Veteran nationalist leader Joshua Nkomo has been named to head the potentially powerful Ministry of Home Affairs in the new government of Zimbabwe. Mr. Nkomo's appointment was the first cabinet slot announced by incoming Prime Minister Robert Mugabe. But observers were surprised that Mr. Nkomo apparently turned down an earlier offer of President of Zimbabwe, a largely ceremonial post , Monitor correspondent Gary Thatcher reports. (Zimbabwe is the name that will be given to Rhodesia after its independence from Britain later this month or in early April.)
The Home Affairs Ministry controls all of the country's district commissioners, which have wide-ranging powers over the African tribal reserves (tribal trust lands). In addition, the ministry controls certain police forces stationed in rural areas.
A spokesman for Mr. Mugabe also said two prominent whites had been offered cabinet posts in the new government.