In 2010, the 30th anniversary year of the Independence of Zimbabwe, BBC Radio 4 commissioned two Friday Plays from leading writers. The first play, 'God's President: Mugabe of Zimbabwe' by Kwame Kwei-Armah, tells the story of the tense negotiations around the Lancaster House Conference, and the road to Zimbabwe's Independence.
On 4th March 1980 the Shona majority in Rhodesia was decisive in electing Robert Mugabe to head the first post-independence government as Prime Minister. Six weeks later, on April 18th, Zimbabwe celebrated its first Independence Day.
There were three months of talks in the lead up to independence and following these, on the 21st December 1979, the Lancaster House Agreement finally brought independence to Rhodesia following Ian Smith's Unilateral Declaration of Independence in 1965.Margaret Thatcher's government had invited Bishop Muzorewa and Ian Smith, and the leaders of the Patriotic Front, led by Joshua Nkomo and Robert Mugabe to participate in a Constitutional Conference at Lancaster House in London, to be chaired by the foreign secretary, Lord Carrington.
The purpose of the Conference was to discuss and reach agreement on the terms of an Independence Constitution, and to ensure that elections should be supervised under British authority to enable Rhodesia to proceed to legal independence and the parties to settle their differences by political means.
Starring Lucian Msamati as Robert Mugabe, Danny Sapani as Edgar Tekere and Chuk Iwuji as Bishop Muzorewa. Also amongst the cast are Richard Cordery, Tony Bell, Jude Akuwudike, William Gaminara, Kwame Kwei-Armah, Ben Onwukwe, Lloyd Thomas, Sean Baker, David Seddon and Alison Pettit. Directed by Jeremy Mortimer. Download and start listening now!