The first day of polling in Rhodesia's independence elections ended with a massive turnout and virtually no incidents, a sharp contrast to the violent campaign to bring about an independent black-ruled Zimbabwe.
SV: Lord Soames with back to camera talking to polling official in Salisbury
SV PAN: Man arriving to vote walks past queues of people at polling booth
SV: Lord Soames talking to polling officials (2 shots)
SV: People queuing outside polling station.
SV: Lord Soames holding umbrella comes out of building and speaks to English policeman.
GV: Lord Soames gets out of helicopter and walks up muddy hill (still holding umbrella) (2 shots)
SV: Jeep carrying officials drives past queues of voters.
GV: Groups of people walking along road on way to polling stations.
GV: People get out of lorry and walk to polling station. (2 shots)
CU ZOOM OUT: Sign "Polling Station" with queues waiting outside.
SV: Black policemen standing at door of polling stations waving in voters. PAN TO queues.
SV: Two women placing ballot paper in box.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: The first day of polling in Rhodesia's independence elections ended with a massive turnout and virtually no incidents, a sharp contrast to the violent campaign to bring about an independent black-ruled Zimbabwe. Across the country voters turned out in thousands, often swamping makeshift polling stations with queues up to two miles (three kilometres) long. By three p.m. on Wednesday (27 February) -- the first day of polling, almost nine hundred thousand of Rhodesia's two point eight million black electorate had voted. The figure was substantially more than the vote on the entire first day of last April's four-day election which transferred power from the white minority after ninety years of black rule.
SYNOPSIS: Lord Soames, who has been in office as the British Governor to Rhodesia for ten weeks was on hand on the second day of polling to greet some of the electorate. There are nine parties contesting the elections but only three off them have a real chance. They are led by Robert Mugabe, and Joshua Nkomo former allies in the Patriotic Front and former Premier Bishop Abel Muzorewa.
Lord Soames's main concern over the three days of polling was to prevent any intimidation of the voters. The presence of English 'Bobbies' represented the British guarantee of free and fair elections. Lord Soames toured some of the polls by helicopter as rain. throughout the country made some roads impassable. But people seemed to be making a great effort to get out and cast their votes.
A strong military presence was part of a gigantic security clamp-down during the three-day vote. And international observers from more than twenty countries were on hand to determine whether the elections was free and fair.
Almost seven hundred polling stations, half of them mobile will stay open until seven p.m. in urban areas and four p.m. in rural areas, and results of the elections will be announced next Tuesday. (March 4). Lord Soames, in a special message to black Rhodesians said the outcome of the poll was the key to peace and international recognition in Rhodesia.
Mr. Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe National Union (ZANU) party is widely expected to emerge the biggest party in the one hundred seat parliament, although not necessarily with an absolute majority . On the first day of the poll, voting was particularly heavy in the eastern and western parts of the country -- the major areas of support for Mugabe and the other former guerrilla leader Joshua Nkomo.