A spokesman for Prime Minister-designate Robert Mugabe announced today that Joshua Nkomo has accepted the post of home affairs minister, giving the former guerrilla leader a partial victory in his quest for power in the new Zimbabwe.
Mugabe initially offered his co-leader in the seven-year guerrilla war the ceremonial presidency -- a bid to neutralize Nkomo, whose support now largely derives from the minority Ndebele people of southwestern Rhodesia. His party ran a distant second in last month's election.
Nkomo, who once hired Mugabe as a public relations man, nevertheless made clear that he wanted a position of real influence. He reportedly sought the foreign affairs or defense portfolio.
By accepting the Home Affairs Ministry, Nkomo has gained responsibility for daily administration of Rhodesia's 53 administrative districts as well as development of the tribal trust lands -- a job with possibilities of personal political promotion.
A full list of Cabinet ministers is to be delivered to the British governor, Lord Soames, Tuesday after a week of intensive consulations to produce a broadly based government.
Mugabe said last week he would not seek a monopoly of Cabinet posts despite the success of his Zimbabwe African National Union in winning 57 of the 100 parliamentary seats, but would seek to restore his Patriotic Front battlefield alliance with Nkomo.
The spokesman said today that the Cabinet would also include two whites, "Zimbabweans of European origins," as he called them.
Mugabe has given no indication of the size of the Cabinet he will announce but it is expected to include two new ministries, rural development to handle his land reform program, and natural resources.
Meanwhile, the gradual winding down of the war continued with an announcement that most of the reservists called up for the elections have been demobilized.
Nevertheless, the Salisbury military command reported that over the previous 72 hours its forces have killed four "armed dissidents" and that 34 others had surrendered or been captured.
It said that in some cases dissident guerrillas had surrendered to Rhodesian forces operating jointly with officials of the guerrilla armies.
Mugabe is understood to have given the go-ahead for security forces to track down guerrillas who have remained in the bush after the election, even though he is held to have ordered them to ignore the cease-fire in order to assist his campaign among tribespeople.
According to the Salisbury command, three black civilians have been beaten to death in parts of the southeast of Rhodesia, previously infiltrated by Mugabe's guerrillas.