Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe greeting former South African President Thabo Mbeki. The two leaders are working on a unity government plan for Zimbabwe., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
EDITORIAL COMMENT: Thabo Mbeki deserves honour
November 28, 2013
Opinion & Analysis
Yesterday we carried a story which quoted former South African president Cde Thabo Mbeki revealing that his government had been under pressure from the Labour regime of British premier Tony Blair to co-operate in a planned military invasion of Zimbabwe to abet Blair’s illegal regime change bid.
Cde Mbeki made the revelations in an interview with Aljazeera on Saturday, saying the British wanted to replace President Mugabe with their cat’s paw, MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai who is on record pledging to violently unseat President Mugabe.
Cde Mbeki rebuffed the British overtures.
Unlike Tsvangirai who willingly sold out his own country, Cde Mbeki refused to be used against Zimbabwe.
We are sure many remember the clip that captured Blair telling the House of Commons that he worked closely with the MDC on destabilising Zimbabwe, and was trying to bring South Africa on board.
‘‘We work closely with the MDC on the measures we should take in respect of Zimbabwe although, I am afraid, these measures and sanctions, although we have them in place, are of limited effect on the Mugabe regime.
“We must be realistic about that. It is still important that we give every chance to, and make every effort to, try and help those in South Africa, the southern part of Africa to put pressure for change on the Mugabe regime . . . ” Blair told the House of Commons in June 2004, but found no joy from a resilient Thabo Mbeki who insisted the problems in Zimbabwe could only be resolved by Zimbabweans.
We have flown this kite before and we fly it again. History will record that after a decade of sustained assault on the foundation Zimbabwe laid since April 18, 1980, on September 12, 2008, the Westerners came unstuck as Zimbabwe remained not only standing but united for nation building, with the regime change project in tatters.
And of course having pride of place in that historic story of Africa’s maiden victory over neo-colonial regime change projects will be Cde Mbeki, a man who personified the Biblical neighbour by refusing to be used against his brothers and sisters in Zimbabwe.
Others dubbed him their ‘‘point man on Zimbabwe’’, yet others implored him ‘‘to work closely with them over Zimbabwe’’ but his resolute refrain: ‘‘Zimbabwe is not a province of South Africa and Zimbabweans have the capacity to resolve their problems”, always rang out.
Cde Mbeki today stands vindicated and all those who opposed and badmouthed him over Zimbabwe have been proved wrong.
Zimbabwe is not only off the Sadc agenda but will be at the core of Sadc leadership for the next three years. First as deputy chair, the chair, and member of Summit Troika.
The power-sharing deal, Cde Mbeki brokered between Zanu-PF, the MDC-T and MDC was a celebration of African solutions to African problems as espoused in the MoU that preceded the deal, and served as a wake-up call to all Africans to believe in themselves and not always look outside for solutions.
We are aware of the enormous personal and national sacrifices this great son of Africa made to defend our right to self-determination and the flak he received from the reactionary media in Zimbabwe and abroad that would rather have seen us at each others throats for ‘‘good’’ copy.
It is important to note that apart from President Mugabe, no other man was subjected to as much pressure over Zimbabwe as Cde Mbeki was made to bear.
The fact that he refused to give in when it would have been easier to do so testifies to his leadership credentials.
To this end we once again call on Government to honour this great man in his lifetime.
We have traditionally honoured our heroes both domestic and foreign by naming roads after them. There are still many roads in and around Harare as well as in many other cities and towns that can proudly carry the name of this great son of Africa let alone the road by the Zanu-PF national headquarters itself, that is still named after Lieutenant Colonel Edward Pennefather, who led the mercenaries euphemistically called the Pioneer Column to colonise our country on behalf of the British crown.