ahead of its airing, shows the usually bellicose and sharp-tongued Mugabe as a loving family man.
In the programme, Tambo dines with Mugabe’s family at his wife Grace’s dairy farm.
The interview comes just months before crucial general elections in the country which in recent decades has gone from being the breadbasket of southern Africa to its biggest problem child.
Mugabe,a long serving liberation leader, has over a decade clashed with the West over controversial policies which saw white-owned farms violently seized.
In neighbouring South Africa, where white land ownership is still a flashpoint, Mugabe says former president Nelson Mandela was not hard enough.
“Mandela has gone a bit too far in doing good to the non-black communities, really in some cases at the expense of (blacks),” Mugabe said of Mandela.
“Britain will praise you only if you are doing things that please them,”Mugabe added.
“That’s being too saintly, too good, too much of a saint,” he is quoted as saying.
Despite Mugabe’s disagreements with former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher, who died in April, he says he preferred the Iron Lady to her later successor Tony Blair.
“Mrs Thatcher, you could trust. But of course what happened later was a different story with the Labour Party and Blair, who you could never trust,” said Mugabe.
“Who can ever believe what Mr Blair says? Here we call him Bliar.”
Having governed for 32 years, Zimbabwe’s octogenarian leader insists on staying in power.
“My people still need me,” he told Tambo.
“And when people still need you to lead them, it’s not time, sir, it doesn’t matter how old you are, to say goodbye.”
Mugabe is currently sharing power with his rival Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai after violent disputed polls in 2008.There is no definite date for this year’s elections but are likely to be held in July.
In the open interview Mugabe also explains his affair with Grace. He married Grace, his secretary over 40 years his junior, after Sally Mugabe died in 1992. The couple have three children.