|LONDON Mayor Boris Johnson, a likely successor to Prime Minister David Cameron has savaged President Robert Mugabe’s extravagant plans to host a US$1 million birthday party despite reducing Zimbabwe to “the second poorest nation on earth – beaten only by Congo for overall grimness”.
But in that searing article for a UK daily, Johnson also made an admission which vindicated the 91-year-old Mugabe’s claim that Britain is responsible for Zimbabwe’s economic problems.
With the lavish rhetorical flourishes for which he is legendary, Boris wrote: “I CAN’T imagine that anyone in his right mind would actually want to go to the 91st birthday party of Robert Gabriel Mugabe which takes place this Saturday.
“It promises to be an event of truly spectacular moral ugliness. While his people are starving, the ancient despot will convoke 20,000 cronies at a kind of golf club-cum-safari lodge near the Victoria Falls.
“In scenes reminiscent of the more disgusting and luxurious behaviour of the emperor Commodus, he will cause various exotic beasts to be slaughtered for the feast.”
But Boris then states that: “This Mugabe tyranny is no accident – and Britain played a shameful part in the disaster.”
He suggested that former British Prime Minister Tony Blair should fly to the Victoria Falls to attend the “utterly nauseating” shindig and help “old Bob with the job of blowing out his candles”.
The London mayor conceded that Blair’s Labour administration contributed the mess in Zimbabwe by reneging on a pledge by the Conservative-led government to fund land reform at the 1979 talks which brought independence.
According to Boris, the Blair government’s decision was a “that betrayal of Lancaster House that gave Mugabe his pretext to launch his pogroms against the whites”.
Mugabe went on to unleash veterans of the country’s liberation struggle in violent takeovers of farmland occupied by whites – a process critics blame for the country’s economic collapse.
Johnson agrees, saying: “We turned our backs on the very people who were actually indispensable to the economic well-being of Zimbabwe, and Labour essentially allowed Mugabe to launch a racist tyranny.”
His admission was grudgingly noted in Harare with information minister Jonathan Moyo saying: “We’d look crazy if we responded to mayors.
“We’ve noted his views, most of them inaccurate and malicious, and wonder if this admission of guilt is the plea of the Conservative Party or an individual. We’ll let Mr Johnson carry his own cross and deal with his guilt.”
But the ruling Zanu PF party’s UK chairman Nick Mangagwa told NewZimbabwe.com that, “Boris Johnson vindicated what has been Zimbabwe’s position all along.
“In his article Boris said a lot of objectionable things but the most revealing is the blame on Tony Blair for the problems that are in Zimbabwe. He calls it a‘despicable betrayal’; that it was.
“The President has always said there had been no problem with the Conservatives for 17 years. But in came Mr Blair who, straight away, reneged on an agreement which everyone knew about. The terms had been agreed in good faith.
“The flimsy and porous argument from the Labour Government was simply that their generation had not benefitted from colonialism; which of course was not true.
“The worst bit of this sad saga is that, for taking back the land which everyone was agreed needed to be redistributed, Zimbabwe was placed under very debilitating sanctions regime.”
Mangwana claims the replacement of Blair’s Labour administration by Conservative-led government has steadily seen an improvement in relations between London and Harare.
“Until recent improvements under the Tories, there was clearly an antagonistic foreign policy towards Zimbabwe. We are where we are today because of that,” says Mangwana.
“Now we know that we are not the only ones who acknowledge that. The British establishment through the London mayor can pin point where the fault lies.
“In those few words (Boris) covered everything that has gone wrong with the British Foreign Policy towards Zimbabwe in the last 18years.
“We now hope that whoever wins the election in May will continue to dissociate themselves from the retrogressive foreign policies of Mr Blair.”