The Rhodesian Government has still not released the results of its investigation into charges that it poisoned two members of the African National Council (AFC) who were on their way to a meeting in Lusaka in Zambia.
MV Sithole seated with reporter.
SV & CU Reporter asking Sithole questions and Sithole
MILLS: "Dr. Sithole, can you tell us how you think you were poisoned?"
SITHOLE: "Well it was quite clear. A cup was given me, a cup of coffee. I drank it and thereafter I began feeling what finally was discovered to be the affects of the poison."
MILLS: "This was happening at Salisbury Airport, just before leaving for Lusaka?"
SITHOLE: "The New Sarum Airport, the Air Force Airport, not the commercial airport."
MILLS: "And who gave you the coffee?"
SITHOLE: "An officer on the special branch."
MILLS: "I think you said in a statement earlier that he crossed his hands when he gave you the coffee so that you would get a particular cup."
MILLS: "You fully believe that?"
SITHOLE: "Yes, and the Reverend (indistinct) saw that, too, and would bear witness to that."
MILLS: "Why do you think you were poisoned?"
SITHOLE: "Well, it's quite clear I'm considered a stumbling block to a settlement, considered an extremist, and it would have been a good thing if I died. But the stage was to have been set in Zambia. It was considered that I would feel the effects in Zambia and then die there. And the conclusion which would have been believed by all Africans was that President Kaunda was implicated."
MILLS: "The Minister of Foreign Affairs Van Der Byl told Parliament recently that he would have a full inquiry and also that you had eaten lunch with another to your colleagues before going to the airport."
SITHOLE: "No, I never has lunch that day, in fact, I has breakfast and then a beer at lunch just because I was so busy. I postponed it before going and therefore I didn't have any lunch with my colleague at all."
MILLS: "What were thee affects of the poisoning and when did you first feel them?"
SITHOLE: "From twenty-five minutes or so after drinking the coffee and that was when we were still at the airport. I began feeling dizzy. My throat was drying and so was my mouth and later on I felt that my legs couldn't carry me safely and I felt like falling sown and I would have remained. In fact (indistinct) I then suspected poisoning and felt that assuming those officers has poisoned me, they would not be the right people to take me to hospital."
MILLS: "But Mr. Sithole, are you convinced you were poisoned by the Rhodesian authorities?"
SITHOLE: "Well, no one else could have been informed."
SYNOPSIS: The Rhodesian Government has still not released on official report of its investigation of allegations that it tried to poison African Nationalist leader Dr. Edson Sithole. He claim he was poisoned by Rhodesian authorities as he left Salisbury last week on his way to a meeting in Lusaka. Since then it's been claimed a second delegate was also poisoned in Rhodesia but recovered after vomiting.
Dr. Sithole talked about the alleged poisoning with reporter Ian Mills after he was released from the hospital and returned to Salisbury.
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Background: The Rhodesian Government has still not released the results of its investigation into charges that it poisoned two members of the African National Council (AFC) who were on their way to a meeting in Lusaka in Zambia.
Dr. Edson Sithole, the publicity secretary of the AFC was taken to hospital in Lusaka on 2 July after he said he drank a cup of poisoned coffee given him by Rhodesian police officers at New Sarum Airport in Salisbury as he was leaving for Lusaka.
Since then it has been claimed that a second AFC member, Enos Nkala, took sick at the Lusaka meeting after drinking a cup of coffee at the same airport before leaving Rhodesia. He recovered after vomiting, but Dr. Sithole had to be treated with a stomach pump.
President Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia has charged the Rhodesian Government of Prime Minister Ian Smith with plotting the poisonings in an effort to implicate Zambia. Dr. Sithole has been a frequent critic of President Kaunda's regime.
Rhodesian Foreign Minister - Pieter Can Der Byl-said a full investigation would be carried out but added that it would be impossible to implicate the Rhodesian Government or any Government employee in the alleged poisonings.
Mr. Van Der Byl said the coffee has been drunk from a communal urn at the airport and that other delegates, some Rhodesian Air Force officers and two Zambian Air Force officers has shared it but had no complaints afterward.
The White-dominated government of Ian Smith has been engaged in long and bitter negotiations with African nationalist groups over how the former British colony should be governed.
(This film is serviced with an interview with Dr. Edson sithole by reporter Ian Mills. A transcript follows:-