ALTHOUGH former British premier Tony Blair, a certified war criminal was at pains trying to deny revelations by former South African president Cde Thabo Mbeki that he had approached South Africa seeking support for a military invasion of Zimbabwe; innuendos in his memoirs, “Journey: My Political Life”, and revelations by former British chief of staff Lord Charles Guthrie prove Mr Blair was being economic with the truth in the same manner he lied about Iraq.
In an interview published in the Independent UK on November 11 2007, former head of the British armed forces Lord Charles Guthrie revealed that an invasion of Zimbabwe had been discussed during Blair’s premiership.
“We used to talk about things,” Lord Guthrie said in response to question on his relationship with Mr Blair, “I could say anything to him, because he knew I wasn’t going to spill the beans.” Astonishingly, the subjects discussed included invading Zimbabwe, “which people were always trying to get me to look at. My advice was, ‘Hold hard, you’ll make it worse.’”
Speaking on the programme “Talk to Al Jazeera”, Cde Mbeki revealed that South Africa had been under pressure from Blair’s Labour regime to co-operate in a military invasion of Zimbabwe to depose President Mugabe and Zanu-PF but dug in, insisting the problems in Zimbabwe could only be solved by Zimbabweans and President Mugabe was part of the solution.
Mr Blair wanted to replace President Mugabe with MDC-T leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai, whom he — along with the Tories and Liberal Democrats — had thrust to the leadership of the MDC.
“There is a retired chief of the British Armed Forces (Lord Charles Guthrie) who said he had to withstand pressure from 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 that we can physically remove Robert Mugabe.
“We knew that because we had come under the same pressure that we needed to co-operate in some scheme. It was a regime change scheme, even to the point of using military force and we were saying no,” Cde Mbeki told Al Jazeera over the weekend.
A spokesman for Mr Blair responded to Cde Mbeki’s revelations, saying: “Tony Blair has long believed Zimbabwe would be much better off without Robert Mugabe and always argued for a tougher stance against him, but he never asked anyone to plan or take part in any military intervention.”
The record will, however, show that the Blair regime approached South Africa, Namibia, Mozambique and Botswana with the invasion plans but found no takers, a fact Blair alludes to on page 229 of his memoirs, “A Journey: My Political Life”, where he says in part:
“People often used to say to me: If you got rid of the gangsters in Sierra Leone, Milosevic, the Taliban and Saddam, why can’t you get rid of Mugabe? The answer is: I would have loved to; but it wasn’t practical (since in his (Mugabe’s) case, and for reasons I never quite understood, the surrounding African nations maintained a lingering support for him and would have opposed any action strenuously)”.
The memoirs were released in 2010, three years after Blair’s unceremonious departure from office and a year into the inclusive Government that brought together Zanu-PF, MDC-T and the MDC.
Political analysts yesterday criticised former British prime minister Mr Tony Blair for his dishonesty following his attempt to disown revelations by former South African president Mr Thabo Mbeki on Aljazeera television that he pressurised him to assist removing President Mugabe from power militarily.
In an interview yesterday, war veteran Mrs Margaret Dongo applauded Cde Mbeki for his resolute defence of Zimbabwe.
“Mr Blair realised he fought a losing battle and that it was embarrassing for him and his kinsmen to accept defeat. Thabo Mbeki has remained resolute in his defence of Zimbabwe. I salute him for being a principled revolutionary. He has remained committed to the goals of the liberation struggle.
“In fact, he understood the nature of the fight — it was the imperialists’ way of trying to dismantle Sadc. Had he given in to Blair’s demands, that would have been the demise of Sadc. It’s a victory for Sadc. Losers never give up,” she said. Mrs Dongo said the revelations about the push for military intervention by Mr Blair and the subsequent defeat of the MDC-T in the July 31 harmonised elections should be a lesson to Zimbabwe’s detractors.
“If you are fighting a battle with preconceived ideas, you never get anywhere.
“Bob is not Zimbabwe, he is only the current leader who has been mandated by Zimbabweans to lead them, even though there are some who think he shouldn’t.
“Blair left a festering wound on the country — these sanctions. Ten years of sanctions, but we still have a country to talk about.
“Zimbabwe’s detractors should be ashamed. Zimbabwe will never accept these sanctions. Zimbabweans refused to be used as guinea pigs, puppets.
“The Blair saga failed to get results. It’s a shame to those whom he supported. President Mugabe is still in office, but where is Blair? Where is Tsvangirai?
“Ndookunonzi kutsamira tsanga iri mumvura, inodonha mukaerera mese nemvura.
“Had there been that war, women and children would have suffered.”
Another political analyst Dr Nhamo Mhiripiri of the Midlands State University said it was unfair for Mr Blair to portray Mr Mbeki as a liar.
“These are two former leaders of countries — one renowned for promoting African interests and another for wanting to influence opinion in the region,” he said.
“When Blair disputes something he said at a diplomatic level, he is denigrating us as Africans and despises our moral aptitude. To say Mbeki is a liar, is saying that we can’t be relied upon. That is serious colonial attitude.
“Britain and America are known to use the policy of ‘by all means necessary’ to achieve what they want,” said Dr Mhiripiri.