Nelson Mandela said there had been a tragic failure of leadership in Zimbabwe in his first public comments about the country's political crisis.
Mandela made the comments in a dinner speech in London attended by Prime Minister Gordon Brown and former US President Bill Clinton in which he only touched briefly on the problems in Zimbabwe.
“We watch with sadness the continuing tragedy in Darfur. Nearer to home we had seen the outbreak of violence against fellow Africans in our own country and the tragic failure of leadership in our neighbouring Zimbabwe,” the former South African president said.
“The world remains beset by so much human suffering, poverty and deprivation. It is now in the hands of your generations to help rid the world of such suffering.”
Zimbabwe's opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai pulled out of the presidential run-off over the weekend, saying he could not ask his supporters to risk being killed for voting for him. His actions follow weeks of violence and intimidation by President Robert Mugabe's supporters. Mugabe's Zanu PF party has said the presidential run off will go ahead as planned on Friday.