TANZANIA AND RHODESIA

In the six months since our last Bulletin Tanzania has continued to work closely with Zambia and Mozambique in a combined strategy for the liberation of Zimbabwe. This strategy consists of the following elements: the restructuring of the guerillas and their ‘political education’; the recognition of the guerillas as a ‘third force’, distinct from the African political leaders as well as from the Rhodesian regime; insistence upon the right of the guerilla ‘third force’ to be represented in negotiations to bring the war to an end. It also consists of an appeal to Britain, America and the Commonwealth. At the end of March the Tanzanian Government submitted the following memorandum to the Secretary General of the Commonwealth, who circulated it to the Sanctions Committee.

MEMORANDUM FROM THE UNITED REPUBLIC OF TANZANIA RHODESIA

The talks between Smith and Nkmo have ended. Two things are now beyond all reasonable doubt; first, that no responsible African Rhodesian leader will accept anything short of majority rule in Rhodesia; and second that Smith is still opposed to majority rule on principle and for all time … Two things should therefore now be clear to everybody. Armed struggle is the only way in which majority rule can be achieved in Zimbabwe; and there will be an armed struggle to achieve majority rule. The necessity of war is regrettable. But it is a fact.

The choice of armed rather than peaceful struggle has been made by Smith… All Smith’s thinking, his statements and his actions will be designed to secure company in this political suicide. The two most open methods used to attract support will continue to be allegations that the Nationalists are communists, or black racialists – or a combination of the two. But whatever Smith’s rationalisations, his continued purpose will be to get support for the maintenance of minority rule. When the pressure on the Minority Regime gets very great, Smith may even renounce U.D.I., and call upon Britain to resume responsibility for the protection of her colony … A renunciation of U.D.I. would not settle anything. The minority rebellion took place because of a problem. That problem was the minority resistance to the principle of majority rule. Whether the Rhodesian White minority now resists majority rule as a so-called independent government, or again as a government of a self-governing colony, or as a political and economic group in a colony directly ruled by British administrators and British troops, it clearly intends to go on resisting majority rule. And ending of the rebellion by Smith’s renunciation of U.D.I. would therefore still leave the problem of majority rule to be solved. U.D.I. is relevant to the issue only in legal terms and the opportunities they create.

No one can like the prospect of an intensified armed struggle in Rhodesia. The friends of Africa, and friends of those White people who are willing to live and work as loyal citizens of a Zimbabwe ruled by the majority, will be wishing to do three things. First, to reduce the period and the bitterness of the fighting, and therefore of the suffering of both black and white; second, to avoid the conflict taking the form of a generalized race war; and third, to avoid the identification of minority rule with the Western block and of majority rule with the Eastern block. It is still possible for the world, and especially the Commonwealth, to make some contribution to these desirable ends.

The most vital thing of all is that Smith should be left alone to sink. He must not receive political or military support of any kind from Europe or America or other Commonwealth countries … Secondly, the world should consider what it can do to provide alternatives for those members of the minority communities who do, for one reason or another, find it impossible to contemplate living in free Zimbabwe. For Zimbabwe will be free; resistance by those who find this prospect unacceptable but who have nowhere else to go, will only prolong the agony and makes difficulties for those who could, and would be willing to, adjust to change …

The unfortunate truth is that bloodshed in Rhodesia is basically being caused by people who claim that Rhodesia is their country but whose loyalty is really to their own privilege … The whole of Africa, and the world, will benefit if those who will leave Rhodesia anyway are persuaded to leave without plunging the country into the misery of a protracted liberation war. And the alternative to fighting which is most likely to have this effect is the offer of a welcome and a home in other countries. This would involve some kind of assurance of the means of a reasonable livelihood if they were young enough to work, or a means of living in reasonable comfort if they were older.

Such compensation to those who might otherwise cause problems by resisting the march of history – and who have the power to create such problems – is not unprecedented in international affairs … In Rhodesia, the majority of the people … affected hold either Rhodesian, South African or British passports. South Africa will not participate in any such scheme, although some of these people will move back to South Africa as the pressure intensifies But there is no reason why Britain should be expected to bear alone the burden and costs of buying off all the active opponents of majority rule in Rhodesia. The whole world, and especially the Commonwealth, has an interest in reducing the scale, the intensity and length of the armed struggle in Rhodesia. For it will involve the whole world, directly or indirectly, regardless of race and geographical location …

There are two things required. The first is a willingness to receive the emigrating Rhodesians, and to waive the more restrictive health, skill and age qualifications for the purpose. The number and type of countries to which the emigrants would be interested in going is limited. They include Britain, the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, and some mainland European countries. If all such countries would publicly state their willingness to accept Rhodesians who come within a certain period, I believe that they would be making a contribution to the growth of peace and justice in Southern Africa.

The second thing necessary for such a purpose is a Commonwealth fund to finance the movement and resettlement of those would-be emigrants who have no external resources … Technical difficulties exist in any proposals. And whatever scheme is worked out there will be anomalies and injustices remaining. But the Rhodesian problem is urgent and internationally dangerous. We cannot wait while we search indefinitely for perfect justice. Events are moving very fast now; the armed struggle has begun and people are dying. If we are to reduce the conflict and its dangers we have to act quickly.

On 16th June 1976 the Tanzanian High Commissioner addressed a meeting of the Foreign Affairs Group of the Parliamentary Labour Party. He reiterated the main points of the memorandum but added an interesting insight into Tanzanian thinking:

‘Should Smith renounce UDI and accept the principle of majority rule, we would then expect and urge the setting up of a transitional government, as was the case in Mozambique, with a British Commissioner and a Zimbabwe Prime Minister assisted by Ministers chosen to represent various interests in accordance with a prior agreement. The task of such a government would be to disarm Smith’s forces and to hand over the role of a national defence force to the existing Zimbabwean Liberation Army.’

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