This chapter focuses mainly on the attempts by the British, Nigerians, and Zambians to set up the possibility of private negotiations between the Patriotic Front and Ian Smith in 1978. As the war grew increasingly costly and unwinnable from the Rhodesian perspective, Britain’s David Owen tried to work with the Zambians and Joe Garba of Nigeria to bring Ian Smith and Joshua Nkomo together for secret negotiations in Lusaka in August 1978. The diplomacy leading up to this meeting is explored, especially around Nkomo’s insistence and need to involve Mugabe as part of his promise not to break up the Patriotic Front. As numerous sources explain, Nkomo kept to his word not to negotiate a transfer of power from Smith without Mugabe, but Mugabe refused the pressures from the Nigerians to accept further negotiations, mostly because the offer would have required Mugabe to a take a secondary role to Nkomo. The fallout of the meeting is examined, as it led to the heightening of the war and increased accusations that Nkomo was ready to “sell-out” the Patriotic Front.
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