Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 23 October 2008
When I joined the B.S.A.P. as a raw recruit, Ken Flower was then Captain Flower so I never got to know him on a personal level. Although my stay in the Force was relatively short, I maintained contact with my colleagues, many of whom became high ranking officers, and when the problems really kicked off I was pulled back into the fray as a police reservist and became again for all intents and purposes a full time policeman. I mention this only to give background to the opinions I express.
Reading the book it comes as a surpise to someone who lived through those days that Flower is ever ready to criticise end denigrate those who Rhodesians regarded as their heroes – Smithy, The Selous Scouts et al. He seems prepared always to amplify the view taken by certain elements of the British and international press rather tha those expressed by his colleagues in the security services. Typical of this is his version of the brilliantly executed raid carried out by the Selous Scouts at Nyadzonya when he echoes the view that the camp may have been mainly populated by refugees or at best a low level training camp. This, despite the fact that ZANLA documents captured in a subsequent raid showed that ZANLA’s analysis of the raid was virtually identical to the account given by the Scouts. In his position Flower had to be aware of this similarity.
I found his lauding of Mugabe in the closing chapters of the book quite sickening given that he was better placed than most to know the detail and extent of the atrocities sanctioned by Mugabe.
There is another aspect. I know that senior members of the Rhodesian Special Branch believed that Flower had acted as an agent for British Intelligence and I believe that this book lends credence to that belief.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 11 April 2015Verified Purchase
‘I wondered for how long this deceitful man had been betraying the trust of the Rhodesian people and betraying her brave soldiers’ so writes Tim Bax in ‘Three Sips of Gin’ a memoir of service in the Selous Scouts published in 2013. Bax holds the view like a lot of his contemporaries that Ken Flower was the ‘mole’ in Rhodesia’s Combined Operations (COMOPS) who blew their top secret operations to British MI6 thus preventing successful assassination attempts on Joshua Nkomo (in particular Operation Bastille the Rhodesian SAS raid on Nkomo’s house in Lusaka, Zambia in 1979) and Robert Mugabe.
An excerpt from another review:
It is clear from Flower’s book that he was a significant political force in Rhodesia in his own right, although he was un-elected and largely unknown to most people at the time or since. However, he clearly had his own very strong views and political agenda and used his extraordinary position, influence and his many contacts to further those whenever possible. Especially during the closing stages of the Rhodesian war and the transition to Zimbabwe, from his own account he could well be said to have been the main driving force directing events from behind the scenes.
Suspected by many of being a "double agent" whose first loyalty was to the British, it seems very likely that either he or his organisation was instrumental in compromising many Rhodesian security force external operations, and specifically providing tip-offs about assassination attempts on both Nkomo and Mugabe. Read his words and form your own opinions on this.