Rhodesian Nationalist leader Bishop Abel Muzorewa has invited defectors from Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) home to Rhodesia.
SCU Rhodesian back nationalist leader Bishop Abel Muzorewa speaking
MUZOREWA: "We've never had it so good. We knew about this about ten days ago, that this was definite and now it is out and you've heard about it. Now it has to be said if we are going to go on ourselves, we who are in the transitional government, there we have stated publicly that we want all the Zimbabweans outside to come home. To have together a home, where the action is, where the people are, where the agreement is, where everything is and together more on toward the end of the year and then we can have our nation together. So we welcome these people. I would hope that they don't try to waste time trying to go somewhere else, but come to Rhodesia, come home. That would be my hope for these people. And this is in keeping with our hope and agreement with our cease fire programme that all people are welcome to come home and come to (Indistinct) in the new situation. I think at this stage we are trying to get everybody who wants to, I mean who accept the fact that what we have been fighting for has been completed and won we're waiting on the mechanics of transferring power. If transitional government should fail us, what we want to do, we will recommend them to do that and to come and join us. Not to join one group or the other, we are calling everyone to join a general settlement to keep up the agreement and the transitional government. From the very beginning of...some negotiations which made the (indistinct) we have repeatedly called Nkomo and Mugabe to come, so that together we could set up (indistinct). Up to this very moment that I talk to you the offer is open. We are telling them to come home and do their duty so that we can move on to general elections, all of us together."
The group of fifteen defectors from Robert Mugable's Zanu Front are said to have fled from Mozambique into neighbouring Swaziland. The group was reported to include General Joseph Chimurenga, third highest member of the military command of the Zimbabwe African Nationalist Liberation Army, the fighting wing of the movement. A report in the South African Rand Daily Mail said the group had been imprisoned in Mozambique since April, after internal feuding within ZANU and are now believed to be seeking asylum in either Rhodesia or Britain.
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Background: Rhodesian Nationalist leader Bishop Abel Muzorewa has invited defectors from Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) home to Rhodesia. Speaking at a news conference in Johannesburg, South Africa, on Wednesday (5 July) he said that he had known about the defection of the 15 top officials for 10 days, but he had not announced it earlier because it would not have been "politically opportune". Bishop Muzorewa is in South Africa for the first time, on a speaking tour. He is chairman of the Rhodesian Executive Council and one of the four signatories in the Internal Rhodesian Agreement, which is designed to led Rhodesia to black majority rule by the end of 1978. He was cheerful when asked about the ZANU defections.