Muzorewa's Role in the Political Transformation of Zimbabwe
Until there is peace, Rhodesia will continue to endure the agonies of protracted conflict and social disorientation.
-- David Lagon, 1978
There are three major events in which Muzorewa participated in the transformation of Zimbabwe: the Geneva conference of 1976, the internal agreement of March 1978, and the negotiations for independence in September 1979. This last event set the stage for the independence of Zimbabwe to begin on April 18, 1980. In 1976 the political crisis in Zimbabwe was entering a critical stage. In seizing power on November 11, 1965, in a unilateral declaration of independence, Ian Smith had grossly underestimated the determination of the African nationalists in Zimbabwe, the international community, and the British government to bring his illegal government to an end.
The economic sanctions that the United Nations imposed in 1965 began to have immediate effect. Gasoline was severely rationed, essential supplies were reduced to dangerous levels. Those traveling on Rhodesian passports were denied entry into the countries to which they wished to travel. Trade with other countries came to a halt except with South Africa, itself a target of international sanctions in protest of apartheid. The decline in the economic and political fortunes of Smith and his Rho