The political battle between Rhodesia's black nationalist leaders for the support of the country's black population has moved into top gear with a series of rallies around Rhodesia.
The political battle between Rhodesia's black nationalist leaders for the support of the country's black population has moved into top gear with a series of rallies around Rhodesia. One of the leaders, Bishops Abel Muzorewa, has arrived in London (9 August) for talks with British Foreign Secretary, Dr David Owen. Bishop Muzorewa wants a British caretaker government to guide Rhodesia to black majority rule. Meanwhile, the Bishop's major moderate opponent, the Reverend Ndabaningi Sithole is relying on rallies to boost his claims to leadership of Rhodesia's blacks.
SYNOPSIS: Between three and five thousand people greeted Mr Sithole as he entered Salisbury's Highfield Stadium. The rally was organised to test his support in and around Rhodesia's capital. As Mr Sithole was carried across the stadium, another non-militant nationalist leader, Bishop Abel Muzorewa was holding a similar rally in Bulawayo. But although the Bishop's rally attracted a larger crowd, Mr Sithole's supporters were in high spirits. Their enthusiasm was not diminished by memory of the terrorist bombing of a retail store only twenty-four hours earlier. And Mr Sithole's battle for leadership received an added boost with the presence at the rally of several of Bishop Muzorewa's former supporters. They joined the excited singing of the Zimbabwe national anthem.
For the Reverend Sithole, the presence of defectors from Bishop Muzorewa's camp means added political influence moves to finds a solution to Rhodesia's constitutional problems.
He re-iterated his policy of a non-racial government and echoed the Bishop's call for "one man, one vote". But, in contrast with Bishop Muzorewa's plan for a gradual transfer of power to black majority rule, Mr Sithole told his audience there must be majority rule, now. Tow days earlier (5 August), Mr Sithole had made conciliatory moves to Rhodesia's white population. He proposed then that whites should be guaranteed seats in parliament for up to five or ten years after the establishment of black majority rule. But by the time that he'd joined tribal dancers and his audience in celebration of a successful rally, Mr Sithole had made it clear that the only major black nationalist leader now opposed to immediate majority rule is Bishop Abel Muzorewa.