How Ian Smith triggered action

On 11th November 1965, the administration of Ian Smith in Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) whose Rhodesian Front party opposed an immediate transfer of power to black majority rule in the self-governing British colony, unilaterally declared independence from the United Kingdom. The Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI), as it were, triggered various effects on the scene. First, UDI had the effect of intensifying the liberation struggle in which Zambia played an active role as a frontline state. Being landlocked, the Smith regime tried to intimidate Zambia out of her support for the liberation struggle by cutting her only outlet to the sea – the road and rail trunks from Zambia to the sea ports in South Africa, passing through Rhodesia. The leaders of Tanzania (the late Mwalimu Julius Nyerere) and Zambia (Dr. Kenneth Kaunda) who were aware of Zambia’s dependence on the southern route and its implications visualized that the North East Rail Link was the only other way for Zambia to maintain economic and political independence. In a significant way, therefore, Ian Smith’s UDI spurred the proponents and even quickened the pace at which the TAZARA project was implemented.

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