A former British minister for Africa has denied former President Thabo Mbeki’s claim that the Britain government considered invading Zimbabwe.
Lord Peter Hain denied the claim in a Twitter post on Thursday.
Mbeki made it at a memorial service for the late Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe earlier this week in Durban.
He said Tony Blair, the British Prime Minister at the time, was “desperate” to remove Mugabe from power because of Zimbabwe’s land reform programme.
“Indeed we opposed it strenuously. We are saying that the Zimbabwean people have the right to determine their own destiny,” Mbeki said.
However, Hain tweeted that Mbeki is wrong.
I was Labour Africa Minister under Tony Blair 1999-2001 and my comrade Thabo @TMFoundation_ is wrong: there never was a UK planned invasion of Zimbabwe: it’s fantasy.Peter Hain
Hain had harsh words for Mugabe when the latter passed away in Singapore on 6 September.
According to an EWN report, he said history will judge Mugabe harshly.
I can’t say that I’m sorry because he betrayed every one of those values of the freedom struggle of democracy, human rights and social justice and came to preside over a corrupt regime.Peter Hain
Hain and anti-apatheid activism
Hain has a long history in Africa, having been born in Nairobi, Kenya.
His parents were British settlers in South Africa and got involved in the anti-apartheid struggle.
He obtained his primary school education in South Africa before moving back to the UK, where he also became an anti-apartheid activist.
He led campaigns against South Africa’s rugby and cricket tours of the UK in 1969 and 1970.
In 1972, the South African security services made an unsuccessful attempt on his life.
He is the author of a biography on former President Nelson Mandela titled Mandela: His Essential Life.