The fragile movement towards a settlement between the white Smith regime and the black majority in Rhodesia has been seriously threatened by the arrest of one of the African National Council (ANC) leaders, the Reverend Ndabaningi Sithole.
ANC leaders Muzorewa, Nkomo and Sithole arriving for talks on 2 March (3 shots) (MUTE)
SV INT CU Sithole interviewed (SOUND)
TRANSCRIPT: SITHOLE: "The problems facing the ANC has been all resolved. We had our differences--for instance, ZANU had a different approach to the problem facing us and ZAPU has had a different approach and still the same way, the ANC (that is the old ANC) had also a different approach. So that there have been at least three different approaches. But we are working hard towards unifying our approaches so that we have one approach to the problem, that face us."
MILLS: "Why do you think the ceasefire, the negotiated ceasefire with nationalist guerillas, is not working?"
SITHOLE: "It is not working because the Government has not followed what it agreed to follow after the Lusaka agreement had been detainees and all political prisoners and things like that. But up to no wit has not done so. And, moreover, the militant presence of South African troops in Rhodesia militates against any idea whatsoever of a ceasefire. The Government has gone out of its way to give orders to African guerrillas to stop fighting. And the African guerrillas have been infuriated by this act. So that, because of that act on behalf of the Government, they have intensified their actions to demonstrate that they are not acting under the orders of the Rhodesian Government."
Initials BB/0215 JW/PN/BB/0209
Shortly before his arrest Mr. Sithole spoke to BBC reporter Ian Mills.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: The fragile movement towards a settlement between the white Smith regime and the black majority in Rhodesia has been seriously threatened by the arrest of one of the African National Council (ANC) leaders, the Reverend Ndabaningi Sithole.
Mr. Sithole was arrested in Salisbury on Tuesday (4 March) and charged with "carefully planning the assassination of certain of his opponents whom he considers to be a challenge to his bid for the leadership of the ANC."
The official statement said the 54-year-old Mr. Sithole, an American-educated teacher and methodist minister who was released last December after 10 years in detention, would go on trial before a special court in camera.
Mr. Sithole was the former leader of the Militant Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) which was merged with the Zimbabwe African Peoples' Union (ZAPU) after last year's Lusaka talks. The two organisations then merged with the ANC to create a united front in constitutional talks with the Rhodesian Government.
Shortly before his arrest' Mr. Sithole had been holding a series of meetings with his other colleagues on the Executive of the ANC.These included the leader of the ANC Bishop Abel Muzorewa and former ZAPU leader Mr. Joshua Nikomo.
Apparently these meetings had been heated.Mr. Sithole has always supported the concept of "Chimurenga", armed struggle. His colleagues on the Executive wanted a less militant approach to talks with the Salisbury Government.