Prime Minister Ian Smith is certain to reject the latest Anglo-America proposal to end Rhodesians 12-year-old constitutional crisis informed sources said here today, pointing out that all but one of the eight points in the plan were rejected during previous negotiations with U.S. and British representatives.
The defiant Rhodesian leader is not expected to comment on the proposals - leaked in Lagos Nyeria yesterday - until he meets with Anglo-American representatives next week, but a high-level source said today that official cricles in Salisbury were "surprised" that the mission would offer a plan they knew would be turned down. He described the plan as "a cynical exercise that almost looks like an international effort at failure. There is no room for negotiation."
Smith has already said, it would take a "miracle" for the Western initiative to be acceptable.
The major point of contention is the dismantling of the Rhodesian armed forces in favor of a neutral peacekeeping force, possibly made up largely or Nigerians. Minister of Defense Mark Partridge put it bluntly today:
"I would like to make it quite clear that any suggestion that our armed forces be dismantled is totally unacceptable, and any suggestion that they might be merged with terrorists or replaced by some Commonwealth force is also totally unacceptable."
Throughout the year-long Anglo-American settlement effort, Smith has stood firm on the question of a new army in an independent Zimbabwe, the African name for Rhodesia, arguing that the security of whites cannot be guaranteed unless elements of the current army are maintained.
The general absence of guarantees for whites is the second major objection. The $1 billion development fund, which reportedly emphasizes incentives for whites to stay in Rhodesia, is not enough to ease the insecurities of the 270,000 whites, outnumbered more than 20 to 1 by blacks, sources here say.
The Smith government has consistently demanded four prerequisites for a peaceful settlement:
Special representation for whites in Parliament.
Property rights insured against nationalization.
The independence of the civil service, judiciary, police and armed forces from politics, with the armed forces and police controlled by whites and with blacks eligible for promotion only on the basis of merit.
Restricted voting rights on the basis of education and financial qualifications.
There are some indications here that Smith may be willing to accept a one-man, one-vote formula, but only if the other checks and balances can be firmly entrenched.
One source said Smith is beginning to come around to the argument that many of the Africans who do not meet voter qualifications are the most conservative, with basic loyalties to the pro-government tribal chiefs. Also, by stipulating a 21-year-old voting age, the government would temporarily exclude from voting any guerrillas reentering the country, since their average age is between 17 and 20.
Even this would be a dramatic move that would face serious opposition from several members of Smith's Cabinet. Just last week, the minister of combined military operations, Roger Hawkins, said that history proves that the decline in good government started with the introduction of universal adult suffrage and has continued to accelerate ever since. This is true even in the relatively sophisticated countries of the Western world, he added.
The reported plan - which has not yet been fully outlined to Smith - is so futile in the eyes of officials here that one government source said he does not see any point to talks in Salisbury next week between Smith, and the plan's proponents, British Foreign Secretary David Owen and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Andrew Young.
I think they know this is a no-go. It appears that all the British and American governments are after is some kind of new image in black Africa, that they at least tried to bring down Smith.There is no way they can honestly believe these proposals will be accepted by anyone here. If that is really what they plan to offer us, we don't want to hear it."