President says Zim, Britain ready to start afresh

President Mugabe

President Mugabe

Felex Share, Harare Bureau
THERE is mutual readiness by Zimbabwe and Britain to leave behind years of conflict and open a new chapter of rapprochement, President Mugabe has said.

The comments by President Mugabe follow the visit to Zimbabwe by Sir Nicholas Soames, a British Conservative party member of parliament.

Sir Nicholas, who is son to Britain’s last colonial governor in Rhodesia, Lord Soames, met President Mugabe at State House on Wednesday.

Lord Soames presided over Zimbabwe’s transition to majority rule in 1980.

The latest visit by Sir Nicholas is driven by a private initiative of friends of Zimbabwe in the British establishment to normalise relations between the two countries.

Relations went sour at the turn of millennium when Zimbabwe undertook the land reform programme.

In an exclusive briefing our Harare Bureau got from President Mugabe yesterday, Sir Nicholas carried messages of goodwill from establishment figures, Prince Charles and Lord Carrington, who presided over the Lancaster House conference in 1979.

Recalling the conversation, President Mugabe said Sir Nicholas told him that “there are some good people who are still your friends in Britain.”

Said President Mugabe: “We can talk to Britain. All along we thought the British did not want dialogue. This latest visit shows they do and we have always been willing to engage. I was very happy with the meeting and in fact Sir Nicholas promised to come back on a follow-up meeting.”

Sir Nicholas’s visit also vindicates consistent pronouncements by President Mugabe and Government that the British Monarchy has not been part of the fight started by the Tony Blair administration.

President Mugabe said Sir Nicholas had told him the Conservative party still had three years in office during which further engagements could be explored.

Sir Nicholas also thanked President Mugabe for attending his father’s funeral in 1987.

President Mugabe said during their discussions with Sir Nicholas, he reminisced on the role Lord Soames played in overseeing the transition to Zimbabwe, adding that “he had handled a very difficult situation which was tension-ridden”.

He also reminisced over his reaction when Lord Soames told him to form a Government after resoundingly winning elections in 1980.

President Mugabe said Lord Soames told him that in constituting his Government, he should bear in mind there were “good white Rhodesians”.

This meant the likes of David Smith (late), Chris Andersen (late), Dennis Norman and Dr Timothy Stamps.

“But I said I have not run a Government,” President Mugabe said.

“So I said stay on for some time (as Governor) so you can usher me into this other sphere. When I made that request, Lord Soames exclaimed three times ‘Really, Really, Really’ whereupon he swivelled his chair and immediately rang Lord Carrington.”

President Mugabe said Lord Carrington told him to “stay on but not for more than three months”, a response which made him happy.

On a lighter note, President Mugabe said he invited Sir Nicholas to test the seat that his father once occupied, ceding his own chair to him.

“He said, No! It’s now your seat,” President Mugabe said.

The President said he also talked about the Lancaster House Agreement, the commitment the British Government made in respect of the land question and how the American Jimmy Carter administration had chipped in with assistance.

President Mugabe told Sir Nicholas how the Labour Party led by Mr Blair came into power, adding that the British politician was coming from the “wilderness.”

He said Mr Blair did not know the legal principle of succession.

“Blair seemed to be blank, completely blank,” the President said.

“However, we noticed he wanted to reverse land reforms and this is why we resisted.”

The President said he told Sir Nicholas about the campaign by war veterans over land and how Government intervened to ensure orderliness.

Mr Blair, President Mugabe said, felt his honour had been undermined and plotted sanctioning Zimbabwe with the aid of the European Union and Americans.

Mr Blair’s administration claimed the Zimbabwean Government was violating tenets of democracy, rule of law and human rights.

Unlike in the past where officials wanted to keep their visits under wraps, Sir Nicholas insisted on meeting President Mugabe in the full glare of publicity.

He promised to publicise details of the meeting in the British media.

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  • doti yenja

    Lord Soames sold Zimbabwe by rigging 1980 elections to zanu, and mugabe knew that he had promised the british that he wont take land. If the grandson is coming to solve and remove this curse his grand parents left for us then we will see

  • Mugavimbi_Naledi

    lord soames helped mugabe sell out a revolution for silver and gold. so what starting afresh is this fossil talking about? the man is controlled by the british

    and diti yenja you are so right..!!!

    • depressed young city bandit

      Well, I only wish that more men would choose to be adults. Once upon a time, this was considered important.

  • Fokof

    Proof that ZANU are British Puppets, always have been, and always will…………

  • Essexvale

    Typical British hipocracy. Pampering the old man with flattery so as to get a foot into the door space leading to fantastic resource opportunities the country possesses. The UNDP head recently stated that the country has resources, which if properly utilised, would propel it into becoming the continent’s economic powerhouse. Soames visit should not be seen as merely a nostolgic trip. Indeed, it is a calculated move. My opinion is that the British envisage a ZANU PF win in the upcoming general election and therefore want to be favourably positioned to benefit big time in that eventuality. RG says the country is ready to start afresh with the Brits. Does that mean to start afresh in the virulent vendeta by the colonialist-shona alliance to eliminate any and everything that is Ndebele in nature. When they ruled, the colonialists entertained a mortal fear of the Ndebele who had given them a torrid time in military campaigns aimed at subjecting black people. The same fear was taken up by the post 1980 shona regime who conducted a military assault primarily on unarmed Ndebele villagers and leadership during a genocide that resulted in the deaths of 20,000 plus innocents.

  • Ndumiso Mduduzi

    Mugabe is now Ndabaningi Sithole in everything he does, ZANUPF shpuld expel him from ZANUPF. Now he says he will give land back and companies to the British again, he does not want anyone to lead ZANUPF after him. He wants to surrender the country back to square one-sellout. His target are war veterans his true enemy-he does not want them to own their land or benefit from independence

  • s

    president mugabe. blair will soon tell the world why he placed sanctions on you. first in the land conference of 1998 he asked you to account for the money they has donated for the land resettlement and you could nt, you came out telling the nation that Britain should not tell you how to use the money, your friends had stolen that money like what they are doing today. the west froze your assets in their countries because you had taken the money they gave to buy assets in their country instead of giving land to the people. your friend took big tracks of land for themselves using that money. you know it president. Britain supported land distribution, but had to monitor and ask how the money they were giving was being used, but you couldn’t because there was theiving.

  • sigauke moyo

    How will Britons come to Zimbabwe when you do not want to see them during elections that you have given to your wife to rig and no foreigners are allowed to be monitors especially Blair and the British who say you and your wife have plundered the economy only if you return the money that you hide in other countries you stole from Zimbabwe no one will go hungry without a job.

  • depressed young city bandit

    A transition period is like standing outside in the cold weather and piss your own pants, to keep yourself warm for just a little bit of extra time.

  • Tongai

    If only he had known that Mugabe matibili is a malawian he would have asked him to step down instead of asking that ruthless malawian to from a government .The malawian has killed many Zimbabweans and destroyed the economy of Zimbabwe.