Vice-President Aboud Jumbe’s Statement at the Commonwealth Conference:
1. Tanzania’s purpose, and Africa’s purpose in Rhodesia is independence on the Basis of Majority Rule. On that there can be no compromise. But we want to achieve it with as little violence as possible.
2. Tanzania, and Africa, supports the Freedom Fighters in their war against the Smith regime. This fighting is hurting the Front-Line States, but it is hurting the minority Regime even more: Smith would not be talking the way he is without the Guerrilla War. But we in Africa want the war to end as quickly as possible. People are dying in Zimbabwe; Mozambicans, Zambians, Motswana, and Tanzanians, are being killed in the border countries because of this war. We want it to end.
3. Africa is not fighting, on behalf of a particular nationalist leader, or nationalist group. The current support of the Front-Line States for the Patriotic Front arises from the fact that it is they who are leading the Guerrilla fighting. Africa’s support for the Guerri11a War is support for an independent Zimbabwe Government, based on the power of the majority. Africans constitute about 96% of the Rhodesian population.
4. There is now no dispute between Africa and Britain or other Commonwealth Countries about the principle: Independence on the Basis of Majority Rule is now accepted as the objective by everyone. This provides a basis for cooperation between Africa and all other countries of the Commonwealth.
5. But continued Minority Rule in Rhodesia rests on POWER; that is, on the power of the Smith Army. This is not an ordinary colonial situation. In Rhodesia we have been forced to fight a Rebel Government and a Rebel Army. The objective is to defeat that Rebel Government and its Rebel Army. Until the Army of the Minority Regime ceases to be you have not destroyed the effective power of the Minority, even if Smith loses political power, or even if black faces are in a majority in the Government. A Majority Rule, Government would be unable to do anything if the present Army was still existing, because everything it tried to do could be made ineffective by that Army. Indeed, a Majority Rule Government would not be governing such an Army; it would be governed by it. A new ‘Oath of Loyalty’ is irrelevant to this issue. The Rhodesian Army was bound by an Oath of Loyalty to the Queen in 1965; if it did not feel bound by that Oath it is unlikely to feel bound by an Oath to an African Government.
6. The objective of the Freedom Fighters is to destroy the power behind Minority Rule; that is, to destroy the Regime’s Army. If necessary, they will continue to fight until that Army is destroyed militarily, however long that takes, and whatever suffering is involved. Defeat of the Guerrilla Forces in particular battles will not affect the ultimate outcome; the war will continue until victory.
7. Britain’s latest political initiative is based on the belief that, with the backing of the United States of America, Majority Rule can be achieved by negotiation before the end of 1978. We must therefore assume that Britain is working for, and believes it can achieve, the complete dismantling of the Smith Army and the handing over of all its weapons to the new Majority Rule Government. Unless this happens, a change in the complexion of the Government would be meaningless.
8. It is on that basis, and that assumption, that Africa can cooperate with the current British initiative. For it means that we shall all be working to destroy Smith politically, and to destroy his Power – that is, the present Rhodesian Army.
9. But while Africa cooperates in this political initiative, the War will continue. It will cease only when a Majority Government assumes power. Experience has shown that anything else would ensure the failure of the political discussions. But as soon as the Smith Army is disarmed, the fighting can stop, because the power of the Minority has come to an end. Africa knows that the West will not help it in the Guerrilla War against the Minority Regime. We are sorry about that; but we accept it as a fact. We must assume, however, that the West will not do anything to weaken the Freedom Fighters, or to give any support to Smith in his struggle against them. We must assume also that economic sanctions and other pressures will be continued until the Majority Rule Government takes over and the Smith Army has been destroyed.
10. It must be clear to everyone – and particularly to Smith and Vorster – that if the destruction of Smith’s Army is not achieved politically (that is to say with the support of the West), that Army will – sooner or later – be destroyed by the Freedom Fighters working alone.
11. What happens after the destruction of Smith’s Army and the ending of Minority Rule, will be affected by the manner in which the change over is effected. If the destruction of Smith’s power – and especially the destruction of his Army – is achieved with the active help of the West, and before the Freedom Fighters have destroyed that Army militarily, then there will be elections in Zimbabwe under arrangements agreed between the Nationalists and the British Government. If the Freedom Fighters have to fight to a finish, then the first independent Government of Zimbabwe will be formed by the Freedom Fighters.
12. Now that the principle of Independence on the Basis of Majority Rule has been accepted by Britain, the outstanding question is: what are we going to do about the POWER behind Minority Rule – that is, about the present Rhodesian Army? Is there a real alternative to the destruction of the Smith Army by the Freedom Fighters, with all the suffering which this involves for Zimbabweans and their neighbours in the Front-Line States? Tanzania hopes so. We want the war to end quickly. It can only end when the objective is achieved. We will cooperate with Britain to achieve the objective politically, even while the war is continuing. Fighting and Talking are not incompatible when the objective of both is the same – that is, the transfer of effective power to the majority of the people. But two questions remain in our mind about the Talking:
(a) Does the British Government realise that ending Minority Rule involves the destruction of the present Rhodesian Army, and is it prepared to insist upon this in its discussion?
(b) Does the British Government believe, that the Smith Army can be disarmed and dismantled by negotiation under the existing pressures, or with increased pressures? If so, can it tell us how this will be done before success is claimed for the political initiative?
4th June 1977