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DILEMMAS OF POSTCOLONIAL DIPLOMACY: ZAMBIA, KENNETH KAUNDA, AND THE MIDDLE EAST CRISIS, 1964–73

  • LYNN SCHLER (a1)

Abstract

This article examines Zambia's engagement with the Middle East conflict from 1964–73 as a window into the political strategies and ideological ambitions of Kaunda's government in the first decade of independence. At the start of independence, Kaunda's domestic agenda led him to establish ties with Israel and to advance a program for cooperative development based on Israeli technical assistance. However, broader international concerns, filtered through the struggle against white minority regimes in southern Africa, ultimately led Kaunda to embrace a leadership role in international protests against Israel's policies towards its neighboring states. Zambia's foray into Middle East diplomacy in the first decade of independence enables a focused examination of Kaunda's presence in the international arena, while also revealing the compromises he made in the face of conflicting interests. Zambia's role in the Middle East conflict highlights this era as a time of confidence and claim-making by African leaders, but also one of concessions.

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1 Kaunda, K. D. and Colin, M. M., A Humanist in Africa: Letters to Colin M. Morris from Kenneth D. Kaunda, President of Zambia (London, 1966).

2 Schwartz, M. and Hare, A. P., Foreign Experts and Unsustainable Development: Transferring Israeli technology to Zambia, Nigeria and Nepal (London, 2000), 91.

3 Gordon, D. M., Invisible Agents: Spirits in a Central African History (Athens, OH, 2012), 158.

4 Larmer, M., Hinfelaar, M., Phiri, B. J., Schumaker, L., and Szeftel, M., ‘Introduction: narratives of nationhood’, Journal of Southern African Studies, 40:5 (2014), 895905; Gordon, Invisible Agents; Gewald, J. B., Hinfelaar, M., and Macola, G. (eds.), One Zambia, Many Histories: Towards a History of Post-Colonial Zambia (Brill, 2008); Larmer, M., ‘A little bit like a volcano: the United Progressive Party and resistance to one-party rule in Zambia, 1964–1980’, The International Journal of African Historical Studies, 39:1 (2006), 4983; Macola, G., Liberal Nationalism in Central Africa: A Biography of Harry Mwaanga Nkumbula (Springer, 2010); Larmer, M., ‘What went wrong? Zambian political biography and post-colonial discourses of decline’, Historia, 51:1 (2006), 235–56 (238); Fraser, A. and Larmer, M. (eds.), Zambia, Mining, and Neoliberalism: Boom and Bust on the Globalized Copperbelt (New York, 2010); Ndangwa, N., ‘Good governance and national social development: a Zambian experience’, Social Development Issues, 21 (1999), 70–6 (72).

5 Gewald, Hinfelaar, and Macola (eds.), One Zambia, 4.

6 Two examples are: Macola, G., ‘It means as if we are excluded from the good freedom: thwarted expectations of independence in the Luapula Province of Zambia, 1964–6’, The Journal of African History, 47:1 (2006), 4356; and Larmer, ‘A little bit like a volcano’, 49–83.

7 M. Larmer, ‘Historical perspectives on Zambia’s mining booms and busts’, in Fraser and Larmer (eds.), Zambia, Mining, and Neoliberalism, 31–58 (31).

8 Larmer, ‘What went wrong?’, 235–56 (238).

9 Gewald, Hinfelaar, and Macola (eds.), One Zambia, 2.

10 Larmer, Hinfelaar, Phiri, Schumaker, and Szeftel, ‘Introduction: narratives of nationhood’, 895–905 (901).

11 Ndangwa, ‘Good governance’, 70–6 (72).

12 Fraser and Larmer (eds.), Zambia, Mining, and Neoliberalism, 6.

13 Fraser, A., Zambia: back to the future, Global Economic Governance Programme, Working Paper (2007), 147 (12).

14 Larmer et al., ‘Introduction’, 897.

15 Fraser and Larmer (eds.), Zambia, Mining, and Neoliberalism, 7.

16 D. Gordon, ‘Rebellion or massacre: the UNIP-Lumpa conflict revisited’, in Gewald, Hinfelaar, and Macola (eds.), One Zambia, 45–76.

17 Macola, ‘It means …’, 44.

18 Anglin, D., ‘Zambia and southern African liberation movements: 1964–1974’, in Shaw, T. and Heard, K. (eds.), The Politics of Africa: Dependence and Development (Harlow, 1979), 182213; Nolutshungu, S. C., South Africa in Africa: A Study in Ideology and Foreign Policy (Manchester, 1975); Shaw, T. M., ‘The foreign policy of Zambia: ideology and interests’, The Journal of Modern African Studies, 14:1 (1976), 79105; Burdette, M., Zambia: Between Two Worlds (Boulder, CO, 1988).

19 Larmer et al., ‘Introduction’, 897.

20 Gordon, Invisible, 2.

21 Young, C., The Postcolonial State in Africa: Fifty Years of Independence, 1960–2010 (Madison, WI, 2012), 131.

22 Mazrui, A. A., ‘On poet-presidents and philosopher-kings’, Research in African Literatures, 21:2 (1990), 1319 (13).

23 K. L. Stevinson, ‘Humanism as political ideology: a study of its role in the evolution of the leadership of Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia’ (unpublished MA thesis, Haverford College, 1985), 2; Sekwat, A., ‘Beyond African humanism: economic reform in post-independent Zambia’, International Journal of Organisation Theory and Behaviour, 3 (2000), 521–46 (523).

24 Taylor, I., ‘Zambia's foreign policy: themes and approaches’, Politikon, 24:2 (1997), 5765 (57–8).

25 See Meebelo, H. S., Main Currents of Zambian Humanist Thought (Lusaka, 1973), 1; and Scarritt, J., ‘Elite values, ideology, and power in post-independence Zambia’, African Studies Review, 14:1 (1971), 3154 (45).

26 Legum, C. (ed.), Zambia: From Independence to Beyond: The Speeches of Kenneth Kaunda (London, 1966), 195.

27 Mkandawire, T., African Intellectuals: Rethinking Politics, Language, Gender and Development (London, 2005), 197.

28 Molten, R. and Tordoff, W., ‘Conclusion chapter: “Independent Zambia: achievements and prospects”’, in Tordoff, W. (ed.), Politics in Zambia (Manchester, UK, 1974), 370–1.

29 Martin, A., Minding Their Own Business (London, 1973), 107.

30 M. Hinfelaar, ‘Legitimizing powers: the political role of the Roman Catholic Church, 1972–1991’, in Gewald, Hinfelaar, and Macola (eds.), One Zambia, 127–43 (130).

31 Rotberg, R. I., Transformative Political Leadership: Making a Difference in the Developing World (Chicago, 2012), 21.

32 Macola, Liberal Nationalism in Central Africa, 118.

33 Albinson, F., ‘Cooperative education in Zambia’, in Albinson, F., Norbeck, J., and Sundén, R. (eds.), Folk Development Education and Democracy in a Development Perspective (Stockholm, 2002), 13.

34 Scarritt, J. R., ‘The decline of political legitimacy in Zambia: an explanation based on incomplete data’, African Studies Review, 22:2 (1979), 1338 (17).

35 Scarritt, ‘The decline’, 17.

36 Dumont, R. and Mazoyer, M., Socialisms and Development, trans. Cunningham, R. (London, 1973), 128.

37 Quick, S. A., Humanism or Technocracy? (published on behalf of the Institute for African Studies, University of Zambia, by Manchester University Press, 1978), 56.

38 Dumont, Socialisms, 135.

39 Lombard, S. C., The growth of cooperatives in Zambia, 1914–1971, Zambia Papers No. 6 (University of Zambia, 1971), 23–5.

40 See Scott, I., ‘Middle-class politics in Zambia’, African Affairs, 77:308 (1978), 321–34 (323); T. L. Moorsom, ‘“Black settlers”: hybridity, neoliberalism and ecosystemic change among Tonga farmers of southern Zambia, 1964–2008’ (unpublished PhD thesis, Queen's University, Canada, 2016), 154; Macola, Liberal, 115.

41 Macola, ‘It means …’, 43–56.

42 Israel National Archives, Jerusalem (INA), Zambia General, 1926/4.

43 INA 1926/4, 26 June 1964.

44 Oded, A., Africa Ve'Israel, Yehudiut Vetahapuhot Be'Yehase Hutz shel Israel[Africa and Israel, A Unique case of Radical Changes in Foreign Policy] (Jerusalem, 2013).

45 Peters, J., Israel and Africa: The Problematic Friendship (London, 1992).

46 T. S. Rodin, ‘Political aspects of Israeli foreign aid in Africa’ (unpublished PhD thesis, University of Nebraska, 1969).

47 Zambia National Archives, Lusaka (ZNA) NCDP 2/3/2, Aid Israel, Permanent Secretary of the Foreign Ministry, 23 Dec. 1964.

48 ZNA NCDP 2/3/2, Aid Israel, 7 May 1965 and 11 May 1965.

49 ZNA NCDP 2/3/2, Aid Israel, 30 Apr. 1965.

50 ZNA NCDP 2/3/2, Aid Israel. Given the centralized nature of Kaunda's rule, this directive was likely coordinated with the President. On Kaunda's centralized rule, see Chan, S., Kaunda and Southern Africa: Image and Reality in Foreign Policy (London, 1992), 1424.

51 INA 13546/2, Letter from Zafti, 18 June 1965.

52 Scarritt, ‘Elite’, 45.

53 ZNA NCDP 2/3/2, Aid Israel, memorandum of Vice President, n.d.

54 ZNA FA/1/367, Note no. 0614, 14 June 1972. For a detailed overview of the mission from 1966–9, see D. Yadin, Three Years of Israeli Agricultural Aid in Zambia (Report submitted to the Israeli Foreign Ministry, 1969).

55 Ibid. 29.

56 Ibid. 4.

57 Schwartz and Hare, Foreign Experts, 80.

Yadin, Three, 40–1.

58 Ibid. 35.

59 Schwartz and Hare, Foreign Experts, 80–1.

60 Yadin, Three, 40–1.

61 Schwartz and Hare, Foreign Experts, 94.

62 Ibid. 89.

63 Ibid. 90.

64 Schwartz, M., Hare, P., Saasa, O. S., Nwana, E., Devkota, K., and Peperkamp, B., Israeli Settlement Assistance to Zambia, Nigeria and Nepal (Veenstra, Groningen, 2002), 22; Schwartz and Hare, Foreign Experts, 91.

65 Lombard, The Growth, 25.

66 Quick, Humanism, 112.

67 INA 4191/36.

68 The Observer, 15 Dec. 1971.

69 Zambian Farmer, 17 Aug. 1971, quote in Shimeon Amir, Israel’s Development Cooperation with Africa, Asia and Latin America (New York, 1974), 32.

70 INA 4581/39, Report of the ceremony of the arrival of the new Israeli ambassador, 14 Oct. 1971.

71 ZNA NCDP/213/11, External Aid Policy Israel, minutes of a meeting, 29 July 1969.

72 ZNA NCDP/213/11, External Aid Policy Israel, letter from Kenneth Kaunda, 28 Aug. 1969.

73 ZNA NCDP/213/11, External Aid Policy Israel, minutes of a meeting, 29 July 1969.

74 INA 4832/2, Aug. 1973.

75 One important study of the Ghana case study is Levey, Z., ‘The rise and decline of a special relationship: Israel and Ghana, 1957–1966’, African Studies Review, 46:1 (2003), 155–77. For generalized views on the continent as a whole, see Levey, Z., Israel in Africa: 1956–1976 (Dordrecht, 2012); Peters, Israel.

76 Anglin, Zambia.

77 INA 4581/39, Report of the ceremony of the arrival of the new Israeli ambassador, 14 Oct. 1971.

78 Ibid.

79 INA 4025/16, Report on Israel – Zambia relations; Report at the end of Elron's term, 7 July 1971.

80 For a review of the various positions, see A. J. DeRoche, ‘“You can't fight guns with knives”: national security and Zambian responses to UDI, 1965–1973’, in Gewald, Hinfelaar, and Macola (eds.), One Zambia, 77–97.

81 DeRoche, ‘“You can't fight guns with knives”’, 77–97.

82 ZNA FA/1/272, Israel-Arab Conflict – Middle East Crisis, Report of security council condemnation of Israel on 8 Apr. 1969 from V. J. Mwaanga.

83 Hall, R., The High Price of Principles: Kaunda and the White South (London, 1969); Good, K., ‘Zambia and the liberation of South Africa’, Journal of Modern African Studies, 25:3 (1987), 505–40.

84 Shaw, ‘The foreign policy of Zambia’, 103.

85 DeRoche, ‘“You can't fight guns with knives”’, 77–97.

86 Ibid. 96.

87 ZNA FA/1/208, Israel-UAR Conflict – Middle East Crisis, Banda in Washington, DC to Kapwepwe, 30 June 1967.

88 ZNA FA/1/272, Israel-Arab Conflict – Middle East Crisis, 26 Aug. 1969.

89 INA 4025/16, Report on Israel – Zambia relations, 7 June 1971.

90 ZNA FA/1/208, Israel-UAR Conflict – Middle East Crisis.

91 Levey, Israel in Africa.

92 ZNA FA/1/208, Israel-UAR Conflict – Middle East Crisis.

93 Ibid.

94 Ibid.

95 Ibid.

96 ZNA FA/1/272, Israel-Arab Conflict – Middle East Crisis.

97 Zambia Daily Mail, 22 June 1983 quoted in Good, K., ‘The reproduction of weakness in the state and agriculture: Zambian experience’, African Affairs, 85:339 (1986), 239–65 (241).

98 Chan, Kaunda, 12.

99 DeRoche similarly argued that the First Republic was a time of ‘high hopes for a bright future’. DeRoche, ‘“You can't fight guns with knives”’, 96.

100 ZNA FA/1/272, Israel-Arab Conflict – Middle East Crisis. The following quotes are all taken from the mission report of Vernon Mwaanga to the UAR, Syria, Israel, and Jordan from 10–17 Dec. 1968.

101 ZNA FA/1/272, Israel-Arab Conflict – Middle East Crisis.

102 INA 4025/16, Report on Israel – Zambia relations, 7 July 1971.

103 This can be seen even among some of his staunchest opponents of the early years, as seen in Moorsom's study of the Tonga in the Southern Province. Moorsom, ‘“Black settlers”, 26–7.

104 Larmer et al., ‘Introduction’, 898.

105 INA 4025/16, Report of internal matters in Zambia, 31 Oct. 1967.

106 INA 4025/16, Report on Israel – Zambia relations, 7 July 1971.

107 INA 4832/2, 24 Sept. 1973.

108 Macola, ‘It means …’, 43–56.

109 Taylor, ‘Zambia's foreign policy’, 57–8.

110 Chan, Kaunda, 150.

Funding for this research was provided by the Israel Science Foundation, Individual Research Grant #540/14. My sincere thanks to Ian Taylor, Ruth Ginio, and Louise Bethlehem for their close readings and helpful critiques of an earlier version of this article. Giacomo Macola generously shared his work with me. I thank Ornit Avidar for her help with the final edits. Finally, a special thanks to the anonymous reviewers of the Journal of African History for their extremely useful feedback.

Keywords

DILEMMAS OF POSTCOLONIAL DIPLOMACY: ZAMBIA, KENNETH KAUNDA, AND THE MIDDLE EAST CRISIS, 1964–73

  • LYNN SCHLER (a1)

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