On Tuesday (20 June) for the first time in almost one hundred years of white minority rule, black nationalist leaders in Rhodesia sat beside white government ministers in the country's House of Assembly.
On Tuesday (20 June) for the first time in almost one hundred years of white minority rule, black nationalist leaders in Rhodesia sat beside white government ministers in the country's House of Assembly. It was the opening session of Rhodesia's last Parliament session before the start of the promised black majority rule.
SYNOPSIS: Crowds of onlookers gathered around the Parliament building in Salisbury to watch the arrival of ministers. Bishop Abel Muzorewa was one of the first to arrive, followed by Chief Jeremiah Chirau -- both members of Rhodesia's Supreme Executive Council. Next to arrive was another black member of the Executive Council, the Reverend Ndabaningi Sithole. Although the black members of the multi racial transitional government can take part in debates they are not allowed to vote, part of the majority rule agreement terms.
That agreement was signed was by the Prime Minister, Ian Smith, arriving here, last March, and is still being fought from outside Rhodesia by the Patriotic Front Guerrilla Alliance, who have denounced the black members of the transitional government as being puppets of the whites. The arrival of the Rhodesian President John Wrathall was accompanied as usual by an escort of mounted police lancers. But, unlike previous Parliament openings, there was no guard of honour or air force fly past. They have been cut from the ceremony as part of economic measures designed to save money. Every day, the guerrilla was and trade sanctions are draining the Rhodesian economy of almost one and a half million U.S. dollars.
Inside the Parliament chamber President Wrathall gave a ten minute speech, saying the Salisbury agreement was being successfully implemented and that one-man one-vote elections would take place before the end of the year.