The elections in Rhodesia, taking place under the auspices of the internal settlement between Mr.?
The elections in Rhodesia, taking place under the auspices of the internal settlement between Mr. Ian Smith and three black leaders, are already under way. The twenty directly-elected white members of the new parliament have been chosen: all of them are representatives of Mr. Smith's Rhodesian Front. In the main election, over five days next week, black and white elections on a common roll will be choosing a further seventy-two members.
SYNOPSIS: Those seventy seats will go to black members -- the overwhelming majority of the electorate of nearly three million is black. Five parties, all led by blacks, are competing for their votes. Voting is for parties, not individual members; the seats will be distributed by proportional representation.
Bishop Abel Muzorewa's United African National Council is expected to win largest number of seats. ZUPO is headed by Chief Jeremiah Chirau; ZANU by the Reverend Ndabaningi Sithole. These three leaders formed the interim government with Mr. Smith. Chief Ndiweni's United National Federal Party also has some support.
Bishop Muzorewa, who is hoping to become Rhodesia's first black Prime Minister, has been out campaigning in the streets of Salisbury -- seeking the support of black and white voters alike.
The government's main anxiety is to get a substantial poll. Without one the outcome of the election will not be taken seriously by international opinion. Getting the ballot papers to outlying districts, across country dominated by hostile guerrilla fighter has needed elaborate organisation. A massive campaign has been mounted to convince the black voters that the poll is secret. Some of them may be deterred by fear of intimidation or retribution from the guerrillas of the Patriotic Front.
Teams of multi-lingual farmers have been sent out into the tribal trust areas to talk to the people in their villages. These men have the job of persuading the people to vote; convincing them that the poll???is secret; and explaining how they go about it, as none of them had ever taken part in a ballot.
The government's biggest problem is security. The leaders of the Patriotic Front, Mr. Nkomo and Mr. Mugabe, are not merely ignoring the election, they have said they will do their utmost to disrupt it. The interim government hopes for a big poll, to indicate that it, and not the Patriotic Front, has the allegiance of most Rhodesian blacks.
To try to prevent disruption, the government has ordered the biggest mobilisation in Rhodesia's history. All able-bodied white men between eighteen and sixty have been called up. The younger ones will be out in the bush; the fifty-year-olds and upwards will guard the towns. Many of them have not been in uniform since the Second World War. But after a five-day refresher course, they are now back in service.