Map to illustrate ceasefire assembly points Click link for more information on APs.

The final cease-fire (December 28 1979) was the prelude towards demobilisation and "Op Merger", the intended integration of the combatants, where elements of the Rhodesian Army, ZANU, and ZAPU began to create a new Zimbabwe National Army. The plan called for a general reductions in forces with the proportionate merging of personnel into totally new units; all parties seem to have assumed victory in the forthcoming elections - the Rhodesian forces having the possibility of Operation Quartz, ZANU both assuming a political victory but readying itself for renewed guerrilla fighting, ZAPU possibly readying itself for a conventional assault. 

The Lancaster House Agreement had created a Bill of Rights in which the socio-economic structures in the country were to remain intact for at least ten years, and the Zimbabwean government lacked funds -  the South Africans had demanded a huge repayment of funds which had supported Smith, and, with the ceasefire, South Africa rapidly removed troops and their equipment, extracting the Mozambicans from their Odzi base, Within the Air Force, a large number of posts were vacated, as most helicopter pilots, equipment and personnel who operated jet fighters at Hartley air base were on loan from South Africa. The Zimbabwean Government announced a strategy designed to leave no excuses for South Africa to attack it, with the return of ANC members (who had joined ZIPRA) to Zambia. No ANC guerrilla bases were to be allowed in Zimbabwe, although political support for the movement remained in place. The Apartheid government continued to launce attacks within Zimbabwe, aimed primarily at the ANC, although general 'dirty tricks' continued - supporting ZANLA fighters into the mid1980s, providing Mugabe the perfect excuse to launch the Fifth Brigade. South African actions during and after the ceasefire seem to have focussed largely on the assumption that a strong Zimbabwe with an effective military system could pose a threat to an increasingly beleaguered South Africa. The SADF made it clear that preferential treatment would be offered to those who were recruited as a unit at whatever level. While reasons for whites to bear arms disappeared, most felt that they could not serve under "former terrorists" and prepared to leave, taking with them considerable amounts of weaponry and other items of value, such as Private Regimental Institutional funds available to each unit. 

For an excellent review of "Operation Merger", summarizing the integration of the warring factions, click here (opens in new window, and is, as you would expect, a long document)

 

Trace