With the first universal franchise elections in Rhodesia drawing to a close, the turn-out at polling booths has been outstanding.
With the first universal franchise elections in Rhodesia drawing to a close, the turn-out at polling booths has been outstanding. On the fourth-day in the five-day poll, sixty percent of blacks and whites eligible to vote were expected to have done so. As well as being a morale-booster to the black and white leaders in the country, Rhodesia's Prime Minister, Ian Smith, is claiming a victory for his recipe for transition to majority rule.
SYNOPSIS: From the start of the election campaign the Rhodesian government had demanded a high poll. They are hoping that the resultant turn-out, way beyond the expectation of foreign countries, will lead to international recognition of the post-election majority rule government. The white politicians have already secured their 28 seats, but campaigning for the majority black candidates has been intense.
Throughout the country most of the two thousand heavily guarded polling booths have received a constant stream of voters...most of them registering a vote for the first time.
But there's been a constant fear that the Patriotic Front would carry out its threat to turn the elections into a bloodbath.
Seven polling booths were blasted with bombs as voting began, but on Friday (20 April) some Patriotic Front guerrillas around Salisbury withdrew their opposition to the poll and urged black voters to go to the polls. They had previously claimed the black leaders contesting the election were selling-out to the whites.
For the Africans who support the election it's been a constant celebration at the polling booths. Chanting their approval of one-man, one-vote this group were vocal in support of Bishop Abel Muzorewa.
Even if the final voting tally just exceeds sixty percent it will mean more than one-million seven-hundred-thousand blacks have gone to the polls out of a possible 2-million-eight hundred thousand.
Whoever the leaders of the new government are that number of voters is expected to clinch recognition from a number of countries, including the United States.