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Muzorewa, Abel (b. 1925)

Catherine Cymone Fourshey


Bishop Abel Muzorewa was the first black Southern Rhodesian elected to the position of prime minister. Following decades as an active agent in the struggle for black majority rule through protest and resistance to control of the nation by a white settler minority, Muzorewa was voted the premier of Zimbabwe-Rhodesia, yet he served only six months (June–December 1979) before being replaced by Robert Mugabe . Although Muzorewa's political career included political accommodation, compromise, and negotiation, his early efforts mobilizing the African population of Zimbabwe against the British package known as the Pearce Proposals made him a threat to white settler interest. Seen as an agent of radical change, Muzorewa was removed from power and replaced by Mugabe, who was seen as less radical and more accommodating toward white interests. In particular, Muzorewa saw the Pearce Proposals as concerted British and white Rhodesian efforts to stave off African aspirations for majority rule. In an effort to circumvent the ban on the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) and the Zimbabwe African People's Union (ZAPU), Muzorewa forged the African National Council (ANC) in December 1971 as an umbrella organization. Muzorewa's defiance of the ban, a clear effort to thwart African political action, was a strategy around the repressive measures. He fiercely opposed the Pearce Proposals that advocated ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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