FORMER British Prime Minister Tony Blair leaned on South Africa to back a plot for a military invasion of Zimbabwe and topple President Mugabe from power, former President Thabo Mbeki has revealed. Mr Mbeki made the revelations on a televised programme on Aljazeera TV on Saturday, saying the British wanted to replace President Mugabe with MDC-T leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai.
The British Government has been sponsoring the MDC-T since its formation in 1999 to effect regime change in Zimbabwe, but the plan has come to grief.
Speaking on Talk to Aljazeera, the former South African President said: “There is a retired chief of the British Armed Forces 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 cooperate in some scheme. It was a regime change scheme, even to the point of using military force and we were saying no.”
Mr Mbeki, who facilitated inter-party talks that led to the formation of the now defunct inclusive Government made up of Zanu-PF and the MDC formations in 2008, took a swipe at the West for interfering in the domestic affairs of sovereign nations, particularly in Africa and the Middle East in a bid to install puppet regimes.
“You’re coming from London, I don’t like President Mugabe for whatever reason, people in London don’t like him…you are going to remove him, it means you are going to put somebody else in his place. Why does it become a British responsibility to decide who leads the people of Zimbabwe?” he said.
“We were saying no. Let Zimbabweans sit down. Let them agree what they do with their country. Our task is to make sure we stay with them. We work with them.
“So, the GPA they signed in 2008 was negotiated by the Zimbabweans. We facilitated. We chaired the meeting and so on, but it was them who negotiated the agreement.