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Nairobi, Kenya
I an ex member of both 7 and 8 Squadron's of the Rhodesian war spending most of my operational time on Seven Squadron as a K Car gunner. I was credited for shooting down a fixed wing aircraft from a K Car on the 9 August 1979. This blog is from articles for research on a book which I HAVE HANDED THIS MANUSCRIPT OVER TO MIMI CAWOOD WHO WILL BE HANDLING THE PUBLICATION OF THE BOOK OF WHICH THERE WILL BE VERY LIMITED COPIES AVAILABLE Contact her on yebomimi@gmail.com The latest news is that the Editing is now done and we can expect to start sales and deliveries by the end of April 2011

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Sunday, August 17, 2008


TIME MAGAZINE 09/10/1978
The U.S. and Britain must try to halt the Rhodesian slaughter

"We will win in Rhodesia. But you can help us shorten the war." With those words, Tanzania's President Julius Nyerere urged the U.S. and Britain to renew and strengthen their efforts to bring peace to Rhodesia. The call came against a backdrop of increasingly violent warfare in that embattled country, where Cuban-trained black nationalist guerrillas are now using Soviet-supplied mortars, armor-piercing machine guns and heat-seeking antiaircraft missiles to battle Rhodesian forces equipped with helicopters, heavy artillery and Belgian automatic weapons. More than 1,000 soldiers and civilians died in September's fighting, about the same number as during the first eight months of the year. Two weeks ago, Rhodesian troops staged a four-day raid into Mozambique, killing hundreds of guerrillas in training and staging camps. The incursion could lure Cuban advisers stationed there into a more active role in the fighting.

As the battlefield toll mounted, hopes for a negotiated transition to black majority rule dimmed. The secret contacts in Zambia through which Rhodesian Prime Minister Ian Smith had hoped to persuade Guerrilla Leader Joshua Nkomo to join the multiracial interim government collapsed last month, after Smith accused Nkomo's men of slaughtering ten defenseless survivors from a civilian passenger plane shot down by the guerrillas. Discouraged U.S. diplomats conceded that the massacre had also dealt an all but fatal blow to the joint British-American plan for a peaceful Rhodesian settlement. As Nkomo has recently warned, "The only way left is war."

That ominous prophecy worries no one more than Nyerere. As elder statesman of the five black "frontline states" (Tanzania, Mozambique, Zambia, Angola and Botswana) that want to erase the last vestiges of white rule in southern Africa, Nyerere's support for efforts to bring peace to the area is pivotal. Because of Nyerere's staunch support for liberation movements, Smith has unfairly dubbed him "the evil genius on the Rhodesian scene." That sobriquet overstates Nyerere's influence with the guerrillas; it also fails to convey the Tanzanian leader's desire for peace.

In an interview with TIME Nairobi Bureau Chief David Wood last week, Nyerere called on the U.S. and Britain to make an all-out effort to bring Smith to the bargaining table. Said Nyerere: "You Americans have power. Don't use it to support that regime. Put your weight behind liberation." Without such a peace initiative, Nyerere warned, Rhodesia could be headed for an Angola-style civil war between rival nationalists. The end result: a new Zimbabwe that might be far more repressive than present-day Rhodesia.
This gloomy prospect arises because of ideological and tactical disputes between the two wings of the nationalist Patriotic Front—Nkomo's Zimbabwe African People's Union and the Zimbabwe African National Union led by Marxist Robert Mugabe. As more of the Rhodesian countryside falls to the rebels, squabbling over territory could easily flare into fighting. Efforts by Nyerere and other front-line leaders to heal the breach have been to no avail. "We have been working to get them to build a single army, but we have failed,'' admitted Nyerere with a sigh. "What I fear is the possibility that once Smith is out and there is no single army and single authority, then really we can be in trouble. The nationalists have not been very helpful—to themselves, to the future of Zimbabwe —by encouraging a civil war.''

Nyerere believes that this tragic black-against-black conflict—with a built-in potential for interference by outside powers—can be averted by reviving the Anglo-American peace plan. Mugabe and Nkomo have agreed to the proposal, but Smith has not. In essence, the plan calls for Britain to reassert its legal authority over its rebel colony—which unilaterally declared its independence in 1965—as a prelude to holding elections for a new Zimbabwean government. A U.N. peace-keeping force would guarantee a truce until the creation of a unified Zimbabwe army, composed of guerrillas and "acceptable elements" of the Rhodesian armed forces. "You have specific proposals here that one side had accepted, and there is tremendous international support for them," said Nyerere. "Now let's try a little bit of shuttling. We want to know what Smith thinks, what proposals he has accepted. We want the Americans and British to sell peace proposals to Smith, to put pressure on him."

The key word is pressure. Nyerere believes Smith will get down to serious bargaining only after he is convinced that "he cannot count on support from the U.S. and Britain." Two recent events, however, may have reassured Smith that in the final pinch the West will come to his aid: 1) a recent congressional attempt to require the U.S. to lift sanctions against Rhodesia by the end of 1978; and 2) disclosures that past British governments looked the other way when oil companies violated a ban on petroleum shipments to Rhodesia. Nyerere professes to be unconcerned about the past. "The international community can see what's been happening. I leave it to them whether they've contributed to the war, to the killing. I'm more interested in the future. I want to know what they are going to do with the Anglo-American proposals."
If the Anglo-American effort is resumed, Nyerere cautioned, the U.S. and Britain must not underestimate the wiliness of the Rhodesian Prime Minister. Said Nyerere: "Everyone who has assumed that Smith is a fool, Smith has taken in. [Prime Minister Harold] Wilson tried to be clever with Smith, and he failed. [Secretary of State Henry] Kissinger tried to be clever with Smith, and he failed too. Don't try to be clever with Smith. Deal with him on the ground he has chosen: power. Gather power and overthrow him." Then, as the warm winds ruffled the coconut palms at his ocean-front home near Dar es Salaam, Nyerere raised a grim alternative. "Otherwise." he said, "we are left only with the fighting. We will back the nationalists and fight to the end. We have no choice."

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I welcome comments from everyone on my book Choppertech.
I am interested especially on hearing from former ZANLA and ZIPRA combatants who also have thier story to tell.