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Salient. Official Newspaper of Victoria University Students Association. Volume 40, Number 3. March 14, 1977.

The Front Line States

The Front Line States

In our analysis of the policies of the governments of the Front line states we recognise that the people of Tanzania Mozambique, Zambia and Botswana have sacrificed a great deal for the liberation of Zimbabwe. Of the five Front-line states Zambia, Tanzania and since late 1974 Mozambique have had the most influence on the liberation struggle because of the dependence of the guerilla forces on them for the supply of personnel and materials. Thounh it is an oversimplification to treat them as a unitary bloc they tend consciously or unconsciously to transmit imperialist pressure on themselves on to the liveration movements and thus are working within the framework of "detente". Of the Front-line states. Zambia has always been the most compliant. It was Kaunda who first formulated the detente policy with Vorster and who convinced Nyerere of Tanzania and Machel of Mozambique in late 1974 that armed struggle should cease while peaceful negotiations were being pursued. This was in keeping with the Lusaka Manifesto, 1969, later endorsed by the OAU.

Photo of three people with machine guns

Zambia was faced with grave internal economic and social problems due to its heavy dependence on the export of copper and on Western capital. The drop in copper prices threatened to lead to the eruption of class struggle in Zambia itself. Thus Kaunda, while publicly supporting the liberation struggle, has increasingly fallen into the position of carrving out imperialism's designs to preserve his own position and that of the ruling party.

Nyerere has been unable to prevent the rise of a bureaucratic class in Tanzania which sees its interests not being with the Tanzantan masses and the socialist programme laid down in the early days of independence but with the West and a state capitalist model of development The economy has come increasingly under the influenc" of Western capital and under the pressure of this situation Nyerere has also fallen into a position of compromising the struggle in Zimhabwe

The governments of Angola and [unclear: Moz] ambique are being subjected to pressure from imperialism and Russia which appears to be obstructing the development of genuinely socialist models of development. The left in both countries is being isolated while the bureaucratic elements are gainig increasing power. (Africa Development, Sept. '76. p.875)

Thus, while considerable differences exist within the Front-line states, they share a basic common Interest in wanting a quick solution in Zimbabwe and in standing to gain economically from the end of guerilla warfare. They constantly have to balance between imperialist pressure their inability to economically support a protracted guerilla war, and the need to be seen to be supporting the Zimbabwean people. Thus they end up publicly supporting the liberation struggle and providing aid with strings while being involved in behind the scenes manoeuvres with imperialism. This is reflected in the report that Kissinger was "continually boggled by the difference between the private and public statements of the Front line presidents". (Sunday Times. Britain Oct 3, 1976). This also explains their need to reject the specific terms of the Kissinger plan so blatantly favourable to white interests. This rejection was described as a "[unclear: tuatioal] move" designed to wrench more concessions from the white government rather than an attempt to close the door on negotiations. (Financial Times Britain, Sept, 27, 1976)