When Rhodies wanted to ride on the back of Africans


SIMPLY put the Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI) was a process in which a white minority made it clear that blacks, the rightful owners of the land, would not self-rule, would be exploited without recourse to justice and whites would prosper riding the backs of Africans.
The declaration had its basis in 1961 when the then Southern Rhodesia Government and Britain negotiated a constitution that would be used as a basis for granting the colony independence.
Rhodesian whites argued that since the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland would soon break up, Zambia and Malawi would be granted independence, Southern Rhodesia also had to be granted the same status. The Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, also known as the Central African Federation (CAF), was a semi-independent federation of three southern African territories – the self-governing British colony of Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and the British protectorates of Northern Rhodesia (Zambia) and Nyasaland (Malawi) – between 1953 and 1963.
At that time, the self-governing British colony of Southern Rhodesia was ruled by the United Federal Party led by Sir Edgar Whitehead.
But the proposals of the 1961 Constitution led to the rise and coming to the fore of white radicals who were not impressed by the idea of having Africans gradually come into Government.
The Constitution proposed that the whites would have 50 seats in Parliament of 65 MPs while blacks would be 15 .
Blacks would eventually reach parity when the number of those ‘educated’ and those with immovable property would match that of whites.
At that time, those who were optimistic put 80 years as a minimum when that would be reached.
Ian Smith put it at 1000 years.
However, it was those who governed (the whites) who would determine the rate at which Africans would progress.
The idea of blacks eventually reaching parity with whites was unacceptable to rightwing whites.
Blacks were not to be brought into governance in any capacity, even a token representation was anathema to them.
Rhodesia was for the white minority only.
Thus white extremists from parties that included members of the rabid racist Dominion Party, led by white supremacist William Harper, formed a coalition that saw the birth of the Rhodesia Front (RF).
The RF, formed in March 1962 by the whites opposed to anything and everything black and deeply loathing black majority rule, won power in the general election that December. 
The RF was led by Winston Field then.
This was a strong message that whites had been hardened and would not be relinquishing power to the black majority.
Immediately the whites’ war-cry was ‘independence now’.
The party was made up of farmers, miners and businessmen who were making loads of cash exploiting blacks and the country’s natural resources.
And they wanted to exploit the country and its people without outside interference.
But Britain vacillated, appearing not eager to grant the colony ‘independence’.
And the white radicals pressured Field to declare independence, even if it meant unilaterally.
When they found Field displaying less enthusiasm to declare independence from Britain, members of his party removed him from power in 1964.
Many thought that the uncompromising and intelligent racist Harper would assume leadership.
But this Rhodie who called for the adoption of ‘a form of political apartheid’ lost out to Ian Douglas Smith, who would move him to the Ministry of Internal Affairs where he acquitted himself ‘well’ causing horrendous damage to Africans.
The brooding Smith was as bad as they came, declaring that majority rule would not be achieved – ‘not in a thousand years’.
Writer Peter Baxter romantically describes Smith as ‘the warrior of Rhodesia and the enfante terrible of the British family of statesmen’.
What hogwash!
He was no warrior for blacks, who were said to ‘love’ him by the writer and he remained the darling of the British; the threats against him by the Crown were cheap politicking.
As soon as he got into power, he intensified calls for ‘independence’ from Britain.
The then British Premier Harold Wilson made so much noise and threats against the intentions of Smith to declare independence.
Blacks even felt relieved that the British opposed ‘vehemently’ the move by Smith to declare independence but would soon learn that this was just a loud bark that would not be accompanied by any biting.
When Wilson made it clear Britain would not take military action against Southern Rhodesia upon an illegal unilateral declaration of independence, Smith went ahead to declare on November 11 1965.
The Rhodesian crew, including Smith, had fought for the British during the Second World War and there was no way Britain would attack its kith and kin, who had served alongside them in many battles.
If the Rhodesians had not been of British descent, then Britain would have taken military action.
That is exactly what they did during the Falklands War, which was a 10-week war between Argentina and the United Kingdom over two British overseas territories in the South Atlantic; the Falkland Islands and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands.
On April 2 1982, Argentina had occupied the Falkland Islands declaring their independence from Britain.
On April 5, the British Government dispatched a naval task force to engage the Argentine Navy and Air Force before making an amphibious assault on the islands.
The conflict lasted 74 days and ended with the Argentine surrender on June 14 1982, returning the islands to British control. 
The UDI stayed, the famous talks grandly dubbed the ‘Fearless’ talks aboard the British navy assault ship ‘Fearless’ and  HMS Tiger, to make Smith see reason were nothing but a show to appease the furious blacks.
They did not yield results; it took the gun to dislodge the Ian Smith regime.


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