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Mugabe conspired with Britain to Kill over 20 000 people in Matabeleland- British researcher

by Stephen Jakes
25 Apr 2017 at 18:22hrs | Views
Fresh revelations over 30 years after President Robert Mugabe's government of Zanu PF unleashed the fifth brigade soldiers to butcher suspected PF Zapu members of the Ndebele origin exposes that Britain  who are the ones who clandestinely gave him power deliberately ignored intervening to stop the killings.

This has been revealed by a St Andrews researcher Dr Hazel Cameron through her research which clearly states that Britain was "wilfully blind" to atrocities committed by Robert Mugabe's army in Zimbabwe in the early 1980s.

Cameron's paper published this month (April 2017) by The International History revealed how Britain stood by and engaged in a "conspiracy of silence" while thousands of innocent civilians were massacred in Matabeleland.

This confirms Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko's remarks after his appointment as VP when he said Gukurahundi was the conspiracy of the west but could not further give details as with whom did the west conspire. However Cameron in the paper exposes that the west had conspired with Mugabe.

Cameron's paper exposes in detail on the 1983 massacres for the first time how British officials were "intimately aware" of atrocities as they unfolded.

According to an article revealing Cameron's evidence of Britain's intimacy with Gukurahundi,  Britiosh's former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's Conservative Government and Robin Byatt, the British High Commissioner in Harare are implicated in the conspiracy which saw over 20 000 people lose their lives in cold blood.

The research elaborates that the massacres were committed by the government sponsored the army unit known as the 'Fifth Brigade'.

"The unit was a division of the Zimbabwean National Army and some of its soldiers were trained by the British Ministry of Defence," states that article that reviewed Cameron's paper.

The article indicates that the episode followed Zimbabwe's first Prime Minister Robert Mugabe's launch of a "massive security clampdown", which started with a strict curfew, arbitrary arrests and detentions without charge, in Matabeleland North in January 1983.

"For the following nine months, the Fifth Brigade killed, mass tortured, raped and burned alive thousands of the Ndebele people claimed to be dissidents or affiliates of the opposition party Zapu (Zimbabwean African People's Union)," reads the article in part.

"In the first six weeks alone, between three and five thousand unarmed civilians of North Matabeleland were killed by the Fifth Brigade, who told their victims they had been ordered to "kill anything that was human". The total number of murders during the Gukurahundi period is estimated to be "no fewer than 10,000 and no more than 20,000"

Cameron, a lecturer in International Relations at St Andrews, said: "There can be no doubt that Gukurahundi was Zimbabwean government policy. It is quite clear from these documents that one of the major concerns for the British at the time was the reputation of their own army and British public opinion, as opposed to the ongoing atrocities and human violations in Matabeleland."

"Instead, the Zimbabweans who were of concern to the British government, and influenced their diplomatic approach, were the many white Zimbabweans living in the affected regions, and who were unaffected by the extreme violence of Fifth Brigade. That the British government chose to adopt a policy of wilful blindness towards the atrocities undoubtedly constituted undressed realpolitik. Mugabe himself was said to view the British response favourably, saying ‘you have to hand it to the British, they know how to behave in this kind of situation."

Cameron produced 2600 pages of documents, focusing on sources dating from January to April 1983 to establish what knowledge was available to the British and US governments about the "persistent and relentless" atrocities taking place at this time, as well as the diplomatic approaches pursued by both governments in response to events.

Commenting on her success in obtaining a "treasure trove" of both US- and UK-government correspondence through Freedom of Information requests, she said: "I was astounded when a large, unmarked box of so much uncensored material arrived at my office."

The article states that the documents were obtained from the British Cabinet Office, British Foreign and Commonwealth Office, British Ministry of Defence and United States Department of State. Dr Cameron describes the information, which is not in the public domain, as "a real treasure trove".

The unique data set provides minutes of meetings and other relevant communications between the British High Commission (Harare), the Prime Minister's Office, the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Cabinet Office and the Ministry of Defence in London, as well as the US Department of State and the US Embassy in Harare.

The article states that Cameron analysed declassified documents from the US – which "demonstrated concern" and a more victim-centred approach during the same period – to highlight the UK Government's approach was to turn a "blind eye" to the victims of gross abuse.

It further indicates that Cameron from Robin Byatt to the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Geoffrey Howe, Byatt refers to Britain's "important" interests in investment and trade (worth £800m and £120m in 1982), despite the "occasional Zimbabwean perversity".

"Byatt was unsettled by the arrival of Jeremy Paxman in March 1983 with a small Panorama documentary crew, with the British High Commission claiming that Paxman was taking an "unreservedly gloomy and sensational view of recent events," reads part of the article.

Cameron continued: "The rationale for Britain's inertia in Zimbabwe when faced with grave violations of human rights is expressed clearly in numerous communications between Harare and London. This includes Britain's determination to maintain good diplomatic relations with Mugabe in order to protect their significant British economic and strategic interests in southern Africa.

"The data set also identifies that it was of great importance to Mugabe that the economically viable whites stay in Zimbabwe, whilst it was equally important to the Thatcher government to take measures to prevent the possibility of ‘a major exodus' of Zimbabweans to the UK."

 "Bystanders – other Governments, NGOs and the UN, for example – should take a more proactive role in these situations; diplomatic intervention could reduce casualties," said Cameron. "Britain was in a very strong position to take a stance against Gukurahundi, but it was too fearful."

In Zimbabwe there was no public admission of guilt for the atrocities or measures proffered for reparations. Instead, a blanket amnesty was offered to all those involved in the Matabeleland Massacres.

Cameron's research is ongoing, with the current findings representing an analysis of only a small number of the documents from a brief window of time. She is currently writing a book based on her research, which will be published by Hurst & Co in 2018.

The article states that Cameron first learned of Gukurahundi when backpacking through Matabeleland in 1999. She was struck by the many surviving adults "still living in fear" and found herself driven to "illuminate a hidden part of Africa's history", thus giving a voice to the powerless and victimised.

"Exactly ten years later she received her PhD from the University of Liverpool for a thesis on ‘External Institutional Bystanders to Genocide: Case Study Rwanda'. Today, she is part of a community of scholars – the International State Crime Initiative – working to advance current understandings of state crime." Reads the article.

Cameron concluded: "It is quite clear from the material I have uncovered that, apart from the immediate perpetrators, external bystanders have to be held accountable to some extent for the unbridled human rights abuses that took place in Zimbabwe in early 1983. One child survivor of Gukurahundi succinctly summarises the unethical role played by Britain in Zimbabwe through its consistent lack of intervention: ‘there was this conspiracy of silence that took place in the 1980s."





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