Prime Minister Abel Muzorewa launched a new amnesty appeal to guerrilla forces today amid continuing signs that the Zimbabwe-Rhodesian government's effort to end the war are failing.
Muzorewa said in a broadcast that guerrillas willing to come over to the government side would be given a choice of enlisting in the defense forces, returning to school or joining in rehabilitation training programs. He called on Rhodesians to donate to a $2 million fund to help finance the amnesty appeal.
There was considerable doubt that this latest effort to get the guerrillas to defect would succeed, especially since it came just one day after government soldiers killed 183 auxiliary forces ostensibly supporting the new Zimbabwe-Rhodesian rulers. It was the word single death toll in the country in the six-year-old guerrillas war.
Today's amnesty appeal was the third such government move in the last year and a half. The previous efforts have failed, and Muzorewa's call for an amnesty on taking office seven weeks ago has produced only a trickle of defections among the estimated 12,500 guerrillas in the country.
Government officials have not been able to give any figures on the number of defections and have been willing to produce for journalists only a few guerrillas who have quit the Patriotic Front led by Joshua Nkomo and Robert Mugabe.
There is no indication that the new government that took office June 1 has been able to stem the fighting throughout the country that is taking an average of more than one life an hour.
Muzorewa said there is nothing more for the guerrillas to fight for, since the controversial April elections which brought them to power had achieved the goal of the war: majority rule for the country's 6.5 million blacks.
The Patriotic Front, however, has rejected Muzorewa's contention, maintaining that his government is only a front for keeping power in the hands of the country's 230,000 whites. The Organization of African Unity in its summit meeting in Monrovia, Liberia, yesterday rejected any recognition of Muzorewa's government and designated the Patriotic Front as the sole legitimate representative of the country.
In an effort to try to stem the continuous exodus of whites, Muzorewa slapped a $20,000 reentry fee on any persons who leave the country after today and then seek to return at a later date.
There were no details on how the program would be implemented. In recent periods of crisis for the embattled country, which unilaterally declared its independence in 1965, many whites went overseas only to return later.