Lancaster House Agreement

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Bishop Abel Muzorewa signs the Lancaster House Agreement seated next to British Foreign Secretary Lord Carrington. Lancaster-House-Agreement.png
Bishop Abel Muzorewa signs the Lancaster House Agreement seated next to British Foreign Secretary Lord Carrington.

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.

Rhodesian Bush War civil conflict in Southern Africa from 1964 to 1979

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 government, led by 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.

Zimbabwe republic in southern Africa

Zimbabwe, officially the Republic of Zimbabwe, is a landlocked country located in southern Africa, between the Zambezi and Limpopo Rivers, bordered by South Africa, Botswana, Zambia and Mozambique. The capital and largest city is Harare. A country of roughly 16 million people, Zimbabwe has 16 official languages, with English, Shona, and Ndebele the most commonly used.

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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.

Zimbabwe Rhodesia former country

Zimbabwe Rhodesia was an unrecognised state that existed from 1 June 1979 to 12 December 1979. Zimbabwe Rhodesia was preceded by an unrecognised republic named Rhodesia and was briefly followed by the re-established British colony of Southern Rhodesia, which according to British constitutional theory had remained the proper government after Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI) in 1965. About three months later, the re-established colony of Southern Rhodesia was granted internationally recognised independence as the Republic of Zimbabwe.

Internal Settlement 1978 agreement in Rhodesia

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.

Ian Smith 20th-century Prime Minister of Rhodesia

Ian Douglas Smith was a politician, farmer, and fighter pilot who served as Prime Minister of Rhodesia from 1964 to 1979. As the country's first premier not born abroad, he led the predominantly white government that unilaterally declared independence from the United Kingdom in 1965, following prolonged dispute over the terms. He remained Prime Minister for almost all of the fourteen years of international isolation which 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.

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.

Constitution of Zimbabwe

The Constitution of Zimbabwe is officially the supreme law of Zimbabwe. The independence constitution of 1980 was the result of the 1979 Lancaster House Agreement and is sometimes called the Lancaster Constitution. A proposed constitution, drafted by a constitutional convention, was defeated by a constitutional referendum during 2000.

Lancaster House mansion in the St Jamess district in the West End of London

Lancaster House is a mansion in the St James's district in the West End of London. It is close to St James's Palace, and much of the site was once part of the palace complex. This Grade I listed building is now managed by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

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 Prime Minister, Bishop Abel Muzorewa and Minister Without Portfolio, Ian Smith.

Robert Mugabe former President of Zimbabwe

Robert Gabriel Mugabe is 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 chaired the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) group 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, although after the 1990s self-identified only as a socialist. His policies have been described as Mugabeism.

Joshua Nkomo Zimbabwean politician

Joshua Mqabuko Nyongolo Nkomo was a Zimbabwean politician who served as Second Vice-President of Zimbabwe under Robert Mugabe from 1987 to 1999. He was leader and founder of the Zimbabwe African People's Union (ZAPU) party, and a member of the Kalanga people.

Zimbabwe African National Union

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.

Negotiations

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.

Commonwealth of Nations Intergovernmental organisation

The Commonwealth of Nations, normally known as the Commonwealth, and historically the British Commonwealth, is a unique political association of 53 member states, nearly all of them former territories of the British Empire. The chief institutions of the organisation are the Commonwealth Secretariat, which focuses on intergovernmental aspects, and the Commonwealth Foundation, which focuses on non-governmental relations between member states.

Head of government is a generic term used for either the highest or second highest official in the executive branch of a sovereign state, a federated state, or a self-governing colony, who often presides over a cabinet, a group of ministers or secretaries who lead executive departments. The term "head of government" is often differentiated from the term "head of state", as they may be separate positions, individuals, or roles depending on the country.

Lusaka City in Lusaka Province, Zambian Kwacha

Lusaka is the capital and largest city of Zambia. One of the fastest developing cities in southern Africa, Lusaka is in the southern part of the central plateau at an elevation of about 1,279 metres (4,196 ft). As of 2010, the city's population was about 1.7 million, while the urban population is 2.4 million. Lusaka is the centre of both commerce and government in Zambia and connects to the country's four main highways heading north, south, east and west. English is the official language of the city, and Nyanja and Bemba are also common.

Lord Carrington, Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary of the United Kingdom, chaired the Conference. [1] The conference took place from 10 September–15 December 1979 with 47 plenary sessions.

Peter Carington, 6th Baron Carrington British Conservative politician

Peter Alexander Rupert Carington, 6th Baron Carrington,, was a British Conservative politician and hereditary peer who served as Defence Secretary from 1970 to 1974, Foreign Secretary from 1979 to 1982, chairman of British General Electric Company from 1983 to 1984, and Secretary General of NATO from 1984 to 1988. Before his death in 2018, he was the last surviving member of the 1951–55 government of Winston Churchill, the Eden government, and the Macmillan government, as well as of the cabinets of Alec Douglas-Home and Edward Heath. Following the House of Lords Act 1999, which removed the automatic right of hereditary peers to sit in the House of Lords, Carrington was created a life peer as Baron Carington of Upton.

Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs United Kingdom government cabinet minister heading the Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Her Majesty's Principal Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, normally referred to as the Foreign Secretary, is a senior, high-ranking official within the Government of the United Kingdom and head of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. The Foreign Secretary is a member of the Cabinet, and the post is considered one of the Great Offices of State. It is considered a position similar to that of Foreign Minister in other countries. The Foreign Secretary reports directly to the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

Plenary session session of a conference or assembly which can or should be attended by all involved

A plenary session is a session of a conference which all members of all parties are to attend. Such a session may include a broad range of content, from keynotes to panel discussions, and is not necessarily related to a specific style of presentation or deliberative process.

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. [2]

The agreement as signed on 21 December 1979. [3] 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.

Outcome

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 Christopher 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 were won by the Zimbabwe African National Union - Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) led by Robert Mugabe. 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.

Land reform

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 ]

British delegation

Patriotic Front delegation

Zimbabwe-Rhodesia delegation

Later developments

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.

See also

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Geneva Conference (1976)

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.

Victoria Falls Conference (1975)

The Victoria Falls Conference took place on the 26th 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.

Constitutional history of Zimbabwe

The constitutional history of Zimbabwe starts with the arrival of white people to what was dubbed Southern Rhodesia in the 1890s. The country was initially run by an administrator appointed by the British South Africa Company. The prime ministerial role was first created in October 1923, when the country achieved responsible government, with Sir Charles Coghlan as its first Premier. The third Premier, George Mitchell, renamed the post Prime Minister in 1933.

Canaan Banana 1st President of Zimbabwe

Canaan Sodindo Banana was a Zimbabwean Methodist minister, theologian, and politician who served as the first President of Zimbabwe from 1980 to 1987. He was Zimbabwe's first head of state after the Lancaster House Agreement that led to the country’s independence. In 1987, he stepped down as President and was succeeded by Prime Minister Robert Mugabe, who became the country's executive president. In 1997, Banana was outed as a homosexual, and after a highly publicised trial, was convicted of 11 counts of sodomy and "unnatural acts", serving six months in prison.

References

  1. Chung, Fay; Kaarsholm, Preben (2006). Re-living the Second Chimurenga: memories from the liberation struggle in Zimbabwe. Harare: Weaver Press. p. 242. ISBN   9171065512.
  2. Hawkins, Tony (25 August 1987). "Zimbabwe whites lose special political status. End of reserved seats in Parliament brings one-party state closer". The Christian Science Monitor. Archived from the original on 11 November 2015.
  3. Preston, Matthew (2004). Ending Civil War: Rhodesia and Lebanon in Perspective. London: Tauris. p. 25. ISBN   1850435790.
  4. Martin, D.; Johnson, P. (1981). The struggle for Zimbabwe. Boston: Faber and Faber. p. 400. ISBN   978-0-85345-599-8.

Further reading