Ethnic groups' interests and Zambia's policy on the decolonization of Angola, 1965- 198

Thumbnail Image
Sampa, Romance Chanda
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
The main objective of the study is to explain Zambia's policy on the decolonisation of Angola by examining the role played by members of ethnic groups living along the country's border with Angola in policy making. The study will analyse relationships between Zambia and Angola's liberation movements during the struggle for independence, and its position on the Angolan conflict from 1965 to 1980. The concentration is mainly on three policy issues. These are: (one), the issue of a government of national unity in Ango¬la; (two), preference for West-oriented liberation movements and (three), the problem of foreign intervention in the Angola civil war.The study is guided by the hypothesis that: the pursuit of interests of the ethnic groups living along Zambia/Angola border, by members of these groups involved in policy making bodies of the pcirty and its government, contributed to tilting Zambia's policy towards Angolan liberation movements away from the policy of evenhandedness to one of preference for UNITA and the FNLA. Accordingly, it determined the extent to which the ethnic groups sympathised with liberation movements in Angola. Out of a sample of 100 people from these groups, sixty were interviewed. These were chosen from, village headmen, provincial and district party officials, leaders of church organisations, businessmen and ordinary people.These people were asked to identity the liberation movements they supported in Angola and to give the reasons for their support.These interviews focussed mainly on three reasons for such support. These are: security - such as fear of harassment by movements active in Angola near border areas; economic - like the risk of losing economic benefits; and lastly social - such as family ties with people across the border. To analyse the ethnic group's influence on Zambia's policy with respect to the above mentioned policy issues, two main approaches were followed: Firstly, interviews were conducted with members of these groups who were on the following policy making bodies of the party and government; the House of Chiefs, village committees; ward committees; provincial development committees; sub-committees of the National Council and of the party congress; the Legal and Foreign Affairs Sub-Committee of the Central Committee; Zambia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and its African Affairs Political Desk; Parliament; the Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs. The Cabinet and State House. Secondly, collection of data by examining records of the proceed¬ings of these institutions regarding Zambia's policy were also done.Other sources of information included were: Records of Zambia/Angola historical events from newspapers and periodicals. Records in the United National Independence Party (UNIP) politi¬cal Musexjm; Ministry of Foreign Affairs communique and press re¬leases; texts of speeches delivered by the President of Zambia on the decolonisation of Angola for the periods under study; commu¬niques released by liberation movements; the Party Congress of the National Council and by the Chairman of the Political, Legal and Foreign Affairs Sub-Committee of the Central Committee; refugee committee documents of the Refugee Committee under Cabi¬net Office, OAU liberation committee docxxments and National Assembly Hansards.The study shows that the policy of evenhandedness was not consistently followed over the period \mder review. In practice Zambia's policy covertly continued to prefer UNITA and the FNLA. This basically put her on the same side as the United States of America and to less extent, the Republic of South Africa. The study further shows that in general Zambian ethnic groups in areas along the border with Angola perceived that supporting UNITA and the FNLA was consistent with their inter¬ests. Therefore, they made attempts through opposition parties and through people from their areas who were on the policy making bodies of the ruling UNIP and the Government, among other media, to make Zambia adopt a policy showing preference for the two movements. It is therefore, concluded that it is likely that ethnic group pressure was among the factors that made Zambia not to follow the policy of evenhandedness consistently and to cov¬ertly show preference for UNITA and to less extent, for the FNLA.
Zambia -- Foreign relations -- Angola , Ethnicity-Zambia