Rhodesia had been a self-governing British Crown colony since 1923, and before that had been administered by a commercial company under a Royal Charter. At no time had she been ruled by the Colonial Office, been administered by British Government officials or been occupied by British troops. The reason for these departures from normal British practice lies in the earliest years of Rhodesia's existence.
The land at that stage, between the Limpopo and Zambezi rivers, was occupied by three main tribes, the Matabele, a warlike and volatile offshoot of the Zulu nation, who had reached the area about 1840, in the south; the Shangaan, who had fled the persecution of the Zulu chieftain Chaka, in the south-eastern area, and, in the north, the Mashona, a more peaceful and agricultural people, who had reached the area about three centuries earlier and who were continually being harried by Matabele raiding parties. To enable him to put his ideas into practice Rhodes realized that it would be essential to reach a modus vivendi with the Matabele and their king, Lobengula. To this end, he made use of contacts, in the missionary and mining fields, through whom he was able to negotiate two agreements with Lobengula, which largely gave him what he sought.
By the first agreement, known as the Moffat Treaty, negotiated by John Smith Moffat (son of Robert Moffat) and signed in February, 1888, Lobengula agreed that "peace and amity should reign between Britons and Matabeles" and that he could not "enter into any correspondence or treaty with any foreign state or sell or cede any part of his dominions without the previous sanction of Her Majesty's High Commissioner for South Africa".
This satisfied one of Rhodes' aims by establishing a British sphere of influence in Matabeleland and Mashonaland, and gave Lobengula a guarantee of British aid against any possible incursions either from the Transvaal into Matabeleland or from Mozambique into Mashonaland. The British Imperial authorities would go no further at this stage, fearing that Parliament would baulk at establishing an outright protectorate, with all its attendant expenses, over the region.
Later that year, 1888, an emissary from Rhodes, C.D. Rudd negotiated the second-agreement with Lobengula. The Rev. C.D. Helm, a missionary from the London Missionary Society, who spoke Lobengula's language fluently and who enjoyed the chief's complete confidence, interpreted and explained every clause of the proposed concession until LobenguIa was fully aware of the implications. He subsequently signed a certificate to the effect that "the accompanying document has been fully interpreted and explained by me to the Chief Lobengula and his full council of Indunas and that all the constitutional usages of the Matabele nation have been complied with prior to his executing the same". There can, therefore, be no serious doubts that Lobengula and his councillors did agree to the Concession in the full knowledge of what they were doing, and were not duped by some Machiavellian white plot, as has on occasion been suggested. The Rudd Concession, signed in October, granted to Rhodes and his partners "complete and exclusive charge over all metals and minerals situated and contained in my kingdoms, principalities and dominions", and further gave Rhodes and company full power to "do all things they may deem necessary to win and procure the same, and to hold, collect and enjoy the profits and revenues, if any derived, from the said metals and minerals"; finally, "to take all necessary and lawful steps to exclude all persons seeking land, metals, minerals or mining rights". Rhodes thus had a treaty which kept out competitors in the economic sphere,. as the Moffat Treaty excluded them politically.
Concerning Rhodesia, the British Government believed that, if the development of the territory was successful, Britain retained sufficient power to annex it; if it failed, as many thought probable, the expense would fall, not on the British taxpayer, but on a commercial company. The Company was thus given a Charter to govern, legislate and administer the territory under the protection of the Crown, whose influence was exercised through the British High Commissioner in South Africa. The B.S.A. Company offered considerable advantages to the British Government-
(a) it supplied capital without making demands on the taxpayer;
(b) it took risks that the Home Government could not take;
(c) it built up a pioneer administration at a time when British (as well as German and Belgian) authorities lacked the resources, financial and manpower, to run some of their newly acquired possessions overseas;
(d) British influence would counteract that of the Transvaal, and an English-speaking area would redress the balance of power in the sub-continent.
In 1890, the first organized Pioneer Column was established, financed and equipped by the Company. It crossed the Limpopo and made its way north until it reached the site of the present-day Salisbury, where the Union Jack was raised and a settlement began.
In the following years, the country began to expand under the Company's administration, despite setbacks such as epidemics. People eventually began to chafe under Company rule, however, and, as Downing Street had not the slightest wish to brave both Treasury and Parliament by taking over fiscal responsibilities for Rhodesia, a Legisla- tive Council was established. It was presided over by the Administrator of the Company, and included members appointed by the Company and others elected on a "colour-blind" but qualified franchise.
Responsible self-government had been promised by the High Commis- sion for 1914. This was unfulfilled because of the outbreak of war (in which served over 5,000 whites - an astonishing 25 per cent. of the white population - and 2,000 blacks) and because of the Colonial Office's insistence that the country's fate was to be linked to South Africa. After the war, Rhodesians sought to throw off the yoke of Chartered Company administration and to govern themselves entirely, though remaining under the Imperial umbrella.
After protracted discussion, a referendurn was held in 1922, the results of which showed 8,774 votes in favour of "Responsible Government" and 5,989 in favour of joining South Africa. While the B.S.A. Company retained its mineral rights in Northern and Southern Rhodesia, the British Government paid the Company £375,0000 and took over all unalienated land, public works and buildings in the two Rhodesias. Southern Rhodesia then obtained her public works and unalienated land by paying £2,000,000 to the British Government, thereby becoming the only community in Imperial history which had to pay for the privilege of self-government.
Though self-governing, the colony remained clearly tied to the Imperial connection. The British Government retained a right of surveillance over important legislation and London was consulted before reserved bills went to the Legislature. The Constitution enforced a number of restraints on the Legislature. safeguards being designed to prevent discriminatory legislation against black Rhodesians without Whitehall sanction and to stop laws being passed that were incompatible with the more general interests of the Imperial connection. Nevertheless, the convention grew that Britain did not interfere in matters within the competence of the Rhodesian Legislature and within these limits, the Colony took full charge of its internal affairs. Rhodesians made their own laws, were judged in their own courts, raised their own revenues, recruited their own civil servants, controlled and mobilized their own defence forces, were under the iurisdiction of their own police force, travelled on their own passports and controlled their own foreign commerce.
Government was exercised by a Cabinet, whose Ministers formally owed their appointment to the Governor, but remained responsible to the Legislative Assembly elected by voters on a non-racist though property-weighted franchise. The system as a whole rested on a complicated balance of power between local and Imperial interests and much of the country's subsequent political history devolved on the problem of how the remaining shackles on local executive control should be removed.
Since 1923, and the granting of self-government, the country had managed to make greater advances and to create better social services for its black and white people than in Northern Rhodesia, under Colonial Office rule, despite the fact that nature had endowed the latter country with far greater natural riches.
Rhodesians began to feel an irritation with the continuing shackles linking them to the British Government and a movement for a greater degree of freedom was initiated. This was, however, overtaken by the outbreak of the Second World War, in which many Rhodesians served with distinction and during which further political advance was set aside in order to concentrate on the war effort. Although intimations had been made by the British Government during the war years that independence for Southern Rhodesia would be forthcoming after the cessation of hostilities, the advent of a Labour Government in 1946 thwarted the possibility, even as the movement for greater independence gained momentum.
It was again deflected, however, this time by the concept of Federation, which aimed at uniting the two Rhodesias and Nyasaland (the latter known as "the Imperial slum", for so little had been done for it under the Crown), to provide for the more effective development of the territories together than was possible alone. This concept was not unpleasing to the Rhodesian Government, for it became obvious after the 1939-45 war that, while Northern Rhodesia had a great industrial future with its copper, lead and zinc mines, Southern Rhodesia would develop her secondary industries and would require a larger market than she alone could provide.
The Federation came into being in 1953. An initial British Government right to legislate for the Federation and "any of its component parts" was soon overtaken by a convention by which Britain did not initiate any legislation to amend or repeal any Federal Act or to deal with any matter within the competence of the Federal Legislature, except at the request of the Federal Government.
The responsible British Minister acknowledged that his Government had parted with the prerogative right to legislate in regard to those matters which, under the Letters Patent (by which the 1923 Constitution had been granted), were placed within the competence of the local legislature. Although the 1923 Constitution could have been amended by both the British and Southern Rhodesian Governments to suit the aspirations of the Salisbury authorities, the Minister recognized the desire of the Rhodesian Government to have the provisions for the new Constitution embodied in an entirely new document.
The constitutional proposals were published in two White Papers, Cmnd 1399 and Cmnd 1400. In the Introduction to the First Papers appeared the statement
The Constitution of 1923 conferred responsible government on Southern Rhodesia. Since then it has become an established convention for Parliament at Westminster not to legislate for Southern Rhodesia on matters within the competence of the Legislative Assembly of Southern Rhodesia, except with the agreement of the Southern Rhodesian Government.This was the first time that this convention had ever appeared in writing. The introduction continued :
The proposed new Constitution will reproduce many of the provisions of the existing Constitution. It will eliminate all the reserved powers at present vested in the Government of the United Kingdom, save for certain matters set out in paragraph 50.(That paragraph referred to the position of the Sovereign and the Governor, stockholders' rights and international obligations.)
The Constitution provided for far-reaching advancement for black Rhodesians, and made inevitable a black majority in the legislature. It included a justiciable Declaration of Rights and a Constitutional Council, with a non-white majority, which was to fulfil a "watchdog" role over all legislation. The Constitution was clearly and emphatically a move away from any type of "apartheid" policy and it was accepted by all political parties with the exception of the rightist Dominion Party, but including the National Democratic Party, led by Mr. Joshua Nkomo. (The N.D.P. Iater reneged on its acceptance and instituted a calculated programme of intimidation and subversion to coerce black Rhodesians into opposing the proposals.) In the referendum that followed, the proposals were approved by a predominantly white electorate by a majority of two to one. It was described by the then Colonial Secretary, Mr. Duncan Sandys, as an "historic and almost unique event, that an overseas territory of this kind, with the overwhelming consent of the Europeans, should give a big political advance to the Africans".
A shock was in store for the Rhodesian people, however, for when the Constitution was published by the British Government, it included a section which had not appeared in the White Papers. This Section III. gave the British Government the power to amend or revoke many sections of the Constitution, including sections referring to the powers and duties of the Governor, the Sovereign's position in the Legislature, the requirement for Her Majesty's assent to every Bill, stockholders' rights and international obligations, the prerogative of mercy and the definition of the "executive authority of Southern Rhodesia" which was "vested in Her Majesty and may be exercised on Her Majesty's behalf by the Governor or such other persons as may be authorized in that behalf by the Governor or by any law of the Legislature"
Section III was, therefore, a written record of authority for a British Government to make vital constitutional changes unilaterally, and was in direct contradiction to the White Paper's assurances that written British powers would in future only be related to stockholders' rights, the position of the Sovereign and international obligations. No electorate would have given its massive support to the proposals had Section III been incorporated from the start. The British strategem caused deep doubts of that Government's good faith and was to exercise a strong influence on white Rhodesian minds in the next few years.
The Federal period coincided with the rise in black nationalism throughout Africa and it was not long before demands were being heard from nationalist leaders in the ex-protectorate parts of the Federation, Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland (where, unlike Southern Rhodesia, no blacks had ever had the vote), for independence for their territories. Mr. Macmillan's "winds of change" began to blow with increasing force and the Federation was dissolved by the British Government in 1963, independence following shortly afterwards for Northern Rhodesia (Zambia) and Nyasaland (Malawi). Southern Rhodesia was again on her own. Despite her record of never having been under direct rule from London, of having successfully negotiated forty years of responsible and beneficial self-government, her manifest claim for independence was ignored, while other territories, whose experience of governing themselves was negligible, as was their potential for surviving unaided, were handed their independence.
It was evident thereafter, that Rhodesia would not gain her independence from Britain on terms acceptable to her Government and successive British Governments were not prepared to consider the undeniable merits of Rhodesia's case and the granting to her of independence on the basis of those merits. Thus it was that on 11th November, 1965, the Unilateral Declaration of Independence was made and Rhodesians undertook a controversial new course which was to lead to a number of unsuccessful attempts to reach a constitutional settlement, and ultimately to the Salisbury Agreement of 3rd March, 1978.
Similarly, the whites recognized that it was no longer possible to ignore the aspirations and demands of the black majority.
The final Constitution Act stipulated that there would be a constitutional as opposed to an executive President. The new Legislature comprises of a House of Assembly and a Senate. The 100-man House of Assembly comprises 72 black members elected for the common roll constituencies on a party list system; 20 white members elected for the white roll constituencies and eight white members elected by an electoral college consisting of the other 92 members.
The 30-man Senate comprises 10 black Senators elected by an electoral college consisting of the black members of the lower House, 10 white Senators elected by an electoral college consisting of the white members of the House of Assembly and 10 chiefs, five from Matabeleland and five from Mashonaland.
The 1979 Constitution provides for a justiciable Declaration of Rights, an Ombudsman, a Public Services Commission, a Judicial Service Commission and Police and Defence Service commissions. Dual citizenship will continue to be permitted and certain pension rights protected.
A Government of National Unity will be formed after the 20th April elections and Cabinet seats will be allocated according to party popularity at the polls. Elections are planned every five years or upon dissolution of the Legislature, whichever comes first. After 10 years, a Commission will examine any changes to the Constitution which may be considered desirable.
Membership in any constitutional body demands, at the very least, some degree of respect for the body's written Constitution. In the matter of Rhodesia no such respect could be seen. The referral of the issue by Britain and the discussions that followed in the U.N. were based on often arbitrary interpretations of the Charter; the interpretations, needless to say, being made to the detriment of Rhodesia and often at the expense of logic, common sense and fair play. Before its recourse to the United Nations, Britain had regarded the issue as a domestic one, involving the motherland and a recalcitrant colony (albeit a self-governing one). The very act of resorting to the U.N. was therefore, unjustifiable, for the Charter plainly states (Paragraph 7, Article 2 of Chapter 1):
Nothing contained in the present Charter shall authorize the United Nations to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state or shall require the members to submit such matters to sebtlement under the present Charter; but this principle shall not prejudice the application of enforcement measures under Chapter VII.(An interesting sidelight on this Article is that the original Dumbarton Oaks proposals for the U.N. Charter contained this paragraph in Chapter VII. "Arrangements for the maintenance of international peace and security including prevention and suppression of aggression". It was, however, incorporated in Chapter I of the U.N. Charter, where it was to become a governing principle for the organization and binding on all its members.) The key words in the paragraph are "essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state" and no one can doubt that Rhodesia was "essentially" a British concern - Her Majesty's Government alone had the legal and constitutional means to resolve the issue.
Once a binding principle had been flouted, it was easy to interpret other Articles to the satisfaction of the majority of U.N. members. The Security Council's jurisdiction to apply economic sanotions is defined by Article 41, which in fact only can be invoked when "a threat to peace" has been established under Article 39.
Under this Article, however, before a threat to the peace can be established, there must be an unsettled dispute, and both parties must be heard by the Security Council, the conciliation procedures laid down in Chapter VI having been exhausted. Britain does not regard Rhodesia as a Sovereign state and, therefore, Article 2 should have applied, under which members will deal, without recourse to the U.N., with matters in their own area of Sovereignty. Rhodesia, as a supposedly non-Sovereign state, in U.N. eyes, was not given any right of representation under Article 32, which says that "any state which is not a member of the United Nations, if it is a party to a dispute under consideration by the Security Council, shall be invited to participate, without vote, in the discussion relating to the dispute".
The result of this complicated "doublethink" was the imposition of sanctions and the London "Daily Telegraph" summed up the situation:
The U.N. Charter is already being interpreted as if Rhodesia was a Sovereign State in imposing sanctions, and as if she was not in denying her any hearing for her case.Rhodesia pointed out this discrepancy in cables to the U.N. Secretary-General U Thant: if Britain maintained that Rhodesia was not a state but part of Britain, how could Britain impose sanctions on herself? If sanctions could be imposed by the U.N. on Rhodesia, then she must be a state and have the right of hearing at the Security Council.
Despite this request and precedents, Rhodesia was not invited to attend the Security Council sessions. For precedents there had been, almost from the inception of the U.N.
In the Netherlands/Indonesia dispute of 1947, the Australian delegate said, at the 181st meeting:
. . . there is no provision in the Charter stipulating that, in order to appear before the Council or to participate in its discussions, a state must be Sovereign. This is a case where we have to act with a sense of fair play. We have heard one side - surely we are entitled to hear the other.In the Corfu Channel dispute between Britain and Albania -1947, the Australian President of the Security Council said at the 95th meeting: "The obligation of the Council as required by the dictates of common justice is to issue the invitation and give the Albanian Government a reasonable opportunity to be represented". Also during later disputes the Korean question, the Vietnam dispute, the Taiwan issue - various delegates defended the right of the second party to the dispute to a hearing before the Council. It seems, alas, that "a sense of fair play" and the dictates of common justice no longer have any meaning at the United Nations.
Even if one accepts the cynical view that the only purpose of sanctions was to punish a recalcitrant white government, the fact still remains fhat with the demise of that government and the installation of a government elected on the basis of universal suffrage, the original purpose of the sanctions falls away.
The most important step in this direction was the signing of the 3rd March Agreement which irrevocably cornmitted the Transitional Government to abolish racial discrimination completely. The new Acts implementing this were passed into law in February, 1979.
The Land Tenure Act had been regarded by its opponents as the "cornerstone of racial discrimination". The Quenet Commission reported that the provisions of this Act were the main cause of friction between the races and had led to widespread discontent and deep-seated resentment. The repeal of this Act therefore has far-reaching repercussions affecting the lives of millions, and has invalidated all conditions which impose restrictions on ownership, occupation or use of land on racial grounds.
The Local Government (Amendment) Act provides that all existing provisions in both the Rural Councils Act and the Urban Councils Act affecting African townships are repealed, although all local by-laws governing the administration of these areas will remain in force. This Act lifted restrictions on the involvement of black Rhodesians in the running of municipalities and other local authorities.
The Pulblic Premises (Prevention of Racial Discrimination) Act removes discrimination on grounds of race at places used by the public and also provides penalties for those who do not comply with the Act.
In regard to health and education services, all races will benefit from the country's excellent health and education services, without any lowering of standards. While black aspirations will be recognized, white fears about standards will also be respected.
A three-tier education system, whereby parents can pay reasonably high fees, low fees or no fees at all has been introduced. In addition, recognized religions will still be able to have their own schools.
Hospitals will be fully integrated, but there will be fee paying and non-fee paying patients. Thus, whereas education and health services will be open to all, there will be a financial grading system, at least for a decade or so.
The Tribal Trust Lands Act provides for the protection of tribal home areas of the blacks from white commercial encroachment.
In addition to the Government schools, there are numerous private schools throughout the country, all of which must be registered with the Ministry of Education, one of the functions of which is to ensure that certain minimum standards are maintained in these schools. There is no common fees structure for pupils who attend private schools.
Government provides and maintains several teachers' colleges, and through the payment of grants assists with the maintenance of teachers' colleges run by private institutions.
Provision exists for the purchase of Government schools by communities, the purchase price of which is spread over a period of forty years.
Approximately 22 per cent. of pupils who complete Form IV proceed to a post O-level course to prepare for the M-level and A-level (or equivalent) examinations, with a view to obtaining university entrance qualifications; excellent technical and vocational facilities are offered for the non-academic streams.
In the financial year 1978-1979, $92,000,000 (or approximately 135 million U.S. dollars) was voted for Education (an amount second only to that voted for Defence), and Rhodesia leads the rest of Africa, apart from the Republic of South Africa, in having approximately 48 per cent. of its school-age children at school - compared with 40 per cent. in Nigeria, 29 per cent. in Tanzania and 5 per cent. in Ethiopia.
Because of the numbers involved (just over two million children aged between 7 and 18 years), and because of financial limitations, less than 20 per cent. of those finishing primary school can continue their education at the secondary level. However, since 1965 the number of black pupils in secondary schools has increased by 233 per cent. with no discernable drop in standards.
The preventive service is built around provincial offices in the five provinces of Rhodesia with Provincial Medical Officers of Health and ancillary staff in each centre. These provincial officers are responsible for all preventive health matters outside the major municipal areas where the municipalities have their own Medical Officers of Health. Provincial offices are responsible for the prevention and control of disease throughout Rhodesia by means of immunization and vaccination campaigns and for health education aimed at a general improvement in the health, of the whole population and particularly those in the rural areas.
In the curative field Government provides the country's major hospital services while in both urban and rural areas local authorities provide primary care centres and maternity units; these, with a number of Mission-run hospitals in the rural areas, are Government subsidized.
Government hospitals are graded as rural, district, general and central hospitals based on the degree of sophistication of the medical services available at the hospital. Rural hospitals provide a simple primary medical care and maternity service while at the other end of the scale the central hospitals, two of which are situated in Salisbury and two in Bulawayo, provide the fully comprehensive range of sophisticated services to be found in large modern hospitals throughout the world.
Government hospitals, which are open to people of all races, are further classified as "open" or "closed" hospitals dependent on whether private medical practitioners have been granted the privilege of access to them for the purpose of treating their private patients. Closed hospitals are staffed entirely by medical practitioners employed by Government while most of the patients in open hospitals are under the care of private medical practitioners. The fees payable for treatment at closed hospitals are very much lower than at open hospitals for the reason that accommodation at open hospitals is more comfortable and patients are afforded greater privacy. The quality of the medical care and medical facilities available are the same whether it be a closed or open hospital and, of course, no patient is refused treatment if he cannot afford to pay for it. Many of the patients who pay the higher fees charged at the open hospitals are members of Medical Aid Societies which provide a form of insurance to meet the costs of medical treatment.
A United States State Department Agency report says that in the decade 1965-1975, Rhodesian economic growth outstripped that of almost all its neighbours; her Gross National Product rose by almost 80 per cent. and the per capita income by 26 per cent. The 1974 per capita income of $422 compared very favourably with that of $348 in Botswana, $148 in Zaire and $126 in Tanzania.
In the purely material sphere earnings have increased phenomenally: in 1958 the 652,000 workers in the industrial sector earned an average per capita income of $169, ranging from a high of $285 in the finance and insurance fields to a low of $104 for an agricultural worker; in 1965 the figures were 656,000 workers, average income $250, and by 1975: 982,000 workers had a mean per capita income of $692, with those employed in the educational, transport and communications and finance, insurance and real estate spheres, earning an average of $981, while the least paid employees - agricultural workers, domestic servants and miners and quarry workers - earned $336 on the average.
A point to note, however: the figures for agricultural workers and domestic servants do not take into account the free accommodation and food these employees receive; also, on many of the larger farms, schooling is provided for the children of workers, and farmer's wives run small stores where the workers can purchase almost all their requirements at much cheaper rates than would normally be the case.
Progress has not been confined to only one sector of the black population; both in rural and urban areas the advancement in standards of living has been moving on apace.
In the tribal areas, where some 60 per cent. of the population live, improved farming methods are changing the traditional existence that was eked out by subsistence farming to one of positive action and forward planning that brings substantial tangible rewards. Where, in the past, a subsistence level farm, on which archaic and wasteful methods had long since exhausted the inherent goodness and fertility of the soil, might have brought in $60 per annum, nowadays, Government efforts aimed at integrating traditional tribal practice with modern agricultural methods are bearing fruit and a market gardener can now expect a return of some $500 per annum for his work. The tribesman is thus being brought into the cash economy and is fast becoming aware of the benefit he is likely to gain - his profits can be channelled into projects such as dam-building, irrigation systems and better methods of transporting his crop to the nearest station, which will in their turn increase their profit yield, enabling them to contribute to development funds for use on further projects, such as schools, roads and clinics. Apart from the profit aspect, the tribesman is also gaining an awareness of his responsibilities - himself and his self-improvement, to his family and to the community at large, a development which in turn augurs well for his eventual knowledgeable participation in the national context. In the urban Sphere, the black population of the towns and cities has increased twice as fast as the national population. This enormous increase has brought its share of problems - housing and employment in particular, but nevertheless the black population has been a major source of the remarkable expansion of the economy since 1965, and with the rapid development of a black middle class, it is the black consumer who is setting the pace and must be regarded as holding the major part of national demand for a wide range of products.
Black private enterprise is growing, particularly in the fields of transport, distribution and agriculture: black bus-owners manage highly successful businesses which provide transport between the urban areas and the Tribal Trust Lands; black retailers own and run about 2,500 stores, varying in size and sophistication; and blacks own and manage over 8,000 commercial farms.
In the professional field, there are many successful black doctors, lawyers, teachers, accountants, etc. In the private sector of business and commerce, there are significant examples of appropriate responsibilities offered to, and successfully discharged by, qualified blacks and many large companies employ blacks in management or trainee-management positions.
The Civil Service employs increasing numbers of blacks in established posts, especially in the fields of education, health and social welfare.
There can be no doubt that these trends will accelerate with the advent of a majority rule government in Zimbabwe-Rhodesia.
Economic development is, therefore, proceeding at a rapid pace, but even this pace cannot keep up with the high population growth rate, the population influx into the urban areas and the great number of young employment-seekers who come on to the labour market every year; lack of sufficient finance is one of the main reasons for this. Millions of dollars are spent each year on development projects but the sources of this finance are limited. Since 1965, Rhodesia has been cut off from the world money markets and possibilities of aid from international agencies; and, unlike other newly independent states, Rhodesia, before 1965, was never a recipient of any foreign aid grants from American and European sources. Financing for development, therefore, comes largely from internal sources.
It can be anticipated that an independent and recognized Zimbabwe Rhodesia will provide almost unlimited scope to the overseas investor, in terms of opportunities for investment in schemes aimed at the development of the country as a whole.
Racism, in the form of the expulsion of Asian citizens, has reduced Uganda's economy to a shambles. Starvation decimated whole villages in the Sahel region and Ethiopia, because of mis-management of the country's resources, and because of corruption that prevented many relief supplies from reaching the intended recipients and ensured that, if they did reach them, the price was exorbitant - even though the supplies were in most cases granted as aid by western countries. Curtailment of freedom has resulted in the persecution of religious minorities: political opposition is not permitted in countries too numerous to mention, dissent of any form is not tolerated, freedom to travel abroad is severely restricted in some countries.
The three main black leaders in Zimbabwe Rhodesia, however, have pledged on a number of occasions that when they come to power they do not wish to model their Government upon numerous inefficient African examples and to have to rely on expatriate whites. White Rhodesians will be encouraged to stay and share in the development of a potentially rich and harmonious multi-racial nation.
The recent history of Africa has shown, moreover, that the masses are often no better off as a result of their independence - and in many cases their well-being has deteriorated to alarming extents. The most recent example is in Mozambique where rampant Marxist ideology, backed by an inept civil service, has reduced the economy to a catastrophic state due largely to a programme of nationalization and Africanization for its own sake. Food production has fallen calamitously; this applies particularly to the staple foods. Inflation stands at over 30 per cent. and tourism, a major money-earner formerly, was almost nonexistent in 1978.
In the former Portuguese colonies of Angola and Mozambique the evils of an overnight transition to independence without elections are readily apparent. The hasty departure of the Portuguese after nearly 400 years of colonial rule, coupled with foreign intervention and the ruthless ambition of the leaders of the former "liberation" movements have created almost total anarchy. This in turn has led to the imposition of harsh dictatorial authority which has subjugated the mass of the people and driven away the majority of the Portuguese with their western expertise. As a result even the most fundamental services have fallen away and the population is subjected to chronic shortages of basic foodstuffs, inadequate shelter and the tyranny of insecure regimes.
Blacks and whites in Zimbabwe-Rhodesia have seen the mistakes which have been made in other African countries, and the effect these mistakes have had on the day-to-day lives of the common people, and are determined to avoid making these same mistakes in the new Zimbabwe-Rhodesia. It is for this reason that the Government believes that the Agreement of 3rd March, 1978, which is an agreement between black and white Zimbabwe-Rhodesians who have an intimate knowledge of the needs, fears and aspirations of all the people of the country, is preferable to any settlement plan imposed by foreign governments designed to serve their self-interests rather than the interests of the people of the country itself.
The transition from minority self-government to majority rule has been a relatively long one by African standards, with black and white Ministers working side by side to ensure a detailed transfer of power and experience.
Another positive feature of the transfer of power is that the former rulers of Rhodesia, by and large, intend to stay and contribute their skills and experience, and are being welcomed to do so by the black rulers of the new state. This is in direct contrast to the situation in many other African states, notably Angola and Mozambique, where the former rulers have either withdrawn en masse or have been unceremoniously kicked out by the new regimes.
We see detente as the way to create more favourable conditions for peaceful socialist and communist construction. Detente does not in the slightest abolish, and cannot abolish or alter, the laws of the class struggle. There is no room for neutralism and compromise-in the struggle between socialism and capitalism.Other Soviet officials echo his view. A Kremlin foreign affairs adviser declared that "the policy of peaceful co-existence does not mean keeping the status quo". Control over Eastern Europe is regarded as a fait accompli by the Russians while the non-communist world remains an area for further expansion. Brezhnev pays lip-service to detente but implies at the same time that the Soviets are prepared to intervene almost everywhere in the world if "bid by our revolutionary conscience, our communist conviction". He affirms Moscow's right to support "the struggle of other people for freedom and progress".
Some western observers are realizing the realities of the situation; an American professor notes that "the Soviet aim is world hegemony at nothing less than the level that Britain occupied in the nineteenth century". The question is, however, whether sufficient numbers of westerners will see these realities in time to mount a counter-offensive. While the United States and N.A.T.O. nations slash their defence budgets, Russia continues to increase hers, to the point where she is now overtly spending 15 per cent. of her Gross National Product on defence commitments (cf. 5,4 per cent. for the U.S.). Soviet forces are no longer primarily defensive but offensive and her arms build-up threatens that of the U.S. and N.A.T.O. Already the Soviet over-all strategic nuclear power capability is almost equal to that of the United States; the Soviet army outnumbers the American by 2 1/2 to 1, it has four times as many tanks, three times as many submarines and twice as many strategic missiles; her navy, and air force, are bigger than the American ones, although the U.S.A. has more aircraft carriers and strategic aircraft.
This military power enables the U.S.S.R. to cast an ominous shadow all over the world; former U.S. Defence Secretary, James Schlesinger, says: "Such power may be employed directly, but it is more likely to be exploited indirectly to extract political, economic or military concessions" - all, he might well have added, at the expense of the West.
Already, this power has been indirectly exploited, winning proxy victories for the U.S.S.R. in Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Angola and Ethiopia - thus diminishing U.S. prestige without firing a shot of its own. There is no reason to believe that, with these victories under its belt and having successfully achieved a military presence in Algeria, Libya, Guinea-Bissau, Nigeria, Congo, Uganda, Angola and Mozambique, her imperialist aims are likely to halt, unless there is a rapid and massive reappraisal by the West of the extent of the threat posed by Soviet expansionist trends.
Soviet Russia's traditional counterweight, the United States of America, continues to be plagued by the debilitating effects of post-Vietnam disillusionment and its persisting isolationism. Moreover, the present U.S. Administration has shown itself unwilling to take any form of positive action to oppose Russian expansionism in Africa or Asia, but has managed rather to depict America to its friends as a weak, vacillating and unreliable ally. Policy on Southern Africa continues to be influenced by the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Mr. Andrew Young, and his allies in the State Department, and Mr. Young continues to make uninformed, provocative and dogmatic statements on the Rhodesian issue, and the situation in Southern Africa as a whole.
It is hardly surprising that the US. Congress is showing signs of increasing disillusionment with the Administration's foreign policy.
On the 17th February, 1977, for example, Mr. Young was quoted as saying:
The Carter Administration will not support an internal solution in Rhodesia under any circumstances, will not compromise on South West Africa and will make no deals with Mr. Vorster.He is also on record as having stated that "Communism has never been a threat" to black people, whereas "racism has always been a threat". In connection with this last statement it is interesting to note that in September, 1976, Young, as a member then of the Congressional Black Caucus, with some 100 other black leaders, produced a document entitled "The African-American Manifesto on Southern Africa". One of the key sections in this document stated:
We totally support the liberation of Southern Africa from white minority rule by means of armed struggle, where necessary, and affirm the right of the African liberation movements to seek necessary assistance from whatever sources available to achieve self-determination and majority rule.Since coming to power the Carter Administration has repealed the Byrd Amendment which formerly allowed the U.S. to import Rhodesian chrome, but was blocked in closing down the Rhodesian Information Office in Washington. The Carter Administration remains morally committed to black majority rule in Southern Africa, but chooses to interpret "majority rule" as meaning rule by whoever will help avoid any confrontation with Russian imperialism rather than rule by those whom the majority support.
Rhodesia is an important target for Russian imperialist ambitions for two reasons: her major deposits of strategic minerals such as high grade chrome and the country's geographical position as being the key to South Africa - Russia's ultimate target in Africa. Russian control of the sub-continent's mineral deposits and of the strategic Cape sea route would pose an enormous threat to the West, both militarily and economically.
Zimbabwe-Rhodesia is very aware of the target she represents to Russia and her allies and their exploitation of the "racist" theme, and is determined to counter them through the implementation of the principles agreed to in the 3rd March Agreement, culminating in the April one-man one-vote, majority rule election.
16th March, 1978.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Return to Main Page