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Panorama
Mugabe: The price of silence
Robert Mugabe - photo by Judah Passow, 1979
Mugabe: The Price of Silence
Sunday 10 March 2002

Panorama goes inside Zimbabwe, defying the ban on BBC journalists, and investigates crimes against humanity under Robert Mugabe's rule.

The situation is fraught as Mugabe unleashes more terror in a bid to secure re-election as president.

Reporter Fergal Keane evades secret police and gangs of war veterans, travelling into southern Zimbabwe to hear accounts from eye-witnesses and victims of Mugabe's bloody campaign in Matabeleland in the 80s.

Robert Mugabe is accused of committing mass murder in the early years of his rule. At this time, Britain was giving him huge sums in economic aid and was training the Zimbabwean army.

British Government's role questioned

Panorama reveals what the British Government knew about Mugabe's campaign of mass slaughter, and investigates whether anything was done to stop him.

Robert Mugabe
Brandishing a spear and axe: symbols of power

The programme asks whether failure to confront Mugabe then gave him the confidence to believe he could get away with murder.

A leading British diplomat at the time tells Panorama: "I think this Matabeleland is a side issue, the real issues were much bigger. We were extremely interested that Zimbabwe should be a success story, and we were doing our best to help Mugabe and his people bring that about."

A prominent Church leader in Zimbabwe is furious: "It is gross irresponsibility to call it a side issue. How would he have felt if his own family had been murdered?"

Panorama examines whether Britain was right to ignore these atrocities, and whether interventions would have made any difference.

Production Team:
Reporter: Fergal Keane
Producer: Mark Dowd
Assistant Producers: Jonathan Brunert, Esella Hawkey
Editor: Mike Robinson

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Panorama goes inside Zimbabwe to investigate Mugabe's crimes against humanity and whether the British Government could have done anything to stop him.





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Links to more Panorama stories are at the foot of the page.


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