REVELATIONS RE RHODESIA FROM 1978 ARCHIVES
KEN FLOWER A `DOUBLE AGENT' AND HICKMAN A WOULD-BE `TURNCOAT'
At last, when most adult and middle-aged Rhodesians who lived through the eventual political and military turbulance of a bush war at the climax of the Rhodesian crisis - which began with Smith's UDI in November 1965 - are dead, I have lived to hear Matthew Parris and David Owen confirm what we `white liberals' suspected, but would not have dared to suggest. Ken Flower, the CIO boss and the military man, Col. John Hickman were no friends of Ian Smith, although at the time, this was not well known.
The opening up of new files (1978) at the British national archives has enabled these sensitive secrets to move into the public domain.
Martha Carney's UK Confidential programme on Radio 4 hosted two men (why never any women, Martha?) who were involved in Rhodesia's history in one way or another. She gave space to Lord Owen (Dr David Owen, the former British Foreign Secretary, as we white liberals knew him when we met him in Rhodesia in 1978), and Matthew Parris (whose mother Terry was partially responsible for setting me on my political path in Rhodesia in 1966). The program was given advance notice of these archival revelations and my ears were bent firmly towards the radio, only to hear mighty little of Rhodesia's history other than the features outlined here, but it was enough. Speculation has given way to documented proof.
Researching through the few books I was able to bring with me into exile in England I find that Godwin and Hancock's " `Rhodesians Never Die' " (Oxford, 1993) were aware of these little hidden truths and gave them their first airing, but with some caution.
I never met Hickman although my husband was at school with his rival, General Peter Walls and knew him well as a boy). But we were friendly with Ken Flower in a careful sort of way (we played tennis on his Hoggerty Hill tennis court, but never discussed politics). His daughter will forgive me for this commentary because she probably knows that I was among those who persuaded her late father to write his memoir `Serving Secretly' about his work as a top man in Rhodesia's Central Intelligence Organization who went on to serve Bishop Muzorewa and eventually Robert Mugabe. (He died before this latter individual turned really nasty). My favourite story about Ken is of how I met up with him during the Independence party to host Prince Charles at Government House in Rhodesia in 1980. He and Emerson Mnangagwa were a little tiddly, to use a polite expression, and were hanging on to a tent pole in a great Marquee, reminiscing over their top security roles on either side of the Liberation Struggle. I boldly asked if they would help me to have access to their files so that I could write more biographies of the leading lights among the political and military of Zanu PF and ZANLA.
They fell about laughing, clutching the tent pole. I don't remember which it was but one of them gasped "We got a lot of our information from your published Whos Who!"
Ah well, so much for all that and God rest you, dear Ken Flower.
- Beaver Shaw
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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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