The Impact of Rhodesia’s Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI) on Zambia’s Economic and Socio-political Developments, 1965-1979
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On 11 November 1965, Ian Douglas Smith defied world opinion and proclaimed a Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI) in Rhodesia. Rhodesia’s UDI posed a major challenge in the context of politics of decolonisation generally in Africa and southern Africa in particular. The Zambian government interpreted UDI as a moral affront to African freedom, independence and dignity as well as posing a grave danger to the country’s national security. Inevitably, in its response to the Rhodesian act of rebellion, the Zambian government firmly opposed the white supremacist illegal regime in Rhodesia. The confrontational stance adopted by the Zambian government against UDI had serious consequences for the country’s economic and socio-political stability. This study attempts to examine the impact of Rhodesia’s UDI on Zambia’s economic and socio-political developments from 1965 to 1979. The study contends that the effects of UDI on the Zambian economy were far-reaching largely because Zambia’s economy was firmly dependent on Rhodesia. The study further analyses the impact of UDI on socio-political processes in Zambia. This analysis is based on the assumption that a country’s pursuance of certain foreign policy objectives usually has implications on the country’s domestic politics. This is mainly because diverse groups in society tend to contest or call for adjustment of the government’s foreign policy on a wide range of international issues. In Zambia’s case, the study argues that the Zambian government was subjected to a barrage of criticism by the opposition political parties, the members of parliament and the business community for adopting a hostile foreign policy on UDI. The basis of this vilification was premised on the argument that Zambia’s foreign policy on UDI was pursued at the expense of the country’s economic stability.