The Commonwealth has backed British attempts to set up new elections in Zimbabwe Rhodesia--and has pledge to provide observers to ensure that they are not rigged.
Zimbabwe Rhodesian Prime Minister Bishop Abel Muzorewa speaking in English.
MUZOREWA: "In the past few days, since our acceptance of the British government's proposals for the internal arrangements, the most persistent question put to me is: 'How can you accept the British government's proposals which are tantamount to surrendering the power given to you and your government--democratically elected by 64-point-eight percent of the Zimbabwe Rhodesian electorate?' My answer--with which other members of my delegation concur--is simple. It is this: As a means of achieving all the objectives I have indicated for which we have all fought over many years the plan of the British government required that they have a physical presence in Zimbabwe Rhodesia for only eight weeks....eight weeks. We, as a government, have always placed national interest first and our own last. In the name of all our people, our country and our nation, this is what we must do. In my opinion, the British government's proposals represent a unique challenge to all of us in that they provide opportunity for us to put into practice what I've always subscribed it to in my heart and said it to be the ultimate goal. This is that the interests of our people, and country and our nation have always, and always will, come first, with my personal interest last. I would ask you: Must a person, a political party or a government stand in the way of national interest maybe because they may be said to look foolish, humiliated or treated unfairly? This is why we have accepted the proposals put forward by the British government."
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Background: The Commonwealth has backed British attempts to set up new elections in Zimbabwe Rhodesia--and has pledge to provide observers to ensure that they are not rigged. But the Patriotic Front guerrilla leaders, Joshua Nkomo and Robert Mugabe, are insisting that the United Nations supervise the elections and a ceasefire. On Tuesday (30 October), thirty countries belonging to the Commonwealth Southern Africa Committee held a meeting in London to discuss progress at the Zimbabwe Rhodesia talks. The Commonwealth delegates said they wanted to restore a climate of confidence among participants at the Lancaster House. The Prime Minister of Zimbabwe Rhodesia, Bishop Abel Muzorewa, meanwhile, held a news conference in London on Tuesday. He said he had accepted the British proposals because be was "putting his country's interests first."