??? another attempt will be made next week to end the irregular statues of Zimbabwe?
??? another attempt will be made next week to end the irregular statues of Zimbabwe Rhodesia. A three-sided constitutional conference will open on Monday (12 september) in London. Bishop Abel Muzorewa will head the government delegation, which will include Mr. Ian Smith, making his first visit to London since before his unilateral declaration of independence nearly 14 years ago. Both the leaders of the Patriotic Front, Mr. Joshua Nkomo and Mr. Robert Mugabe, will be there. The British government delegation will be headed by the Foreign Secretary, Lord Carrington, who will take the chair.
SYNOPSIS: The idea for the conference came from the Commonwealth summit conference ??? last month. President Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia and other 'front line' Presidents had made it clear that without major changes in the constitution of Zimbabwe Rhodesia there was no prospect of ending the guerrilla war. Britain's Prime Minister, Mrs. Margaret Thatcher, who had been branded a 'racist' before the conference opened, accepted the proposals for further talks.
The main objection of the black Commonwealth leaders to Zimbabwe Rhodesia's internal settlement was that it had left too much power in the hands of the white minority. There was now a black President, and a black Prime Minister -- Bishop Abel Muzorewa; but the white former Prime Minister, Mr. Ian Smith, was still there as an influential member of the Bishop's coalition government.
It was agreed at Lusaka that there should be new elections, supervised by the British authorities. One man, one vote elections took place last April under the internal settlement; but international observers differed sharply about whether they had been free and fair.
Bishop Muzorewa, whose party won the elections, has been indignant about the criticism. He has pointed to the fact that over 60 per cent of the electorate had voted, in spite of threats and intimidation by the guerrillas of the Patriotic Front.
Control of the security forces will be a key question at the London conference. At present, under entrenched clauses in the constitution, it is a very much in white hands. Black officers are gradually being introduced into the more senior posts in the police and civil service. But regulations about standards of education and length of service make the change a slow process.
Mr. Robert Mugabe has called for the existing army, air force and police to be disbanded, and replaced by the Patriotic Front guerrilla forces.
Mr. Joshua Nkomo's supporters are based in Zambia, but he suspended any guerrilla activity during the Lusaka conference. He and Mr Mugabe met two weeks later in Tanzania, and agreed to attend the London conference; but no to stop the guerrilla war meanwhile. Some months ago, Mr. Mugabe expressed the basic attitude of the Patriotic Front.
At Lancaster House in London, Mugabe, Smith, Nkomo and Muzorewa are due to meet round the same table.