In Zimbabwe, President Robert Mugabe’s government is accusing Britain of plotting to invade the country and assassinate top members of the ruling ZANU-PF party. The accusation follows on the heels of a recent revelation by a confidant of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair who said there were discussions of possible British invasion of Zimbabwe. But the Mugabe government said Zimbabwe is ever prepared to defend itself against both local and international aggression.
Britain, however maintains that Mugabe’s government has a terrible human rights record. Sydney Masamvu is a Zimbabwean senior political analyst with the International Crisis Group in South Africa. He tells reporter Peter Clottey from the capital, Pretoria that Harare’s accusation is no news.
“It’s a long running saga of strained relations between the government of Zimbabwe and the government of Britain over their political differences on the issue of governance and the issue of the historical injustices should be resolved. So beyond this, one would want just to classify it as a more of rhetoric based on the historical and bilateral differences between the government of Zimbabwe and the government of Britain,” Masamvu pointed out.
He agreed that the revelation reportedly by Blair’s friend would give President Mugabe’s government some ammunition.
“In a way it does confirm the feeling of the Zimbabwe government that Britain has and still wants to effect a regime change. That is not to say by the same token that it dismisses the fact that there is need for a change in leadership in Zimbabwe,” he said.
Masamvu said the Zimbabwe government has not done well by its failure to provide good governance to alleviate the suffering its people.
“Let us not see lions where there are no lions. You cannot strengthen your case when you have ruined the country. You cannot strengthen your case when you have ill-governed a country. You cannot strengthen your case when you are committing human rights abuses. You cannot strengthen your case when you are oppressing your own people,” Masamvu noted.
He blamed President Mugabe for what he described as playing African political showmanship.
“Mugabe must not be given credit for showmanship or playing the victim card to the African continent when Zimbabweans are suffering. That is not the issue. The issue is that Mugabe should account to what he has done to the sufferings of Zimbabweans, not what Britain is doing, but what Zimbabweans are demanding. At best Zimbabweans deserved to be governed well. Zimbabweans are demanding a meal on their table, that is what Zimbabweans need,” he said.
Masamvu said both Zimbabwe and Britain should own up to flouting agreements they signed some time ago.
“Believe you me, the issue of what the British have done and what they have not done is neither here nor there. But let’s learn to apportion blame. Indeed the British have issues, which they are supposed to honor in terms of the historical obligation, which they were supposed to meet in terms of helping in the land reform program. Indeed the British should fulfill that obligation. The British cannot and would not tell Mugabe how to run the country and how not to run it. So in a way, let each party takes the blame of what it has to in terms of the crisis, which is in Zimbabwe,” Masamvu said.