After the white minority in Southern Rhodesia made a unilateral declaration of independence (UDI) from Britain in November 1965, the Anti-Apartheid Movement called for no independence before majority rule (NIBMAR). It campaigned against Labour and Conservative government proposals for compromise with the white regime.
The AAM called for full implementation of UN sanctions against the illegal regime, their extension to South Africa and aid for neighbouring African countries to help them reduce their economic links with Rhodesia.
As guerrilla fighting spread in Zimbabwe after 1973, the AAM appealed to the British public on humanitarian grounds. It publicised the reprisals of the white army and police against black civilians and campaigned against the hanging of guerrilla fighters and civilians accused of aiding them. It called on the British government to condemn death sentences carried out by the illegal regime as murder.
In March 1978 the minority regime negotiated an ‘internal settlement’ and Bishop Abel Muzorewa was elected as Prime Minister. The AAM argued that there could be no democratic constitution without the liberation movements ZAPU (Zimbabwe African People’s Union) and ZANU (Zimbabwe African National Union), united from 1976 in the Patriotic Front. In 1979 the AAM joined with other organisations to form the Zimbabwe Emergency Coordinating Committee (ZECC), warning against the recognition of the internal settlement regime by the new Conservative government.
LANCASTER HOUSE AGREEMENT
When the government convened a new round of talks at Lancaster House, London in September 1979, the AAM identified the crucial issues as agreement on a democratic constitution; transitional arrangements that guaranteed free elections; and arrangements for a ceasefire. Under the ZECC umbrella it campaigned for support for the Patriotic Front in the negotiations. After elections won by ZANU-Patriotic Front led by Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe celebrated its independence on 18 April 1980.