IN 1983, THE Zimbabwean prime minister Robert Mugabe made a state visit to Ireland. Prior to his visit, there were considerable security arrangements to be made.
In a state document dated 30 August 1983, states that the security arrangements for the Mugabe visit “are very much greater than in the case of most state visits” adding that over the past several years there have been many threats made against Mugabe both “inside and outside Zimbabwe” due to “his policies and leadership of ZANU”.
Threats against his life
The document states that the threats against Mugabe were probably at their worst during the elections in 1980 and following that when attempts were made on his life. It went on to say that the threat against his life still exists.
Therefore, it was recommended that the “Department of Justice should be advised that the Mugabe visit requires additional security precautions to those that would normally apply in the case of such visits”.
The implications of any ‘unfortunate event’ for Ireland’s international reputation do not, I think, need to be spelled out.
The Department of Justice was also advised that Mugabe’s biggest threat most likely came from South Africa.
The document states: “While it seems unlikely that South Africa would wish to go so far as to secure the removal of Mugabe… it is a possibility that cannot be excluded.