WATCH: Mbeki says not one Zimbabwean wanted Robert Mugabe deposed
Durban - Coming out of a long self-imposed political exile, former South African President Thabo Mbeki has dropped another Zimbabwe political bombshell, saying not even “one” Zimbabwean said they wanted former Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe deposed from power.
Mbeki said even the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), fierce opponents of Mugabe's Zanu-PF wanted both parties to find one another, not to help them to get Mugabe out of power as widely reported.
Mbeki said this while giving a speech at a special Robert Mugabe memorial service in Durban on Tuesday.
Mbeki said there is one "white journalist" who recently wrote that Mugabe was wanted out by his people and Mbeki seemingly took offence so much, that he had to use the memorial service to correct that misconception.
He said instead of Zimbabweans wanting Mugabe out of power, it was the British who wanted to use military force to get him removed. The former South African president brokered the 2008 government of unity that brought in the late leader of the MDC Morgan Tsvangirai to become the Prime Minister under Mugabe.
He started his speech by giving a long history of Mugabe and the ANC, saying they learnt a lot from him like keeping army and police generals of the old order and allowing them to quietly disappear from the scene rather than forcing them out.
He said that would have caused instability.
As expected, Mbeki gave a lecture on the land question that threw Zimbabwe into an economic and social crisis. He blamed Britain under Tony Blair for reneging on the deal.
He said attempts were made to buy some farms for war veterans who had started occupying the farms around 1998.
He said some unnamed donors gave them money to buy some farms that were on the market but the programme failed when it was taken over by the United Nations under Kofi Annan.