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The House of the Lord Church where Black Political Power was born and nurtured Part One Hundred Ten

Reflections on my attending UN Security Council with President Joshua Nkomo  

September 29, 1977 


Mr. Joshua Nkomo was the President of Zimbabwe African People’s Unity (ZAPU) made up one of the liberation organizations in Southern Rhodesia. Mr. Robert Mugabe was President of Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU). Both organizations combined to form the Patriotic front, our church had raised some money for the refugee camps in Southern Rhodesia which became Zimbabwe, after the Patriotic Front had won its independence. We presented the funds to Mr. Nkomo at our church, the House of the Lord Church in Brooklyn. I had formed a good relationship with Calistus Ndlovu who was ZAPU’s representative for the UN.  


On the morning or early afternoon of September the 27th 1977, Calistus called and told me that Joshua Nkomo and his party had just arrived back in the country. Mr. Nkomo wanted to see me and say hello. He wanted me to come over to the hotel where he would be staying. He would only be in town until tomorrow, when he would address the United Nations Security Council. I was delighted to hear from him and happy to know he was back in the country.   

It was 12-noon on the 28th of September, when I went to the UN Plaza Hotel where Mr. Nkomo was staying. Calistus invited me over for lunch at 1pm. Mr. Nkomo was scheduled to speak at the Security Council at 3:30pm.  


They were staying on the twenty-eighth floor of the Plaza, room 2816. It was not only a very attractive place, but also very accommodating, in the sense that there was a place to eat, a living room, an office with a desk, a small bar in the corner, and two bedrooms upstairs.  Calistus informed me that they had selected this hotel specifically because of its security arrangements. Mr. Nkomo was a target for Rhodesian assassins, and his protection was important. Along with the fact that the hotel was located within very close to the UN. 


As we discussed various topics, Calistus told me that Andrew Young had been to this hotel three times. The British foreign secretary, Mr. Owens, had also been there a number of times. However, the Soviet Union refused to come to the hotel, and wanted to meet strictly at the Embassy. He said that the Soviet Union felt that the hotel was an easy place to be spied upon, and also felt it was safer and easier to counter act any kind of electronic spying devices at the embassy.   

We ate lunch at about 2pm. Joshua Nkomo came into the room. He was smiling. He had been traveling and apologized for not being at the hotel to welcome me. He looked tired— very tired, and immediately began to explain the negotiations and travels which he had been through. He told me that he would have to return this very evening after the Security Council meeting. He was leaving for Lusaka, where a top-level meeting with all of his field commanders was being held. He had no choice but to attend the meeting. Calistus further elaborated upon the meeting with the field commanders. They would be coming from all different places, risking their lives, and it just wouldn’t be right for Mr. Nkomo himself not to be there as well.   

Calistus was preparing the speech that was to be delivered at the Security Council. When the call came, the speech was ready. Meanwhile, the Cuban Embassy called and wanted to meet with Mr. Nkomo before he left.  


Mr. Nkomo was very friendly. He inquired about everybody. He had brought three pictures from the refugee camps in Rhodesia. He signed them for the church and myself. He then excused himself because he had to study the speech, he was going to make at the Security Council. Two of his daughters and one of his childhood companions would be constituting his delegation, and of course Calistus.  


At 3:15pm Mr. Nkomo left for the Security Council. We passed through the gates of the delegates entrance and entered the U.N. building. We went up the escalator and through the hall into the Security Council room.   

All of the delegates had not yet arrived, and those that were there could be seen mingling and discussing various topics with one another. When Mr. Nkomo came into the room, he was the center of attraction. Many of the delegates rushed over to greet him. After a while, Andrew Young entered the room. He too came over to greet Mr. Nkomo. He was surrounded by camera people.  


The delegates from China, all wearing black suits, struck me as most unimpressive for a powerful nation. The President of the Security Council was German. He had already arrived. Most of the people came over to greet him as well.   

We were seated behind the Security Council. The President of the Security Council came and informed Mr. Nkomo that he would be invited to the table where he would be asked to make his speech. He was told that he could take with him whomsoever he pleased. After which he would be asked to withdraw himself from the table.  

The session was called to order at about 3:45pm. The opening address was made by the British Delegation, headed by the Foreign Secretary, Mr. David Owen. I should point out here that a proposal was presented to the Security Council, which contained the provisions which the Security Council and a representative from the U.N would meet with all of the parties involved in the Rhodesian situation before the meeting. Mr. Owen spoke and pointed out their only concern was for peace and the work that they have done in trying to realize that goal.          


Then, Mr. Nkomo was called to make his speech. (I will add this speech into the African Liberation Support Folder. I carry with me a folder containing important documents related to the visit. I do not recall what was in the folder). Mr. Nkomo also submitted a point-by-point analysis of the British proposal. This proposal had been presented to the UN. The complete proposal of the British Anglo-American proposal which was presented some weekend before and was responded to in detail by Mobutu (this too will be added to the African Support folder. I can’t remember the role he played.)  


The other delegations responded in support of the motion of the proposal except Russia, China, and I don’t recall which one was the third. After all, had responded, the President of the Council suggested that the meeting be suspended. He wanted to meet with the delegates in Conference room #5, in order to work out the mechanics of the proposal. It was at that point that the British Delegation asked if the three members who had not yet responded would do so at that point. They still did not respond, at least not while I was sitting there.  


When the meeting was over, we stood around for a while greeting the constant flood of well-wishers. After patiently and generously greeting the people, Mr. Nkomo met with another group in a separate room. We sat out in a lounge that was located right off of the Security Council area where they were conferring. When the meeting was done, Mr. Nkomo then went with other members of his party, including Calistus, back into the conference room for another meeting, and that is when I left them alone.   

As I started heading back to the hotel, I said my goodbyes.  

To be continued on Thursday, January 24, 2024.  

Stay tuned for more updates from Herbert Daughtry Global Ministries.  

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