Monday, 6 July 2009

Benn slams UK hypocrisy on Zimbabwe

Benn slams UK hypocrisy on Zim

BRITAIN has no right to lecture Zimbabwe on democracy because of a shameful colonial legacy, veteran Labour Party politician Tony Benn has said.

The former UK government minister and Labour’s second longest serving MP trained as a pilot for Britain’s World War II effort in white-ruled Southern Rhodesia.

In an interview for the BBC’s Five Minutes television programme broadcast on Saturday, the left wing grandee said criticism of the Zimbabwe government was “total hypocrisy” given the legacy of white colonial rule.

He said: “I learnt to fly in what’s now Zimbabwe. When I was there, there was no democracy at all.

“All the good land had been stolen and given to white farmers; no African had votes; it was a criminal offence to have a skilled job and now we lecture Zimbabwe on democracy … it’s totally hypocrisy!”

Benn said his heroes were “great model leaders” Mandela, Ghandi and Tutu, “none of them European and none of them white”.

He added: “I think it’s very important to remember that teaching is the key thing, history is made by teachers and movements and not by political leaders.”

Benn, currently president of the Stop the War Coalition, has met all three men, and Ghandi in particular left a mark on him – but he doesn’t remember exactly what India’s pre-eminent political and spiritual leader said to him.

Benn, who was MP in the House of Commons for almost 50 years, said: “Ghandi was sitting on the floor, and I sat down and listened to him. I can’t remember what he said but the power of the man, and the power of none violence is huge in the world.”
Published On: Monday, July 06, 2009 11:00 AM GMT
© New Zimbabwe News

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