Published online by Cambridge University Press: 14 September 2021
This chapter examines the diplomacy before, during, and after the 1980 majority rule elections in Zimbabwe. The pre-election diplomacy focused on ceasefire violations and the large number of unreported South African troops in Rhodesia before the election. The diplomacy of Lord Soames in dealing with this issue, and the issue of violence and intimidation by the different nationalist parties, especially from ZANU, meant that the elections were a tense situation. Lord Soames’ handling of the election observers is discussed, as is his meeting with Robert Mugabe once Mugabe’s overwhelming victory was known. The chapter then looks at Anglo-American relations with Zimbabwe in the first two years of independence. The focus is on the British and American responses to events in 1982, primarily the problems created in Britain among Conservatives over the reports of the torture of detained white officers, some of them British citizens, who were charged with sabotage against Zimbabwe’s Thornhill Air Force base. In addition, the firing of Joshua Nkomo from the government, and his exile to London is discussed.