Christopher Farai Charamba Correspondent
Former South African president Thabo Mbeki recently began sharing articles online focusing on his time in the ANC and South African leadership. In the articles, dubbed the “Thabo Mbeki Letters”, Cde Mbeki gives his own perspective and opinion on various events, people and periods, some well known and in other places offering new information or a different viewpoint.
In his latest instalment titled “South Africa’s Policy Towards Zimbabwe – A Synopsis”, Cde Mbeki covers a wide range of issues from the historical links between Zanu, Zapu and the ANC, ANC relations with the Zimbabwean Government, Zimbabwe’s land reform programme and South Africa as well as the issue of regime change in Zimbabwe.
From Cde Mbeki’s account, while the South African government was facilitating negotiations between Zanu-PF and the MDC which culminated in the Global Political Agreement, other forces were plotting the removal of President Mugabe and the imposition of what would be a Western stooge.
“There were others in the world, led particularly by the UK, who opposed our approach of encouraging the Zimbabweans to decide their future. These preferred regime change – the forcible removal of President Mugabe and his replacement by people approved by the UK and its allies,” said Cde Mbeki.
He added that this is why he and his government were criticised for their “quiet diplomacy” as South Africa would not follow the whims of the West to dictate policy on Zimbabwe.
“What was wrong with ‘quiet diplomacy’, which led to the adoption of the GPA discussed by (Wilbert) Mukori, was that it defended the right of the people of Zimbabwe to determine their future, as opposed to the desire by some in the West to carry out regime change in Zimbabwe and impose their will on the country.
“In the period preceding the 2002 Zimbabwe elections, the UK and the US in particular were very keen to effect this regime change and failing which to impose various conditions to shorten the period of any Mugabe Presidency,” he said.
Cde Mbeki states that the information relating to regime change in Zimbabwe was communicated directly to the South African government through Minister of Intelligence Lindiwe Sisulu on her trips to London and Washington.
While some have tried to deny the targeted efforts by the West at exacting regime change in Zimbabwe, Cde Mbeki’s first-hand experience corroborates what the Zimbabwean Government has time and time again stated.
The sanctions against Zimbabwe by the US and her allies are some of the conditions that have been imposed to “shorten the period of any Mugabe presidency”.
This goes to show that while the US and her allies preach the gospel of democracy and sovereignty, they are in fact hypocrites and neo-imperialists at heart who would rather recolonise the world and rule it by proxy through their chosen puppets.
State sovereignty and the will of the people mean nothing to these Western powers who under the guise of democratising the world have forged a path of war, despair and destruction. Examples include Iraq, where former American president George W. Bush lied about weapons of mass destruction in the country and started a war that has devastated Iraq and the Middle East region.
Libya under its murdered leader Muammar Gaddafi was transformed to Africa’s richest nation from one of the poorest when he inherited it in 1967. Since his assassination in 2011 Libya has become a hell hole.
As Harvard scholar Garikai Chengu has observed: “Western military intervention (in Libya) has caused all of the worst-scenarios: Western embassies have all left, the south of the country has become a haven for ISIS terrorists, and the northern coast a centre of migrant trafficking.”
The West, in fact, always had a history of regime change and imposing leaders they could control. During the empire days the colonial administrators broke the social and cultural framework of the society by imposing their own chiefs by circumventing the customs of the indigenous people.
These chiefs were more often than not illegitimate with no claim to the chieftainship and as such owed their new positions to the colonial masters. Everything they did was thus to please the proverbial hand that fed them.
In the post-colonial period the modus operandi remained the same. After the CIA assassinated Congo’s Patrice Lumumba in 1961 the Joseph Kasavubu administration was weakened and in 1965 the US-backed dictator Mobutu Sese Seko seized power. Under Sese Seko’s one-man rule, the United States was the third largest donor of aid to Zaire after Belgium and France.
A similar situation existed in Uganda where the UK-backed British-educated military man Idi Amin was seen as the right successor to Milton Obote and seized power in a coup in 1971. In fact, prior to Ugandan independence he was known by the British to be “intensely loyal to Britain”.
What this goes to show is that one should always be wary when the West takes a particular liking to certain leaders. One must question those African politicians who choose to cosy up to the West and accept their funding. Are they advancing the interests of their people or those of their Western sponsors?
The regime change agenda and Western disdain for certain African leaders also tell something about the interests of a leader who they wish to remove and set an agenda against.
For over a decade and a half President Mugabe has weathered the regime change agenda of Britain, the US and their allies. Advancing the interests of Africans against those of the West has seen unwarranted attacks on him as well as on the people of Zimbabwe in the hope that they would remove him.
The people have, however, time and time again shown their support for President Mugabe despite the harsh economic and social conditions they have found themselves under.
In his letter, Cde Mbeki makes it clear the South African government advanced a solution to the situation in Zimbabwe that “defended the right of the people of Zimbabwe to determine their future”.
“Throughout these years we defended the right of the people of Zimbabwe to determine their destiny, including deciding on who should govern the country. This included resisting all efforts to impose other people’s solutions on Zimbabwe, which, if this had succeeded, would have served as a precursor for a similar intervention in our country,” he said.
While the hypocritical West goes around the world exacting regime change in the name of democratising states, Cde Mbeki highlights an important aspect of state sovereignty in that the people of a particular country are the only authority with the right to determine who and how they should be governed.
The dictatorial style of the West goes against the ethos by which they say they stand and has had a destructive effect on all the states through which their so-called “winds of democracy” have blown.