• Short Summary

    In Zimbabwe Rhodesia, the Government of Bishop able Muzorewa has decided to release political detainees before a British governor arrived in Salisbury to supervise the planned elections.

  • Description

    SCU: Zimbabwe Rhodesian Prime Minister Bishop Abel Muzorewa speaking in English at news conference in Salisbury.

    GV: Released political prisoners sitting under tree drinking beer as official speaks to them. (3 shots)

    CU: Former detainees holding cards.

    SV ABD CU: Former political prisoners speaking to reporter.

    GV: Released detainees singing and walking towards bus. (2 shots)

    MUZOREWA: "We made up our minds that we could have an ongoing exercise, release as many people as are prepared to work towards.... in a democratic style of running for (indistinct) activities and so forth. So we have up to this very date, released over four hundred persons with political offences, or rather, offences of a political nature. And by the end of this month, one thousand seven hundred will be released (indistinct) and that will be almost...about every one, clearly the majority of them, if any."

    REPORTER: "What do you think about being released from prison?"

    FORMER DETAINEE: "Well, I'm quite happy -- I'm quite happy to be released and I hope we're going to have a period of reconstruction."

    REPORTER: "What are you going to do now?"

    FORMER DETAINEE: "Since my organisation is a banned organisation at the moment, I think I'm just going to stick around and be a good boy. I hope to be a (indistinct) to the future of zimbabwe."

    REPORTER: "Why were you put in jail?"

    FORMER DETAINEE: "I was put in jail for recruiting."

    REPORTER: "But why were you put in prison?"

    SECOND DETAINEE: "I was put in prison for recruitment."

    REPORTER: "You were recruiting guerrillas for Mr. Nkomo's army?"


    REPORTER: "Do you think there's going to be a settlement in London?"

    SECOND DETAINEE: "I hope so."

    REPORTER: "Do you want to see a fresh election here?"

    SECOND DETAINEE: "Certainly."

    REPORTER: "Who do you think will win?"

    SECOND DETAINEE: "I am optimistic that our organisation is going to win."

    Initials RH/


    Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved

    Background: In Zimbabwe Rhodesia, the Government of Bishop able Muzorewa has decided to release political detainees before a British governor arrived in Salisbury to supervise the planned elections. Among the first batch to be released were 32 supporters of Mr. Joshua Nkomo's ZAPU organisation, who were serving lengthy sentences in Salisbury's Chikurusi prison. They said they were released on condition the did not participate in political activities during the period that their prison sentences should have run. About one thousand seven hundred political prisoners will be released in terms of the amnesty which Bishop Muzorewa announced in Salisbury on Thursday (22 November).

    A drink of beer under a shady tree -- that was hoe these 32 former political prisoners celebrated their release from jail. Most of them were in their early twenties. All of them denied ever training at guerrilla camps in zambia. They were convicted in special courts for recruiting fighters for Joshua Nkomo's army, providing shelter for guerrillas, or carrying weapons. Many wore ragged clothes, and some said they had left prison without even a pair of shoes.

    And then they left for their homes, with a song. Despite spending up to seven years in jail for what they'd done, the former detainees had no regrets. They left singing the praises of their leader, Joshua Nkomo. And in terms of Bishop Muzorewa's amnesty, these men will be joined by many more political prisoners.

    But there is to be no amnesty for the huge numbers of people who're being detained in Army camps and makeshift detention centres under present martial law regulations. There are hopes, however, that the British Governor will release them when he takes office.

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