Tony Blair wanted Mbeki to help him remove Mugabe by force. But Mbeki refused.
The brazen and lurid confidence with which the West has when it comes to interfering in the affairs of other countries is completely despicable. The unstoppable urge to meddle in the affairs of other countries mirrors the imperialist state of mind. And it is one that must be condemned in the strongest terms possible.
In 2013, South Africa’s former president Thabo Mbeki came out claiming that Tony Blair, the former British Prime Minister, asked for his help so that Zimbabwe could be invaded. Such invasion was meant to culminate in Robert Mugabe losing power. This came at the height of political tensions in 2000, when Zimbabwe’s economy was falling because of frosty relations with the international community over the land reform program. South Africa’s Mbeki wanted to reach for a settlement with the Mugabe-led administration, while Tony Blair wanted war and total mayhem. If push came to shove, Mugabe had to go by force.
Mbeki, speaking to the Telegraph, said, “The problem was, we were speaking from different positions. There were other people saying ‘yes indeed there are political problems, economic problems, the best way to solve them is regime change. So Mugabe must go’. This was the difference. So they said ‘Mugabe must go’. But we said ‘Mugabe is part of the solution to this problem’.”
These two positions just reveal the contempt that the West harboured towards the Mugabe-led administration.
“There is a retired chief of the British armed forces and [he] said that he had to withstand pressure from the then prime minister of the United Kingdom, Tony Blair, who was saying to the chief of the British armed forces, ‘you must work out a military plan so we that can physically remove Robert Mugabe’.”
“We knew that, because we had come under the same pressure, and that we need to cooperate in some scheme – it was a regime change scheme – even to the point of using military force, and we said ‘no'”.
The need to assume an oversight role over African countries by the West is an idea that is sustained by those countries right up to this day. There is always an attempt to push the narrative that without the help of the West, Africa succumbs to whatever that ravages it. And yet, this notion must be warded off at all costs. It is one that should never be entertained. It was on this principle that Mbeki refused to give his assent to the military plan. Britain simply had no right to interfere in the internal affairs of a sovereign country. What would be the essence of the liberation struggle if such independence could be compromised like that?
The idea that the West have a responsibility to be the purported saviours of Africa must be put asunder.
The idea of military intervention in Zimbabwe by Britain wasn’t given much seriousness – but the fact that it had popped up shows how much flawed “Western democracy” is, as it premised on this idea of assuming an oversight role over everyone else.