In Rhodesia, the interim government appears to be moving closer to agreeing to an all-party conference on the future of the country.
In Rhodesia, the interim government appears to be moving closer to agreeing to an all-party conference on the future of the country. Mr. Ian Smith said on Friday (18 August) that his government was not opposed to the conference. However, he said he wanted to be satisfied that the talks would not destroy all the work that the interim government had achieved since March. Mr. Smith was speaking in Bulawayo. In that city, as elsewhere in the country, the white Rhodesian population is maintaining a semblance of normal life. It is the end of the holidays, and children are returning to school.
SYNOPSIS: But the days when the journey back was a casual bus ride are long since past. This year, because of the guerrilla activity in the countryside around the city, the children travel in convey with a heavily armed guard travelling with them. The fact that the interim government has been unable to end the six year old guerrilla war is accepted as the reason for the change of mind about the all-party conference. Until the last few days it has completely rejected such suggestions. But all sides in Rhodesia are urging caution, and say that there are many issues still to be ironed our before such a conference could be held. One of the main issues on which there are still deep division, is the role of the armed forces during the transitional period. Mr. Smith has rejected any suggestion that the security forces should be disbanded during the period before majority rule. Mr. Robert Mugabe, on the other hand is equally adamant that the present Rhodesian forces should be replaced by guerrillas as part of a settlement. It is in the shadow of such deep differences that the new term begins for the children of Rhodesia.