President meets Soames
President Mugabe yesterday met Nicholas Soames, son to Britain’s last colonial Governor in Rhodesia, who presided over Zimbabwe’s transition to majority rule. In an interview soon after meeting the Head of State and Government at State House, Sir Soames said he would work hard to improve bilateral relations between Harare and London.
“Yes it is 37 years since the Lancaster House Agreement and my father, Lord Soames was the Governor of Southern Rhodesia. He was here when Zimbabwe was born with Mr Mugabe and 37 years later I have come back to see Mr Mugabe to say ‘hello’ to him and say I want to feel this beautiful country. I have very much enjoyed and pleased to meet him again. I hope very much that we can improve relations between our countries,” said Sir Soames in a brief interview.
Sir Soames, sometimes known as Nick Soames, is a British Conservative Party politician who has been the Member of Parliament for Mid Sussex since 1997.
He is a grandson of former British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill. He was first elected to Parliament in 1983 for Crawley. He was Minister of State for the Armed Forces from 1994 to 1997 in the government of Prime Minister John Major. His father, Lord Soames’ four-month stint as Governor of Rhodesia led to first democratic elections that resulted in independence on April 18, 1980.
After talks in London in 1979 produced an agreement between Rhodesia’s white leaders led by Ian Smith and freedom fighters led by President Mugabe to return to British colonial status in preparation for majority rule, Mrs Margaret Thatcher sent Lord Soames to Rhodesia as Governor to preside over the transition.
Mrs Thatcher was at the time Prime Minister of Britain. Lord Soames died on September 16, 1987 at the age of 66 at the family home in Hampshire.
Lord Carrington, who was Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and Foreign Secretary when Lord Soames was dispatched to Rhodesia, commended the then governor saying he had done a job that “I don’t think anyone else could have done.’’