Testimony of Sister Janice McLaughlin, M.M., Washington Office on Africa, before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Rhodesia

by Janince McLaughlin, Washington Office on Africa
Washington, DC, United States
March 5, 1979
Publisher: Washington Office on Africa
15 pages
Type: Testimony
Coverage in Africa: Zimbabwe
Coverage outside Africa: United States
Language: English
Contents: THE INTERNAL SETTLEMENT • The Repressive Atmosphere for Elections • The Election Process • Detention and Censorship • Marshal Law • Destruction of Civilian Life and Property • Starvation Tactics • Private Armies • Forced Labor and Conscription • Comments on Resolutions concerning Rhodesia • S. Con. Res. submitted by Senator McGovern and Hayakawa • S. Con Res. 7 by Senator Schweiker and Senator DeConcini • CONCLUSIONS •  The testimony says from May through August 1977 I helped to investigate the conduct of the war and to compile reports documenting the use of torture, repression and propaganda by the Smith regime as well as the killing of missionaries; on August 30, 1977 I was arrested with three other members of the Commission who were subsequently charged with publishing subversive literature; I was detained for three weeks in Chikurubi Prison and deported on September 21. The testimony says in September 1978 I returned to Africa as a member o f a delegation of twelve Americans visiting Mozambique; here we saw firsthand the conditions in the refugee camps and the destructiveness of Rhodesian attacks on civilian targets. The testimony says the internal settlement cannot end the war and must be rejected if peace is to be attained. It cannot bring peace because (1) it ignores the Patriotic Front and (2) it fails to eliminate the causes of the war. Far from abolishing minority privilege, economic inequality and unjust structures of power and control, the new Constitution guarantees that they will be preserved -- indeed, it entrenches them for the next ten years. The testimony says no Constitution setting aside 28 percent of parliamentary seats f or four percent. of the population solely on the basis of race can be characterized as democratic and non-discriminatory. The testimony says it is impossible to hold free and fair elections under the present regime and as long as the war continues; the illegal Rhodesian "government" cannot conduct its own elections under its own supervision and have them accepted as free and impartially undertaken. The testimony says the government personnel who are to administer and supervise the elections are the same people who have been responsible tor authorizing the torture, murder and imprisonment of large numbers of Africans over the past seven years; the police and security forces who are to ensure that elections are not disrupted by guerilla forces have themselves been disrupting the daily lives of the African population; they are both feared and detested, and are viewed not as protectors but as the real terrorists. The testimony says the publication, Rhodesia -- The Propaganda War, which documented war atrocities by the security forces, was banned. The testimony discusses the Catholic Institute for International Relations (CIIR), the Organization of African Unity (OAU), Rev. Arthur Kanodereka, Rev. Max Chigwida, William Chimpaka, Ian Smith, the Rhodesian Front, courts, martial law, political prisoners, food, protected villages, International Commission for the Red Cross, Rev. David Gibbs, Rev. Sithole, Bishop Muzorewa, the National Service Act, the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace in Rhodesia, and the Patriotic Front.
Used by permission of the Washington Office on Africa.
Collection: Private collection of David Wiley and Christine Root