Heads of Government from nearly all the 41 members of the Commonwealth will be meeting in Lusaka, the capital of Zambia, next Wednesday (1 August).
Heads of Government from nearly all the 41 members of the Commonwealth will be meeting in Lusaka, the capital of Zambia, next Wednesday (1 August). As always at their summit meetings, they will discuss a wide range of subjects. But the one that is expected to dominate their week of talks is the future of Zimbabwe Rhodesia.
SYNOPSIS: The President and Prime Ministers last met in London in 1977, at the time of Queen Elizabeth's Jubilee celebrations. Some who were there then will be in Lusaka, but there will be new faces. President Makarios of Cyprus has died; Mr james Callaghan has lost office.
One country which will not be represented is Zimbabwe Rhodesia, which acquired its new name and a new government, with a majority of black members, two months ago. No Rhodesian Prime Minister has been there since Mr Ian Smith illegally declared independence nearly 14 years ago -- and many members of the Commonwealth are not satisfied that their conditions for recognising the new regime have been met.
Efforts to prove that the elections in Zimbabwe Rhodesia in April were fair, and that the new government is acceptable to the majority of the people have fallen mainly on the shoulders of the new Prime Minister, Bishop Abel Muzorewa. He set out early this month on visits to Washington and London.
But he got no definite commitment, either from President Carter in Washington or Mrs Thatcher in London. The British Prime Minister has said her government will take no decision until after the Commonwealth conference, when she will hear the views of the other members, particularly the Africans.
Black Africa, for the most part, supports the Patriotic Front, not Bishop Muzorewa. One reason for this was expressed by the South African black leader, Mr Oliver Tambo Wreckage of one of two Rhodesian airliners shot down by Patriotic Front guerrillas near the Zambian border. Mr Joshua Nkomo, who leads those operating from Zambia, promised a cease-fire during the conference after fears had been expressed for Queen Elizabeth's safety. State House, where she will stay, is well away from the guerrilla camps. And her host, President kenneth Kaunda of Zambia, reinforced Mr Nkomo's promise.