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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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Thursday, July 29, 2010

TIME ON GENERAL PETER WALLS

None of Robert Mugabe's appointments better illustrated his theme of reconciliation than his request that Lieut. General Peter Walls, 53, stay on as Zimbabwe Rhodesia's Senior Military Commander. The crusty Sandhurst graduate, who has spent much of the past seven years fighting the guerrillas, agreed to preside over the crucial task of integrating the armies of Mugabe and Joshua Nkomo into the regular Rhodesian security forces. Last week General Walls outlined his commitment to this assignment in an interview with TIME Johannesburg Bureau Chief William McWhirter. Excerpts:

Q. Don't you find it strange presiding over an army with guerrillas you fought against?

A. Throughout my career as a soldier, I've found myself in some pretty strange positions. If you're any good as a soldier, you cope with them. I've always been open-minded about the people we fought against, and I can get along with any group that shows me the same kind of good will as I try to show toward them.

Q. How do you begin to form a national army?

A. I don't think three armies have ever been brought together like this. The starting point was the Prime Minister's theme of reconciliation on the day of victory, which, there was the calm that prevailed after the election results, which, I guarantee, nobody expected.
Even the atmosphere of our first integration committee meeting was bloody good. Right then I thought, hell, there are going to be some terrific difficulties, but if the people here say we're going to overcome them and make it work, then we will succeed.
We will start immediately by getting the guerrillas out of the cease-fire assembly camps and putting dissidents and auxiliaries alleged to be misbehaving into those camps. We have joint planning groups going through selection and demobilization of the people in the camps. Another group is examining ways to get the external guerrilla forces back into the country and dealing with questions like whether or not to disarm them before they return. We are also looking into ways of making it attractive for some to go back to "civvie street" be cause there is no way a country of this size can absorb all of its present security forces country all of the present guerrilla forces inside and outside the country—that by some estimates could total 100,000 men.

Q. How much tension remains among the forces?
A. People wouldn't be human if they didn't have some reservations and remain on their guard. This sort of suspicion and distrust exists in some form or another in all three of the forces. It's the kind of problem that we have to take into account, but beat.

Q. Has this had any effect on your white officers?
A. Some have given notice that they are leaving, but others have said it's worked out better than they thought. I personally know of a few officers who have withdrawn their resignations and are staying on. If we get cracking in a positive and energetic way, there won't be much of a problem.
Q. What about your own future?

A. Right now I've got a job to do, serving the country and people I genuinely believe are the best in the world. Whatever way the cards fall, I'll play them.