White voters in Rhodesia go to the polls on Tuesday (January 30) to decide at a referendum on the transitional government's plans for a modified form of majority rule.
White voters in Rhodesia go to the polls on Tuesday (January 30) to decide at a referendum on the transitional government's plans for a modified form of majority rule. It is widely expected that the voters -- there are about eighty thousand -- will say `yes' to the constitution under which majority rule is to be introduced after the one-man-one-vote elections in April.
SYNOPSIS: The Rhodesians are preparing for referendum with three quarters of the country under martial law. Some observers forecast the whole country will be under military rule by the end of this year. There's been a marked escalation in the six-year-old bush war. Last year six thousand people were killed, half the total of deaths in the war to date. And the number of insurgents now inside the country has grown to an estimated twelve thousand from a figure of about eight thousand in mid-1978.
The war is also changing in character: increasingly, blacks are fighting blacks. Not only are black members of the transitional government opposed by the Zambia and Mozambique forces of the Patriotic Front... there are also reports of intense rivalry within the Rhodesian parties, who often have their own armed auxiliary forces.
For Mr Ian Smith, the Prime Minister, there are signs of growing opposition from with the quarter-of-a-million strong white community. Last year the number of whites leaving Rhodesia reached thirteen thousand, or about five percent of the total, and some predict the exodus will rise this year to perhaps twenty thousand-or above, reflecting a disenchantment that is now often raised at Mr. Smith's public meetings.
There is also opposition from organised political groups.
That was the view of the National Unifying Force's vice-president, Mr Mick McNally. This is a meeting of the Rhodesian Action Party, which accuses Mr Smith of selling out. Mr. Smith has also suffered the resignation of one minister, Mr Rollo Hayman, in a disagreement over majority rule.
Mr. Smith is supported by blacks members of the transitional government, including the Reverend Ndabaningi Sithole.