Due to a typographical error, the word not was dropped in a story about Prime Minister-elect Robert Mugabe's plans for Rhodesia's future. The affected sentence in March 6 editions of The Washington Post should have read: Mugabe, an avowed Marxist, also said civil services pensions would not be abrogated.
Prime Minister-designate Robert Mugabe and fellow guerrilla leader Joshua Nkomo agreed today to form a coalition government when Rhodesia becomes the independent nation of Zimbabwe, probably later this month.
A spokesman for Magabe, who won a landslide victory in elections last week for a black-majority government, said the two leaders met this morning and set up a working group of their two parties to determine cabinet positions and other details of the coalition. Mugabe won 57 of the 80 seats in Parliament and Nkomo won 21.
The spokesman, Justin Nyoka, said Mugabe plans to set up a national front government that would expand the coalition by "coopting" other elements. The purpose would be to arrange for a government that will inspire confidence of the white minority as well as of the blacks.
Since confirmation yesterday of his victory, Mugabe has sought to reassure the 200,000 whites.
Last night, he announced that Gen. Peter Walls, commander of the Security forces that fought a war with Mugabe's guerrillas, had been appointed to preside over the integration of the two guerrilla forces with the Rhodesian military.
Mugabe, an avowed marxist, also said civil service pensions would be abrogated. There are expectations that he will ask the white finance minister, David Smith, to remain in that post as a means of reassuring the business community.
Mugabe is also planning a formal session with the white former prime minister, Ian Smith, to discuss with his longtime foe the role of whites in the government. A time has not been set. The two met Monday night when Mugabe's victory became known.
Nyoka said top officials in all government departments had agreed to remain in office under Mugabe.
Salisbury returned to normal today after exuberant black celebrations yesterday of Mugabe's victory. Many of the white troops so much in evidence had been removed.
Many whites said they were shocked over Mugabe's 63 percent vote to only 8 percent for Abel Muzorewa, who had received white support, in the previous government. But the general attitude seemed to be to wait and see what happens.
Britian, which temporarily resumed power as the colonial authority in December, continued seeking to reassure the whites.
Gen. John Acland, head of the British cease-fire monitoring force, said Britian may maintain a military presence in the country for "several years" if invited to do so. Mugabe has called for the monitoring force to stay and British officials have said this is possible depending upon negotiations with the new government.
The British governor, Lord Soames, is known to be impressed by Mugabe's sensitivity to the need to reassure the whites and avoid their abrupt departure -- a development that would disrupt the economy.
Britain has made it clear that the transition to independence should not be rushed, a shift from Soames' previous policy. He had said, for instance, that the now completed elections had to be held as soon as possible. It is now expected that independence day, probably to be attended by a member of the British royal family, will occur toward the end of the month.
The first flight of an airlift to remove British troops and military rival of a U.S. Air Force C5A Galaxy, which will take out several military helicopters.