by TZN Correspondent
FORMER South African President Thabo Mbeki has laid blame on UK saying it had a major part to play in the violent land invasions of 2000 reiterating sensational claims that the British government planned to remove Robert Mugabe in a military operation.
Mr Mbeki has been releasing a series of weekly letters in which he discusses some of the controversial issues of his term.The letters are titled “SOUTH AFRICA’S POLICY TOWARDS ZIMBABWE – A SYNOPSIS”
In the latest letter published on Monday, Mr Mbeki wrote that “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.
Mr Mbeki in his letter suggested that the UK had a major part to play in the violent land invasions of 2000 which precipitated Zimbabwe’s economic collapse. Mr Mbeki wrote that Mr Blair told him that the British governments he led never formally took a decision to repudiate the Lancaster House Agreement, which committed to giving the government of Zimbabwe the financial means to carry out the required land redistribution in a nonconfrontational manner.
“Unfortunately, contrary to what the Conservative prime ministers Margaret Thatcher and John Major had agreed, Tony Blair’s secretary of state for international development, Claire Short, repudiated the commitment to honour the undertaking made at Lancaster House…. Later, Prime Minister Blair told me that the British governments he led never formally took this decision to repudiate the Lancaster House Agreement and regretted that in the end, his government had to accept it because Claire Short had succeeded to convince the UK public that it was indeed government policy,” Mr Mbeki wrote.
In an article published in the UK daily The Telegraph last year, London mayor Boris Johnson, suggested that the decision by the UK to recant the Lancaster House Agreement somewhat led to the land grabs in Zimbabwe.
“It is vital to recognise that Zimbabwe was not always like this, and did not have to be like this. This Mugabe tyranny is no accident — and Britain played a shameful part in the disaster,” Mr Johnson wrote.
He discussed the Lancaster House Agreement in which the then prime minister Margaret Thatcher granted independence to Rhodesia. It was that agreement that also guaranteed compensation for Britain’s settler farmers.