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Zimbabwe’s first black Test cricketer Henry Olonga, who had been forced to flee the state after protesting against Robert Mugabe, says he takes”no pleasure” in the ex-president’s death.
Mugabe died aged 95 on Friday.
He had been ousted during a military coup at 2017 decades of economic ruin and repression.
“People have been saying maybe I’ll have a drink for a toast, however I get no pleasure from his passing,” Olonga stated.
“In fact, it makes me incredibly sad, because he could have represented, he failed to scale the heights of somebody like Nelson Mandela. He turned into a megalomaniac, a power-hungry tyrant, a dictator and a man who subjugated his own people while purporting to be representing them”
Olonga, who lives in Adelaide, Australia, wore a black armband in support of a demonstration in Harare at the 2003 Cricket World Cup, that has been hosted by Kenya, Zimbabwe and South Africa.
He had been joined by captain Andy Flower, along with the pair issued a statement to journalists at the Harare Sports Club in which they denounced the”death of democracy” in their symbolism.
The activity made headlines across the world – and ended their careers.
Olonga faced death threats, fleeing to England rather than playing for Zimbabwe again and was exiled from his homeland.
In his presidency Mugabe was praised for gaining entry to education and health for the black majority, however later years were marked by violent repression of his political competitors and Zimbabwe ruin.
Olonga, the nation’s first black cricketer, said he is in a position to”give credit where it is due”.
“He was critical in helping Zimbabwe attain its liberty and liberty,” Olonga, 43, informed PA news bureau.
“He ensured that black people who did not have it in the 1960s and 1970s might have the right to vote, although of course even the very first elections that the individual Zimbabwe had were discriminated with alleged incidents of voter intimidation and violence.
“He was among the liberation war heroes and that won’t ever be removed from him. But regrettably the heritage of this guy is that he will be remembered as a barbarous tyrant and dictator.”
In 2013, for a special BBC 5 Live programme aired 10 years following the famous black armband protest, former England head coach Flower stated a farming buddy affected by Mugabe’s land reforms said that it was his”moral obligation to not really go about his business as normal during the World Cup”, and that this changed his own opinion of Zimbabwe.
Flower knew the chances of engaging the group were distant, so he decided to strategy Olonga.
“I believed Henry may grab the concept and also have the courage of his own convictions to take a stand,” additional Flower.
“I also thought the simple fact that it would be one white Zimbabwean plus one black one operating together gave the concept the most eloquent equilibrium .”
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