by Staff Writer
According to Hansard HC [41/158-62] dated 19 April 1983, during a House of Commons PQs Mr Townsend asked the PM ,”In view of the growing number of allegations of murder and mayhem in Matabeleland, will my right hon. Friend support the calls for Commonwealth observers to be sent to Zimbabwe? Will she give an assurance to the House that if the present military situation there deteriorates into straight tribal warfare, the strong British Army training team will be instantly withdrawn?”
In which the PM replied “We are of course concerned, as I think a number of people are, about the reports of what has been happening in Zimbabwe. We have let our views be known to the Government there. The British military training team is at present doing a superb job. I believe that its presence is reassuring to many people who are deeply concerned about what is happening there. I think that it should stay there for the time being. With regard to what my hon. Friend said about Commonwealth observers, if there were a call for them from Zimbabwe or from the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, we would most earnestly consider it, but at present there is not”.
These revelations are likely to cause discomfort among those affected by the killings.Zimbabwe’s Gukurahundi massacres saw up to 20 000 villagers and opponents of President Robert Mugabe killed in the mid-1980s.
Vice President Mphoko last week said Gukurahundi was a conspiracy of the UK, US and apartheid-era South Africa.