INTRODUCTION: The Rhodesian Prime Minister, Mr. Ian Smith, reshuffled his Cabinet on Friday (11 March)?
INTRODUCTION: The Rhodesian Prime Minister, Mr. Ian Smith, reshuffled his Cabinet on Friday (11 March) to fill vacant posts caused by the resignation last month of the Defence Minister, Mr. Reginald Cowper, and the appointment of Transport and Power Minister, Mr. Roger Hawkins, as head of the new Ministry of Combined Operations. The post carries overall responsibility for the war effort against the guerrillas and Mr. Hawkins is answerable directly to Mr. Smith.
SYNOPSIS: The Cabinet reshuffle took place against a background of rebellion in Mr. Smith's ruling Rhodesian Front Party over the Prime Minister's move to make the country a non-racial state.
The one new Cabinet appointment is government backbencher, Mr. Archie Wilson, who takes over from Mr. Hawkins as Minister of Transport and Power. Both men have long been close supporters of Mr. Smith. Another strong supporter of Mr. Smith is new Minister of Education, Mr. Dennis Walker, previously the deputy Minister of Internal Affairs. It was these men who rallied to Mr. Smith when he narrowly won a Parliamentary vote on his multi-racial plans opposed by party rebels.
The appointment of Mr. Hawkins to the new Ministry of Combined Operations was regarded as the most significant development. The Ministers of Defence, Law and Order and Internal Affairs will all be directly responsible to him. After his appointment, he spoke to reporters.