Rhodesia's first black Prime Minister and President have been sworn in at an historic occasion marking the final phase of white minority rule in the country.
Rhodesia's first black Prime Minister and President have been sworn in at an historic occasion marking the final phase of white minority rule in the country. The formal end to white rule comes at midnight on Thursday (31 May). President Josiah Gumede and Prime Minister Bishop Abel Muzorewa will assume their posts the next day (Friday, 1 June) as the constitution of Zimbabwe Rhodesia comes into effect.
SYNOPSIS: President Gumede won the support by 80 votes to 33 of both Rhodesian Houses of Parliament on Monday (28 May). A former headmaster and civil servant, he is a political ally of Bishop Muzorewa who nominated him for the presidency.
Bishop Muzorewa, here casting his vote for Mr. Gumede, belongs to the Shona tribe, like most of the hierarchy of his United African National Council (UANC). But Mr. Gumede is an Ndebele and his election is seen as an attempt to unite Rhodesia's two major tribes behind the new leadership. there was only one other presidential candidate, Timothy Ndhlovu of the minority United National Federal Party (UNFP).
The election was the first occasion on which Mr. Ian smith's Rhodesian Front party had sat in Parliament without being in the majority. The party came to power in 1962 on a "white-rule forever" platform. And just three years ago, Mr. Smith declared there would be no black rule in Rhodesia in a thousand years.
Now he says Rhodesian are living in changing times and that he is philosophical about accepting it.
The swearing-in ceremony on Tuesday (29 May) was held at Government House in the open air.
The occasion was boycotted by the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) faction of the Rev. Ndabaningi Sithole who claims the general election voting was rigged.
Inter-party rows may threaten the new administration but the Bishop says he is daily more confident about the future.