|photo courtesy of Larry Downing/Reuters|
(Reuters) - President Barack Obama criticized Zimbabwean leader Robert Mugabe on Tuesday and warned Africa not to repeat the mistakes that betrayed the hopes of an "independence generation," which included his own father.
"I'll be honest with you. I am heartbroken when I see what has happened in Zimbabwe," he said at a White House event to discuss the continent's future.
Obama invited 115 young Africans, selected as the region's future leaders, to take part in a three-day forum marking the 50th anniversary of independence in many of their countries, while looking toward the next 50 years.
As America's first black president whose father was Kenyan, Obama's words carry special weight in Africa and he did not mince them. He urged greater press freedom, said corruption sapped support for foreign aid, and aimed harsh criticism at Zimbabwe's long-serving president.
"I think Mugabe is an example of a leader who came in as a liberation fighter and, I'm just going to be very blunt, I do not see him serving his people well," Obama told the meeting in response to a question about sanctions.
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