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'Britain rigged polls on behalf of Mugabe'

by Staff reporter
05 Oct 2020 at 06:48hrs | Views
THE British government of Margaret Thatcher rigged the 1980 elections in favour of the late former President Robert Mugabe out of fear his loss could trigger a civil war because he came from the tribal majority, a new book claims.

The claims were made in a book titled Robert Mugabe KCB by Esau Ncube published in February 2020.

According to the book, celebrations by the late Vice-President Joshua Nkomo of the shooting down of an Air Rhodesia Viscount RH827 on February 12, 1979 by Zipra forces also hardened the British's resolve to rig polls on behalf of Mugabe.

The book traces 19th Century King Mzilikazi and his peoples' settlement in Matabeleland, through the colonisation of Mashonaland in 1890, the destruction and occupation of the Ndebele State in 1893 by the British South African Company before examining the politics of African nationalism by Zapu and Zanu in the quest for black majority rule.

It also offers an insightful account of Mugabe's tumultuous rise to power and his resolve to stay in power at all costs while also reflecting on the 1980s Gukurahundi massacres that left over 20 000 civilians dead in Midlands and Matabeleland provinces.

Nkomo, who died in 1999 aged 82, was not to be trusted after he celebrated the shooting of a Rhodesian plane while also threatening British interests in the country, particularly with regards to land, hence the need to rig polls on Mugabe's behalf, the author claims.

"Zipra's shooting down of the Viscount aircraft just before the Lancaster talks did not do Nkomo any favour. Joshua Nkomo's reaction and unrepentant comments after the shooting did not win him friends either. Instead, the British liked Mugabe's speeches," the author argues.

"It was clear that should Nkomo win the 1980 election, that white monopoly privilege would be under threat ... That was another reason why from the British point of view, Nkomo had to lose at all costs ..."

Tribalism also played a huge role in "rigging" the polls on behalf of Mugabe as the "British government noticed that Mugabe came from a tribal majority and rigging the elections in his favour would not be very difficult nor arouse suspicions".

Mugabe's resolve to drag the country into a civil war should he lose the elections also worried the British to ensure he wins the polls.

"Another factor that worked in Mugabe's favour was the fact that he had left no doubt in anyone's mind that a Zanu electoral loss would result in the resumption of war. They knew Mugabe would accept one outcome and one outcome only. A win by himself," the book added.

"Mugabe was threatening their concerns (British) by threatening war if he lost the elections. What the British did not desire in their scramble from Africa was to leave behind them a legacy of civil war(s).

"They, therefore, figured that the best way out of Southern Rhodesia would be to ensure Mugabe won the elections with their help as a bribe for his co-operation in order to leave behind a ‘peaceful' country. It was that twisted concoction of conflicting interests that saw the British government bribe the very person that was blackmailing them."

Source - newsday