The Lancaster House Agreement, signed on 21 December 1979, declared a ceasefire, ending the Rhodesian Bush War; and directly led to the creation and recognition of the Republic of Zimbabwe. It required the imposition of direct British rule, nullifying Rhodesia’s 1965 Unilateral Declaration of Independence. British governance would be strictly proscribed to the duration of a proposed election period; after which independence would follow. Crucially, the political wings of the black nationalist groups ZANU and ZAPU, who had been waging the escalating, and increasingly violent insurgency, would be permitted to stand candidates in the forthcoming elections. This was however conditional to compliance with the ceasefire and the verified absence of voter intimidation.
The Agreement would lead to the dissolution of the unrecognised state of Zimbabwe Rhodesia, created months earlier by the Internal Settlement; an agreement forged between moderate black nationalists and Prime Minister Ian Smith's Government. While Zimbabwe-Rhodesia remained unrecognised, the Internal Settlement enfranchised the majority of blacks (hitherto the key British demand) and resulted in the election of the country's first black Prime Minister.
Lancaster House covered the Independence Constitution, pre-independence arrangements and the terms of ceasefire. The Agreement is named after Lancaster House in London, where the parties interested to the settlement attended the conference on independence from 10 September to 15 December 1979.
The parties represented during the conference were: the British Government, the Patriotic Front led by Robert Mugabe and Joshua Nkomo, ZAPU (Zimbabwe African Peoples Union) and ZANU (Zimbabwe African National Union) and the Zimbabwe Rhodesia Government, represented by the Prime Minister, Bishop Abel Muzorewa, and Ian Smith, minister without portfolio.
Following the Meeting of Commonwealth Heads of Government held in Lusaka from 1–7 August 1979, the British government invited Muzorewa and the leaders of the Patriotic Front to participate in a Constitutional Conference at Lancaster House. The purpose of the Conference was to discuss and reach agreement on the terms of an Independence Constitution, to agree on the holding of elections under British authority, and to enable Zimbabwe Rhodesia to proceed to lawful and internationally recognised independence, with the parties settling their differences by political means.
Lord Carrington, Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary of the United Kingdom, chaired the Conference.The conference took place from 10 September–15 December 1979 with 47 plenary sessions.
In the course of its proceedings the conference reached agreement on the following issues:
In concluding this agreement and signing its report, the parties undertook:
Under the Independence Constitution agreed, 20 per cent of the seats in the country's parliament were to be reserved for whites. This provision remained in the constitution until 1987.
The agreement as signed on 21 December 1979.Lord Carrington and Sir Ian Gilmour signed the Agreement on behalf of the United Kingdom, Bishop Abel Muzorewa and Dr Silas Mundawarara signed for the Government of Zimbabwe Rhodesia, and Robert Mugabe and Joshua Nkomo for the Patriotic Front.
Under the terms of the Agreement, Zimbabwe Rhodesia temporarily reverted to its former status as the Colony of Southern Rhodesia, thereby ending the rebellion caused by Rhodesia's Unilateral Declaration of Independence. Lord Soames was appointed Governor with full executive and legislative powers.
In terms of the ceasefire, ZAPU and ZANU guerillas were to gather at designated Assembly Points under British supervision, following which elections were to be held to elect a new government. These elections were held in February 1980, and resulted in the Zimbabwe African National Union - Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) led by Robert Mugabe winning a majority of seats. Independence in terms of the Constitution agreed to at Lancaster House was granted to Zimbabwe on 18 April 1980 with Robert Mugabe as the first Prime Minister.
In addition to the terms cited above, Robert Mugabe and his supporters were pressured into agreeing to wait ten years before instituting land reform.[ citation needed ]
The three-month-long conference almost failed to reach an accord due to disagreements on land reform. Mugabe was pressured to sign, and land was the key stumbling block.[ citation needed ] Both the British and American governments offered to compensate white citizens for any land sold so as to aid reconciliation (the "Willing buyer, Willing seller" principle), and a fund was established to operate from 1980 to 1990.[ citation needed ]
In 1980 the first phase of land reform, partly funded by the United Kingdom, resettled around 70,000 landless people on more than 20,000 km² of land in the new Zimbabwe.
In 1981 the British assisted in setting up a Zimbabwe conference on reconstruction and development, at which more than £630 million of international aid was pledged.
In 1997 war veterans began receiving individual personal payments of ZW$50,000 each for their service in the war, costing the nation's tax payers billions of dollars and depleting government coffers. Then some months later Robert Mugabe announced the forced acquisition of land under Section 8 would proceed, and within 24 hours the local currency had devalued more than 50% and thus began the hyperinflation and demonetisation of Zimbabwean currency and the "Flights of Whites" from the country, most never to return.
In the time since independence, the Lancaster House Agreement was modified and changed more than 27 times according to a Zimbabwe independent newspaper.
The politics of Zimbabwe takes place in a framework of a full presidential republic, whereby the President is the head of state and government as organized by the 2013 Constitution. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and parliament. The status of Zimbabwean politics has been thrown into question by a 2017 coup.
The Gukurahundi was a series of massacres of Ndebele civilians carried out by the Zimbabwe National Army from early 1983 to late 1987. It derives from a Shona language term which loosely translates to "the early rain which washes away the chaff before the spring rains".
Ian Douglas Smith was a politician, farmer, and fighter pilot who served as Prime Minister of Rhodesia from 1964 to 1979. He was the country's first premier not born abroad, and led the predominantly white government that unilaterally declared independence from the United Kingdom in November 1965, following prolonged dispute over the terms. He remained Prime Minister for almost all of the 14 years of international isolation that followed, and oversaw Rhodesia's security forces during most of the Bush War, which pitted the unrecognised administration against communist-backed black nationalist guerrilla groups. Smith, who has been described as personifying white Rhodesia, remains a highly controversial figure—supporters venerate him as a man of integrity and vision “who understood the uncomfortable truths of Africa”, while critics describe an unrepentant racist whose policies and actions caused the deaths of thousands and contributed to Zimbabwe's later crises.
The Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front (ZANU–PF) is a political organisation which has been the ruling party of Zimbabwe since independence in 1980. The party was led for many years under Robert Mugabe, first as Prime Minister with the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) and then as President from 1987 after the merger with the Zimbabwe African People's Union (ZAPU) and retaining the name ZANU–PF, until 2017, when he was removed as leader.
The Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) was a militant organisation that fought against white minority rule in Rhodesia, formed as a split from the Zimbabwe African People's Union (ZAPU). ZANU split in 1975 into wings loyal to Robert Mugabe and Ndabaningi Sithole, later respectively called ZANU–PF and ZANU - Ndonga. These two sub-divisions ran separately at the 1980 general election, where ZANU-PF has been in power ever since, and ZANU - Ndonga a minor opposition party.
Joshua Mqabuko Nyongolo Nkomo was a Zimbabwean revolutionary and politician who served as Vice-President of Zimbabwe from 1990 until his death in 1999. He founded and led the Zimbabwe African People's Union (ZAPU) from 1961 until it merged in 1987 with Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) to form ZANU–PF.
The Zimbabwe African People's Union (ZAPU) is a Zimbabwean socialist political party. It is a militant organization and political party that campaigned for majority rule in Rhodesia, from its founding in 1961 until 1980. In 1987, it merged with the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front. It was relaunched in 2008.
Ndabaningi Sithole founded the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU), a militant organisation that opposed the government of Rhodesia, in July 1963. A member of the Shangani people(Ndau people were also referred to as Shangani as were the Tsonga who made up the Gaza Empire) ethnic group, he also worked as a Methodist minister. Sithole is a name that has origins in present day Zululand where the Gaza Nguni fled the Mfecane to form the Gaza Empire. He spent 10 years in prison after the government banned ZANU. A rift along tribal lines split ZANU in 1975, and he lost the 1980 elections to Robert Mugabe.
Abel Tendekayi Muzorewa, also commonly referred to as Bishop Muzorewa, served as Prime Minister of Zimbabwe Rhodesia from the Internal Settlement to the Lancaster House Agreement in 1979. A United Methodist Church bishop and nationalist leader, he held office for only a few months.
Zimbabwe African National Union – Ndonga is a minor political party in Zimbabwe. Its members were originally part of Zimbabwe African National Union, but split with what would become ZANU–PF over tribal tensions. A portion of the party reunified with ZANU-PF in 2015.
The Rhodesian Bush War—also called the Second Chimurenga and the Zimbabwe War of Liberation—was a civil conflict from July 1964 to December 1979 in the unrecognised country of Rhodesia . The conflict pitted three forces against one another: the Rhodesian white minority-led government of Ian Smith ; the Zimbabwe African National Liberation Army, the military wing of Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe African National Union; and the Zimbabwe People's Revolutionary Army of Joshua Nkomo's Zimbabwe African People's Union.
The Internal Settlement was an agreement which was signed on 3 March 1978 between Prime Minister of Rhodesia Ian Smith and the moderate African nationalist leaders comprising Bishop Abel Muzorewa, Ndabaningi Sithole and Senator Chief Jeremiah Chirau. After almost 15 years of the Rhodesian Bush War, and under pressure from the sanctions placed on Rhodesia by the international community, and political pressure from South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States, the Rhodesian government met with some of the internally based moderate African nationalist leaders in order to reach an agreement on the political future for the country.
James Robert Dambaza Chikerema served as the President of the Front for the Liberation of Zimbabwe. He changed his views on militant struggle in the late 1970s and supported the 'internal settlement', serving in the attempted power-sharing governments.
General elections were held in Southern Rhodesia in February 1980 to elect a government which would govern the country after it was granted internationally recognised independence as Zimbabwe, in accordance with the conclusions of the Lancaster House Agreement. The result was a victory for ZANU, which won 57 of the 100 seats. Its leader, Robert Mugabe became the first Prime Minister of Zimbabwe when the country officially became independent from the United Kingdom in April.
Joseph Wilfred Msika was a Zimbabwean politician who served as Second Vice-President of Zimbabwe from 1999 to 2009.
The prime minister of Zimbabwe was a political office in the government of Zimbabwe that existed on two separate occasions. The first person to hold the position was Robert Mugabe from 1980 to 1987 following independence from the United Kingdom. He took office when Southern Rhodesia became the Republic of Zimbabwe on 18 April 1980. This position was abolished when the constitution was amended in 1987 and Mugabe became president of Zimbabwe, replacing Canaan Banana as the head of state while also remaining the head of government. The office of prime minister was restored in 2009 and held by Morgan Tsvangirai until the position was again abolished by the 2013 Constitution of Zimbabwe.
The history of Rhodesia from 1965 to 1979 covers Rhodesia's time as a state unrecognised by the international community following the predominantly white minority government's Unilateral Declaration of Independence on 11 November 1965. Headed by Prime Minister Ian Smith, the Rhodesian Front remained in government until 1 June 1979, when the country was reconstituted as Zimbabwe Rhodesia.
Robert Gabriel Mugabe was a Zimbabwean revolutionary and politician who served as Prime Minister of Zimbabwe from 1980 to 1987 and then as President from 1987 to 2017. He served as Leader of the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) from 1975 to 1980 and led its successor political party, the ZANU – Patriotic Front (ZANU–PF), from 1980 to 2017. Ideologically an African nationalist, during the 1970s and 1980s he identified as a Marxist–Leninist, and as a socialist after the 1990s. The term Mugabeism has been used to refer to his policies which were rooted in nativism, anti-imperialism, and left-wing nationalism.
The Geneva Conference took place in Geneva, Switzerland during the Rhodesian Bush War. Held under British mediation, its participants were the unrecognised government of Rhodesia, led by Ian Smith, and a number of rival Rhodesian black nationalist parties: the African National Council, led by Bishop Abel Muzorewa; the Front for the Liberation of Zimbabwe, led by James Chikerema; and a joint "Patriotic Front" made up of Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe African National Union and the Zimbabwe African People's Union led by Joshua Nkomo. The purpose of the conference was to attempt to agree on a new constitution for Rhodesia and in doing so find a way to end the Bush War raging between the government and the guerrillas commanded by Mugabe and Nkomo respectively.
The Victoria Falls Conference took place on 26 August 1975 aboard a South African Railways train halfway across the Victoria Falls Bridge on the border between the unrecognised state of Rhodesia and Zambia. It was the culmination of the "détente" policy introduced and championed by B. J. Vorster, the Prime Minister of South Africa, which was then under apartheid and was attempting to improve its relations with the Frontline States to Rhodesia's north, west and east by helping to produce a settlement in Rhodesia. The participants in the conference were a delegation led by the Rhodesian Prime Minister Ian Smith on behalf of his government, and a nationalist delegation attending under the banner of Abel Muzorewa's African National Council (UANC), which for this conference also incorporated delegates from the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU), the Zimbabwe African People's Union (ZAPU) and the Front for the Liberation of Zimbabwe (FROLIZI). Vorster and the Zambian President Kenneth Kaunda acted as mediators in the conference, which was held on the border in an attempt to provide a venue both sides would accept as neutral.