Tony Blair now has two titles: Prime Minister of Great Britain (until 27th June) and honorary Paramount Chief of the village of Mahera

From PM Blair to Chief Tony

Man of Peace ... Blair is crowned by Sierra Leonean villagers to thank him for sending British soldiers to their country in 2002

May 31, 2007

PM Tony Blair beams as he is crowned a chief in Sierra Leone before travelling on the final leg of his Africa tour to South Africa.

He became honorary Paramount Chief Bai Sherbora Mathuff — meaning Man of Peace — of the village of Mahera near Freetown on Tuesday.

He was honoured by a crowd of hundreds for sending British peacekeeping troops to the country when it faced civil war in 2002.

After the visit, the PM travelled to South Africa where he gave a press conference.

He delivered a passionate defence of his interventionist foreign policy in a farewell speech which urged the continent’s leaders and the West to square up to the challenges ahead.

Mr Blair called for greater urgency from the international community to stop the bloodshed in the Sudanese province of Darfur and restore normality to Zimbabwe.

And he insisted that intervening to assist the poor nations of Africa was not only morally the right thing to do but also in the self-interest of the rich world.

Speaking at the University of South Africa Business School in Midrand, near the capital Pretoria, Mr Blair said Africa was a subject “close to my heart” and had been at the top of his foreign policy agenda throughout his decade in power.

He said: “Above all, and most controversially, Africa has been a prime example of a foreign policy that has been avowedly interventionist.

“I believe in the power of political action to make the world better and the moral obligation to use it.

“I don’t believe that in this time, in the early 21st Century, international politics can be just about nations’ interests, narrowly and traditionally defined. “I believe that now, today, our self-interest is in substantial part defined by the well-being of others, that the consequence of globalisation is that our best chance of security and prosperity lies in advancing freedom, opportunity and justice for all.”