Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 2nd August 1978.

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Photo of Nicholas Winterton Nicholas Winterton , Macclesfield 12:00 am, 2nd August 1978

I shall not give way, because I promised to be brief. Food production could be increased, to the advantage of other less fortunate countries which border Rhodesia. Rhodesia has a basic industrial structure of considerable potential, which has been built up since sanctions were imposed. It has one of the most advanced black education systems in the whole of the African continent. [HON. MEMBERS: "Nonsense."] Shall we allow these fantastic advantages to be wasted and destroyed?

The internal settlement now needs political and economic support from the West. If it gets this support, it will be successful. If it is seen to be succeeding, I am convinced that other African countries such as Zambia, Botswana, and Mozambique, will gradually accept it and co-operate with it, because they themselves and their suffering peoples will benefit from the opening of the borders and the free movement of trade.

I am sick and tired of Labour Members and, sadly, of the Foreign Secretary, too, always seeking to curry favour with the Soviet Union and other Marxist dictators. I find it inexplicable that our Foreign Secretary should place more importance on the leaders of the Patriotic Front than on the moderate black leaders of the internal settlement who, whatever Labour Members may say, represent a majority of the blacks in Rhodesia.

Sadly, I have come to the conclusion that Joshua Nkomo, who is a considerable political figure, has decided that he will not join the internal settlement, that he only wants ultimate power and cannot now be persuaded to join the internal settlement. Continued attempts to reconcile the two sides will simply not work. I believe that that plays to the advantage of the terrorists and to the disadvantage of those who support the internal settlement.

Nkomo and Mugabe are out to destroy the moderates; they are not out to share power with them. Of course, if they succeed they will then set about destroying each other, and Rhodesia with them, for the tribal rivalries of Robert Mugabe and his Mashona and Joshua Nkomo and his Matabeles are ever-present just below the surface. If the Patriotic Front wins the struggle against the parties to the internal settlement, civil war in Rhodesia will result, just as sure as night follows day.

The issue is clear. If we support and encourage the internal settlement, the future peace and prosperity of Zimbabwe will be ensured for all the people of that country. A barrier to further Communist expansion in Africa will have been established. If my postbag is anything to go by, the British people demand that this Government and this House should act in the interests of all the people of that great little country of Zimbabwe. Then, as a country, we can look back with a little pride on the last important colonial responsibility that we possessed.