Aggression: A Rhodesian Viewpoint
Acts of terror within Rhodesia actively supported by neighbouring states, have been taking place for more than a decade, mostly against the innocent black population.
Terrorists have murdered 17 times as many blacks as they have whites, but the majority of the world press for some years preferred to disregard this ratio and blithely stated that Rhodesia was engaged in a "Racial Struggle". Since the abortive Geneva conference at the end of 1976, however, they have come to realize the real facts behind the struggle.
Certainly, the 3 000-odd terrorists that have been killed by the Rhodesian Security Forces have all been black and it is true that the terrorists leaders are black men. But, who are the people who have supplied the weapons and training for the terrorists? What colour is their skin?
The root cause of the conflict in Rhodesia today can be traced back to the intransigence of the British Government in not allowing the de-facto Government of Rhodesia to assume its independence following the break up of the Federation of the Rhodesia’s and Nyasaland. This in spite of the fact that Southern Rhodesia "at that time was the only sector of the Federation which had a history of successful self-government and the capability of self-sustenance.
Following the Unilateral Declaration of Independence, the British Government through the offices of the United Nations declared trade and economic sanctions with the idea of breaking the country, "in a matter of weeks",, according to the then Prime Minister, Mr. Harold Wilson.
At that time, blacks and whites in Rhodesia enjoyed the same excellent social and working relationships which exists at present.
The contretemps between the British Government and the people of Rhodesia was just the opening that the Russians required to start the kind of unrest that they needed. Initially, their involvement was small. Professional agitators were sent in to subvert the local tribal Africans. Small groups of terrorists were armed and supplied with landmines and the seeds of discontent were sown in the minds of the more radical elements of the African population.
The fall of Angola to the Marxist MPLA and the establishment of Samora Machel’s Marxist government in newly independent Mozambique provided the two main stepping stones that the Kremlin required for its bid to take over the southern part of the African continent.
Whilst Botswana remained as neutral as possible under the circumstances, both Zambia and Mozambique played directly into the hands of Russia by assisting the Rhodesian terrorist forces and proclaiming that the struggle in Rhodesia was racially orientated.
The situation did not progress as fast as the Russian leaders would have liked and Rhodesia today still maintains better standards of living for the whole of the population than do any of the so-called Front Line States.
But, what has surprised the rest of the world and is an irrefutable fact, is that Rhodesia is still in a better - position financially and physically than most of the states that surround her, despite sanctions, trade embargoes and the demands of the terrorist war. More than anything else the war has demonstrated beyond all doubt how successfully black and white Rhodesians can co-operate in a joint exercise and nothing can be more inspiring than the manner in which Rhodesia's black and white Security Forces have faced their common enemy with such splendid success.
There has been very little internal strife in Rhodesia and day-to-day relationships between blacks and whites continue to be better than those in most other countries of the so-called free world, and come as a surprise to visitors to this country.
The terrorist war has increased greatly over the past two years largely through the assistance of the Botswana, Mozambican and Zambian Governments. Prior to this period, acts of terror were carried out by roving bands of terrorists who came from Zambia and returned there for re-supply. Today the story is very different and the situation on the three border areas varies according to the attitude of the governments concerned.
Botswana for many years would have nothing to do with the terrorist groups and gave no form of aid or active assistance to them. However, since the beginning of 1977, tension has increased along the border area despite repeated attempts by the Rhodesian Government to deescalate the situation there. In 1973, Sir Seretse Khama agreed to give "moral backing" to the "liberation" movements but would not allow his country to be used as a "launch-pad" for attacks on its neighbours. This statement followed a meeting between Sir Seretse and President Julius Nyerere of Tanzania in Dar es Salaam.
In December, 1976, Rhodesian Security Forces were accused of "violating the territorial sovereignty of Botswana on several occasions" by the office of the President. This was immediately denied by the Rhodesian Government who at the same time pointed out that Rhodesian Security Forces had frequently come into contact with groups of terrorists who had entered from Botswana and returned to that country after completing their missions of murder and destruction. The Rhodesian Government statement concluded with the words, "Over the years, Rhodesia has valued its good relations with Botswana and is concerned about the current deterioration in these relations".
The differences which have arisen are undoubtedly serious. There have been loss of life and destruction of property. Rhodesia considers that it is more important than ever to try to arrest this dangerous decline into confrontation and to try to resolve in discussion with the Botswana Government the means by which the present tension can be "reduced".
Following this exchange, the Botswana Government admitted that it was incapable of preventing terrorists from using the country as a springboard into Rhodesia. A spokesman for the President's Office in Gaborone said "in the past when terrorists had been found in Botswana they had been disarmed and sent to countries in the north. This will happen in the future".
However, it was just two weeks later that Rhodesian Security Forces, camped close to the border, came under attack from Botswana. At the same time Botswana had called for an urgent meeting of the United Nations Security Council, charging Rhodesia with armed aggression. The Rhodesian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. P. K. van der Byl, sent a cable on the 13th. January, 1977, to the United Nations Security Council requesting an invitation to participate in the debate in terms of Article 32 of the United Nations Charter, but no reply was forthcoming.
It is worthwhile noting that Botswana's charges of armed aggression against Rhodesia took place at the same time as a United Nations Security Council team was visiting Botswana with the object of determining the amount of aid that country would require to make up for her "problems" with Rhodesia. The team's findings were published in a 75-page report early in April, 1977, and recommended that a sum of $64,5 million should be made available "to help overcome the hardships caused by the threat from Rhodesia and the influx of Southern African refugees".On the night of 30th January, 1977, a group of ZAPU terrorists crossed from Botswana to the Manama Mission where they stole $13 000, rounded up 400 pupils and staff members and force marched them to Botswana.
Twenty-two of the pupils managed to escape from the terrorists and confirmed that they had been abducted at gunpoint. Following representations to the Botswana Government, parents of the abducted children were allowed to see them in Francistown but only 52 of the children agreed to return to Rhodesia. The general opinion amongst the parents of those who opted to stay in Botswana was that they were too frightened to say that they wanted to return to Rhodesia.
Within a week, 300 of the children had been transferred to Zambia, despite a request by the British High Commission in Gaborone that they be kept in Botswana until the situation had been fully investigated.
Zambian Government sources stated that the children were going to Zambia to join the "liberation struggle" against the Rhodesian Government. The fact that 15 of these children were killed, indicates conclusively that they did not leave Rhodesia as volunteers and objected when they discovered what their abductors had in mind for them. Further abductions have taken place from schools and missions and in most cases the children have again been taken to Zambia for "training". Frequent appeals to the British Government to intervene in these events have met" with stoney since.
On 18th February, a Police team pursued a group of terrorists who were known to have been responsible for a number of abductions and brutalities across the Botswana border. This incident provoked much comment from both Botswana and Britain with the latter stating that because the regime in Rhodesia was illegal, it had no rights, and, therefore, they (Britain) did not recognize this "hot pursuit" action as being legal.
On 23rd February, 1977, the Office of the Botswana President issued a statement accusing Rhodesia of committing 41 hostile acts against Botswana since the beginning of 1976. This list of hostilities was to be presented to a United Nations team in Botswana at the time and contained allegations of killings, arson, kidnapping and spying. This was rapidly followed by another statement from the Office of the President of Botswana announcing that Rhodesia was planning an imminent major attack on Botswana that would be tantamount to a declaration of war. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Salisbury immediately repudiated the statement and once again stated the wish of the Rhodesian Government to de-escalate the situation prevailing on the Rhodesian-Botswana border.
Local commanders of the Rhodesian forces in the area bordering Botswana have blamed the members of the Botswana Police Mobile Unit for much of the tension. There is clear evidence that the PMU is actively assisting terrorists by providing them with transport and it is no secret that travellers on the road to Francis- town have often been harassed by members of this para-military unit.
At present, however, the border remains open and road and rail traffic passes regularly between Botswana and Rhodesia. All the terrorists operating out of Botswana against Rhodesia are members of Joshua Nkomo's faction of the so-called Patriotic Front and all the abductees 'who are taken from Rhodesia into Botswana are forced to join the military wing of his ZAPU organization which is banned in Rhodesia.
The position of Botswana in the terrorist war against Rhodesia is an invidious one. The country does not have an army as such and economically is very dependent upon the Rhodesian rail link. Surrounded as it is by South Africa, and Rhodesia, and with only a tenuous border link with Zambia at Kazungula, the country would have little hope of survival if it came to an out and out confrontation with either South Africa or Rhodesia.
At the same time, as a member of the OAU and being the leader of one of the so-called Front Line States it is becoming increasingly difficult for Sir Seretse Khama to deny assistance to the terrorists operating from his country into Rhodesia without incurring the wrath of the other Front Line Presidents. He must also be aware of the increasing differences between the military wings of the Patriotic Front which were amply illustrated in the September/October 1976, edition of the "Zimbabwe Review" (International organ of the ANC of Zimbabwe). This publication drew attention to the various massacres of ANC cadres while dissent grew among them in their various training camps in Tanzania and Mozambique. It is interesting to note that this document concluded with a blistering attack on the Tanzanian Government which, it was reported, was in favour of the ZANU (Mugabe) group.
With tension between the rival military wings of the Patriotic Front still very much in evidence, and given the fact that the Mugabe wing is by far the stronger militarily, Botswana should do her utmost to return to strict neutrality before the internal conflict within the Patriotic Front flares up and causes major strife in an otherwise peaceful nation.
On 6th September, 1974, Portugal's Foreign Minister, speaking at a Press Conference in Lusaka following a further round of talks with Frelimo leader Samora Machel, stated that his government would not allow Mozambique to be used as a launching pad for terrorist attacks on Rhodesia in the transitional period prior to Mozambique's independence. "After independence, the problem would be Frelimo's," he said.
After 10 years of terrorist warfare, Mo?Mozambicans were still not happy with the idea of the new Frelimo regime and in the days that followed the announcement of the date of independence there was a great deal of unrest in the main centres.
At a Press Conference on 18th September, 1974, Mr. Joachim Chissano, Foreign Minister of Mozambique, pledged a policy of non-interference in the affairs of other countries, including Rhodesia and South Africa. This pledge was made on behalf of Frelimo.
It was not long before this statement was proved false. Just six weeks before the independence celebrations, Samora Machel predicted the downfall of the Rhodesian Government and stated that Frelimo would uphold "its international responsibilities" in relation to the "illegal white minority government" on its western border.
This statement heralded a stream of offers of foreign aid to assist in the "blockade" of Rhodesia.
Within a few months the true meaning of Machel's brand of socialism became patently obvious to those whites who had elected to stay on after independence. The University was closed so that the students could be put to work "elsewhere". Schoolchildren were told that they would have to work during their holidays and a new "secret police" unit was started to aid Frelimo in its struggle against "reactionaries".
This unit was given powers to search houses, confiscate property and arrest people who would then be sent to "rehabilitation centres". All homes were nationalized, youngsters were told to be "on standby" to join the anti-Rhodesian terrorists and unrest became evident in various parts of the country.
In the middle-of February, 1976, amidst stories of fear, famine and deprivation from refugees now flowing from Mozambique as fast as they could leave, Samora Machel threatened to mobilize 10 million people against Rhodesia in retaliation for alleged border provocations. "Mozambique," he said, "would reply to the attacks, with attacks . . . and we will not stop in Salisbury but only at the furthest limits of Zimbabwe's borders."
At the time it was thought that most of this invective was an attempt by Machel to draw attention away from the increasingly difficult situation within Mozambique itself. There was at that time a great deal of unrest within the Frelimo party and also amongst the populace as a whole.
On the morning of 27th February, 1976, 16 employees of Rhodesia Railways stationed at Malvernia were arrested by Frelimo without any given reason and following a negative response from the Government of Mozambique as to their whereabouts, all rail traffic between Rhodesia and Mozambique was halted by the Rhodesian Government.
In an impassioned speech from the Presidential palace in Maputo on 3rd March, 1976, President Machel placed Mozambique on a "war footing" with Rhodesia, closed the border and announced the construction of air-raid shelters throughout the country and the seizure of Rhodesian property. This apparently, was in retaliation for a "hot pursuit" operation undertaken the previous week by v Rhodesian Security Forces following a group of terrorists.
The Rhodesian Foreign Minister, Mr. Van der Byl, in a broadcast to all Rhodesians that night, enumerated the reasons for "hot pursuit" operations. He listed some of the more recent incidents that had occurred in the areas of Rhodesia bordering on Mozambique. They included store burnings, robbery, unprovoked cross-border shootings and indiscriminate shooting at local Africans in a hotel dance hall. These he said, were just a few of many such incidents that had taken place but the main point was that none of these incidents could have taken place without the compliance of the Mozambique Government.
In March, 1976, President Machel and a large delegation of Government and military officials paid a state visit to Moscow and by so doing, highlighted the fact that the Chinese had lost their grip to the Russians. Following this visit it became known that the last 28 000 Portuguese remaining in Mozambique would leave in the course of the next two months. Many Portuguese escaped to Rhodesia where they told stories of fear, beatings and unrest.
Acts of aggression from Mozambique continue to be the major concern of the Rhodesian Security Forces and whilst in the beginning these were mainly perpetrated by terrorists encamped in that country there is an ever-increasing display of activity by Frelimo troops.
Frequent attacks on Rhodesian border posts have taken place usually followed by announcements on Radio Maputo to the effect that Vila Salazar and other centres have been razed to the ground and vast numbers of Rhodesian Security Forces killed. To date, according to reports from Radio Maputo, most of the Rhodesian border posts have been "razed to the ground" on several occasions, the Rhodesian Air Force has been shot out of the sky many times over and Frelimo troops have valiantly repelled dozens of "major offensives".
On the other hand, the Rhodesian Government has admitted that Rhodesian Security Forces have crossed the border into Mozambique in pursuit of gangs of terrorists who have committed murder, arson, rape and mutilation, usually against the innocent black civilian population.
These cross-border operations have been carried out in accordance with internationally accepted principles to safeguard the population of Rhodesia both black and white. There are few, if any, countries in the world who have been involved in conflicts on their borders who have not taken advantage of the principle of "hot pursuit" in order to defend their populations.
However, when it is done by Rhodesian Security Forces it is labelled as an act of aggression once again showing the double standards that many governments have adopted towards Rhodesia in her struggle for survival against the communist inspired and trained forces who will never know the meaning of the word "Freedom".
This, in spite of the Rhodesian Government's frequent statements that she has no aggressive intentions towards Mozambique and, President Machel's statement of 3rd March, 1976, placing Mozambique on a "war footing" with Rhodesia.
During cross-border operations, Rhodesian Security Forces take pains to ensure that no civilians are killed and also that contact with actual Frelimo forces is avoided wherever possible. The Rhodesian Government has stated on numerous occasions that it has no aggressive intent towards Mozambique but until all terrorists have been wiped out, Rhodesian forces will reserve the right to carry out cross-border operations against terrorists operating from Mozambique and their base camps in that country in order to safeguard the civilian population of Rhodesia.
In recent months a large number of store breakings and thefts have taken place in areas immediately adjacent to the border. Many of these incidents have been carried out by Frelimo troops in conjunction with terrorists and have highlighted the stories of shortages and starvation in Mozambique. In the first six months of this year there were 102 incidents which involved Frelimo troops ranging from those previously described to rocket attacks on Umtali and the theft of cattle and vehicles.
There have been also many reports recently of dissent in various provinces of Mozambique and the government of that country has also admitted that its economy is near collapse.
This situation was confirmed and highlighted by a United Nations survey which disclosed that Mozambique was unable to provide more than 7,5 per cent, of the population's needs in terms of many essential foods. The survey quoted the country's maize crop for 1977 as totalling 40 000 tonnes (annual requirement 150 000 tonnes) and only 22 000 tonnes of wheat was available instead of 125 000 tonnes. On the financial side, the report stated that the accumulated State Budget Deficit was expected to be US.$ 110 million by the end of 1977, with a projected expenditure for the year of US.$350 million. The report went on to say that the country's total public sector debt was estimated at US.$101 million for 1977 while the balance of payments deficit was expected to run to more than US.$228 million, excluding proceeds from gold sales. All this becoming more critical in 1978 since the country has no significant foreign exchange reserves.
It is worth noting that Mr. Robert Mugabe has stated that should he come to power in Rhodesia he would install a Frelimo- type government—the results would probably be the same as exist in Mozambique today.
Following regular acts of terrorism emanating from Zambia, the Rhodesian Government closed all Rhodesian border posts with that country on 9th January, 1973. This action was taken following repeated warnings to the Zambian Government. Whilst the border posts were closed to road and rail traffic, Rhodesian officials at these posts were given certain discretion in regard to persons travelling in passenger vehicles as there was no intention to interfere, in general, with international travellers.
Later that month. Zambian troops fired on Rhodesian Security Forces from the north bank of the Zambezi River.
On 4th February following the receipt of "certain messages" from the Zambian Government the Rhodesian Government re-opened these border posts but, simultaneously, the Zambian border posts were closed. On 9th February two civilians in a fishing boat on the Rhodesian side of the Zambezi River were shot by Zambian army fire directed at them from the north bank of the river. One of them was killed whilst the other was seriously injured.
Many reports were received from the Chirundu border that despite the customs and immigration authorities on the Zambian side of the border being willing to let some vehicles through, they were continually being overruled by the Zambian soldiers stationed there.
In the months following, it became increasingly evident that the Zambian army held the whip hand over civilian officials at the border posts.
On 18th February, a United Nations Security Council special mission studying the Zambia/Rhodesia border crisis was told by the Tanzanian Prime Minister, Mr. Rashidi Kawana, that Rhodesia was likely to intensify military, economic and political aggression against Zambia. This was clearly another attempt by a Marxist regime to fan the flames of discord between the two countries.
Rhodesia closed her borders with Zambia once again on 26th February following the seizure of a Rhodesian Railways employee on the Victoria Falls Bridge. He had been in the process of moving a defective engine from the bridge at the time of his arrest. Shortly after this, an elderly German couple were arrested by Zambian troops while sightseeing on the bridge between the two countries.
Following the border closure, Zambia started appealing for vast amounts of aid to make up for the costs of establishing new trade routes.
On 15th May, 1973, Zambian troops stationed on the north bank of the Zambezi opened fire on a party of tourists who were walking along the river bank on the Rhodesian side of the fourth gorge. Two of the tourists, both young Canadian girls, one of whom was wearing a bathing costume, were killed in the shooting and an American man was injured. This incident served better than any other to show that the regular shooting across the river was in no way accidental. Despite the allegations that they had been on their way to attack the power station, the nature of their attire and the fact that they were unarmed would have constrained any troops not as poorly disciplined as the Zambians.
Further border incidents perpetrated by the Zambian army continued until February, 1974, when Zambian troops were with¬drawn from their positions both at the Victoria Falls border area and the north bank of the Kariba dam wall. At the same time, President Kenneth Kaunda took over the portfolio of Minister of Defence in an apparent attempt to halt the series of incidents which had occurred.
However, this move met with limited success and shootings started again in May with the death of a Rhodesian policeman who was shot when the patrol launch he was in was a mere 20 metres from the Rhodesian shoreline and some 600 metres from the Zambian shore.
On 14th September, 1974, BSAP patrol boats which were well within Rhodesian waters were fired upon by Zambian forces, and the following week a group of terrorists attempting to escape to Zambia were ambushed by Rhodesian Security Forces. An African District Assistant who had been abducted by the group was freed in the same action.
On 1st October, 1974, a group of terrorists crossed from Zambia into Rhodesia in the region of Chirundu, murdered two BSAP constables and then returned to Zambia. Three days later on the 4th, terrorists attacked a Rhodesian Security Forces camp in the upper reaches of Lake Kariba, wounding three men and then returning to Zambia. The following day another BSAP patrol boat within Rhodesian waters was fired upon by Zambian forces.
On 25th November, 1974, Rhodesian Security Forces in the Kazungula area were fired upon, several times, by Zambian forces.
Several rounds of Zambian mortar fire were observed to land in adjoining Botswana territory, as frequently has been the case on more recent occasions.
After this incident, there were few direct acts of aggression by Zambian forces for over 18 months, although terrorist incursions continued at a high level, and then, on 8th August, 1976, the boom upstream of the Kariba dam wall broke adrift and drifted on to the Zambian bank. Permission was received from the Zambian authorities to retrieve the boom and accordingly a Central African Power Corporation (CAPCO) launch was dispatched for the task. It was retrieved without incident but as the launch was returning with the boom in tow, a vehicle arrived on the Zambian shore from which six or eight uniformed men embarked. They took cover on the Zambian shore, then fired between 50 and 60 rounds at the launch which sustained two hits but no injuries to its passengers.
On 18th September, a BSAP Detective Patrol Officer was shot dead and two of his companions seriously wounded when their boat, which was well within Rhodesian waters, was fired upon by Zambian troops on the Zambezi River.
On 16th May, 1977, the Rhodesian Prime Minister, Mr. Ian Smith, sent a message to British Foreign Affairs Minister, Dr. David Owen, about the build up of ZANU terrorists on the Zambian border and their known intention to launch attacks on Rhodesia. The Prime Minister warned that if these attacks should develop, Rhodesia, in the interests of her security, might have no alternative but to mount preemptive strikes across the border at the terrorist bases. Pointing out his readiness to co-operate fully in the peace initiative, the Prime Minister stated that the climate for this would be seriously impaired if there should be an escalation of terrorist incursions from Zambia.
Dr. Owen accordingly delivered this message to the Zambian Prime Minister whilst adding his own warning of the possible results of the escalation of the fighting by either side.
The result of this exchange was that on 16th February President Kaunda announced that Zambia was in "a state of war" with Rhodesia and that his army had been placed on full alert.
Reports emanating from Zambia at this time stated that the country was full of internal strife and dissension and it is noteworthy that previously such reports have always been followed closely by militant posturings and allegations of expected aggression against the Rhodesian Government in order to divert the attention of factions away from their immediate political aims.
Since that time, there have been many acts of aggression by Zambian troops against Rhodesia. Kariba, Victoria Falls, Chirundu and Kazungula have all been attacked by mortar, rockets and small arms fire, and the latter, on Sunday, 30th October, 1977, was subjected to an unprovoked attack lasting for more than 22 hours. Most of these acts of aggression have been totally ineffective but the Marxist press has frequently stated that they have inflicted heavy casualties, destroyed many buildings and even at one point said that Kariba had been evacuated.
Recent observations show that Zambian troops have been digging trenches and fortifications at many of their usual "confrontation points" along the border.
The reasons for these unprovoked acts of aggression on the part of the Zambian forces are not difficult to elucidate. Kenneth Kaunda is desperately trying to prop up his sagging authority and ailing economy, and hopes that by creating imaginary incidents and emergencies he can distract attention from the internal problems of Zambia—and thus perhaps give his dissatisfied and disillusioned people a sense of national unity. Hence the attempts of his troops, who deliberately try to provoke incidents, whilst "black-outs" in four urban centres are intended to give the impression of imminent air-raids and other attacks.
However, the steady deterioration of Zambia's economy, brought about by sheer inefficiency, corruption, idleness and the virtual collapse of the world copper price, has brought Kaunda face to face with reality. Nationalization of key industries has failed; shortages of basic commodities, import problems and shortage of foreign exchange, are all contributing factors to this ever-growing state of affairs.
In consequence, there is a backlash among the black elite, a growing opposition to Kaunda and his Government from the grass-root level, and this position has been confused by an old opponent of Kaunda's, Simon Kapwepwe, who has re-joined the ruling UNIP, apparently on his own terms. What these will be no one as yet knows, but it certainly is unlikely to be a passive one, and having spent four years in the "wilderness", it is hard to* believe he suddenly has the urge to come to the assistance of his arch-rival, Kaunda.
On top of all this, there is thought to be a candidate, backed by the top businessmen in Zambia, to stand as a candidate against Kaunda for the presidency of UNIP. Kaunda is reported to be desperate in the face of these threats and the deterioration of Zambia's economy.
By making improbable accusations against Rhodesia Kaunda hopes he can distract attention from his internal failures, and under the guise of taking precautions against supposed threats from Rhodesia, he hopes he can take the more urgent precautions against a real threat against himself from within Zambia.
He can invite Nigerian troops to join the Cuban presence — not large as yet, but larger than necessary for its ostensible purpose of training Joshua Nkomo's ZAPU terrorists. He can restrict people and call for black-outs in urban centres. All ostensibly because of Rhodesia, but actually to secure his own future.
He knows that the West must see through his actions—but will never condemn him. And as his moves suit their declared purpose of bringing down Rhodesia, they may even encourage and support him.
He can also be sure of support from the Soviet Ambassador in Lusaka, master-minding the Communist strategy for Southern Africa. Kaunda's war cries are music to his ears.
But Zambians are worried. They do not really want a war. Rhodesia has no aggressive intentions, and they know it. And they wonder if Kaunda's war will benefit anyone in Zambia except himself.
What happens if Joshua Nkomo's ZAPU does not come to power in Rhodesia in the end? Kaunda's partisan attitude to Nkomo has ensured that every other black Rhodesian leader is ill-disposed towards them.
And how are the "freedom fighters" of ZAPU, and the Marxists to be got rid of?
There is a growing feeling that the only sure way might be to get rid of President Kaunda—before it is too late.
Whilst aggressive acts on all three borders are equally serious it is possible that Botswana is the least willing partner to the terrorists. Her government has stated that she is incapable of preventing terrorists from using her border areas as a base for their incursions, against Rhodesia owing to the fact that she has only got a very small para-military force at her disposal. She is also highly dependent upon her Rhodesian road and rail links for transport of her goods and a large part of the country's income is derived from transport charges levied upon goods passing to and from Rhodesia. On the other hand, as one of the so-called "Front Line States" she must bow to her stronger partners, all of whom have militant attitudes towards Rhodesia.
Zambia, on the other hand, has at least over the past three years, made little or no pretence of anything but aggressive intent toward Rhodesia and has always been closely aligned with Joshua Nkomo's ZAPU terrorist forces to which it gives every assistance.
However, it is possible, if not probable, that Kaunda has adopted this attitude towards Rhodesia with the object of bolstering his sagging authority in Zambia rather than from any desire to destroy this country, which he must realize would not help him to get over his own increasing internal difficulties and problems but on the contrary enormously increase them.
Mozambique is a declared enemy of Rhodesia and aligns herself with Robert Mugabe's ZANU forces. Samora Machel has trouble in his country as most of his promises of the idyllic Socialist/Marxist state have come to nothing and there is wide dissent within the country. This is increasing all the time and there have been many reports of armed groups attacking Frelimo bases and prison camps in many areas. Food is so scarce that the country is starving and there appears to be little hope of an improvement in the production of foodstuffs in the near future. Machel has started trying to entice many of the Portuguese who have left the country to return, since he has come to realize that the country is in chaos without them. His efforts so far have been to no avail and his constant appeals for aid show the problems he now faces.
Rhodesian forces have crossed the borders of Botswana and Mozambique and the Rhodesian Government has never attempted to deny this fact. Instructions to forces engaged on these cross- border operations have, however, been strict. “The enemy is the terrorist, not the military forces of the other country or the civilian population and damage to anything but terrorists' camps and property is to be kept to the absolute minimum." Any other nation of the world engaging in cross-border operations is praised for its tenacity but Rhodesia is accused of "open aggression".
Rhodesia and Rhodesians have for a long time now been bombarded with a wide variety of propaganda largely based on material gleaned from people and sources with little or no knowledge of the true situation. But statements, comments and reports emanating from the so-called "Front-line States" in recent weeks indicate a new line of attack on Rhodesia.
These recent statements would all appear to be aimed at sowing the seeds of civil war within Rhodesia, by denigrating anything said by any of the better known black Rhodesians who appear to be in favour of a negotiated settlement.
Whilst pretending accord in their purpose, the rank and file of ZAPU and ZANU terrorists operating within Rhodesia have received orders to kill each other when they meet. This has been verified by the recent discoveries of bodies of members of both factions who died in inter-faction fights in the south-west of Rhodesia.
However, on the other side of the coin, more and more of the black leaders are emphasizing the necessity of working together for the benefit of Rhodesia as a whole instead of the "setting up" of one or other particular leader to hold the reins of power.
Accusations by the Presidents of the Front-line States that Rhodesia is planning a major offensive against their respective countries are becoming more frequent. But, as before, it is more than probable that these accusations are being made in order to cover up the internal difficulties that they are having within their own borders and also in the hope that yet again they will be supplied with aid to prop up their devastated economies.
The British have made no attempt to prevent or even discourage the acts of aggression described above.
On the contrary, ever since the "Kissinger Proposals" were accepted in principle last year, Rhodesia has also been subjected to aggression of a different and less tangible nature by the Socialist regime in Britain and by the Carter administration in U.S.A., after their assumption of office in early 1977.
The Geneva Conference, called with the avowed intention of planning the implementation of the Kissinger proposals, was reduced to a political farce when Mr. Ivor Richard (the British appointed Chairman) paying little attention to anyone but the Patriotic Front delegates failed even to get down to the real purpose of the meeting — let alone to reach any decision.
The settlement terms presented to the Rhodesian Government by Mr. Richard, after the failure of the Geneva Conference bore little, if any, resemblance to the original Kissinger proposals and were — not surprisingly — rejected by the Rhodesian Government.
Mr. Smith's subsequent attempts to arrange an internal settlement were largely frustrated and hindered by the so-called Anglo- American initiative which commenced to operate shortly after Mr. Richard's failure.
This "initiative" apparently consisted in the main of endless meetings and discussions with various African Governments — most of whom, if not all, had no proper concern with Rhodesia's internal affairs — and, apart from the South African Republic, were unlikely to have any real influence on the situation.
Various Rhodesian African Nationalist leaders were also consulted; but not, be it noted, the Rhodesian Government itself — the other principal concerned.
The Anglo-American manoeuvres culminated on 1st September, 1977, in Dr. Owens presentation to the Rhodesian Government of the "British Proposals for a Settlement", together with a Statement issued by Dr. Owen in Salisbury on the same day — apparently without any reference to the Government here.
It was by no means clear if these British proposals were negotiable or not; but various official inquiries about this and other relevant matters have not been answered by the British to date.
However, if these proposals are not negotiable; then it is quite clear that they amount in effect to a demand for "unconditional surrender" and certainly bear no relation whatsoever to the original Kissinger proposals, accepted in principle by Mr. Smith last year.
In view of all this, it would appear that the real "object of the exercise" was and is to "sink" Mr. Smith and to humiliate the present Rhodesian Government and remove them from office, regardless of the consequences. And idea of achieving a settlement calculated to maintain and improve the welfare and happiness of the Rhodesian people, of all races, and to restore peace and prosperity to this country is very much of a secondary consideration — if indeed such an idea exists at all in the minds of the British and American politicians involved!
Since the above was written it has just been learned that, on the afternoon of the 2nd November, 1977, the Elephant Hills Country Club Hotel, near Victoria Falls, was hit by a rocket fired from the Zambian side of the border.
By great good fortune there were no casualties; but the hotel was extensively damaged.
It appears that the rocket was actually fired at a civilian aircraft flying in Rhodesian air space in the vicinity of Victoria Falls.
One of the passengers, Mr. Lief Bjorseth, an American tourist, said that the rocket which he observed coming from Zambia, passed about 30 metres below them before hitting the hotel.
Whether or not this rocket was actually aimed at the aircraft is not known, but this act of war once again reveals a complete lack of responsibility and regard for human life and property on the part of the Zambian authorities.
Even they must realize that "what goes up must come down".
This attack has brought a strong warning to Zambia from the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. van der Byl, "that it was the duty of any responsible government to safeguard the lives of its people".-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Re-compiled by Eddy Norris, from a booklet that was produced by the Rhodesian Government in the 1970's.
Booklet was made available to ORAFs by Diarmid Smith. Thank you Diarmid
Labels: Aggression. Rhodesia. Booklet