May 17, 1979
The Rhodesian Elections and the Sanctions Issue
by Francis, Samuel T.
(Archived document, may contain errors)
a4 May 17, 1979 THE RHODESIAN ELECTIONS AND THE SANCTIONS ISSUE INTRODUCTION On April 17-21, 1979, national elections based on universal adult suffrage were held in Rhodesia for the first time in that 1,869,000 citizens voted 64.5% of the total electorate. The major victor in the election was Bishop Abel Muzorewa, whose United African National Council received 1,212,639 votes (67 of the total vote) and won 51 seats in the 100 seat House of Assembly. Muzorewa's colleague in the Executive Council of the interim government, the Reverend Ndabaningi Sithole, and his Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU received 262,926 votes 16.5% of the total vote) and 12 seats in the Assembly. Senator Chief Jeremiah Chirau also in the Executive Council, and his Zimbabwe United People's Organization (ZUPO) won 6% of the vote but failed to win any seats in the Assembly, and a relatively new political force, the United National Federal Party (UNFP of Chief Kayisa Ndiweni, won 194,496 votes (10.4% of the total and 9 seats in the Assembly. Under the new Rhodesian Con stitution a party has the right to one Cabinet seat for every five seats in the Assembly. On this basis, then, Muzorewa's party would have 10 Cabinet seats (out of a total of 20 seats Sithole's party would have 2; Ndiweni's would have 2; and the Rhodesian Front led by Ian Smith, controlling the 28 white seats in the Assembly, would have 7 Cabinet seats. It should be added that 4.5% of the votes cast were discounted as "spoiled ballots I I nation's history. Out 0f.a total electorate of about 2.9 million, I The holding of elections in Rhodesia led immediately to a political controversy in the United States and in Great Britain where national elections were in progress. The election of a Conservative government in Britain headed by Margaret Thatcher 2 probably means significant changes in British policy towards Rhodesia. Mrs. Thatcher indicated in her campaign that her party disagreed .sharply with the Labor Government's Rhodesian policy, particularly in respect to the elections. Mrs. Thatcher stated that "There was an election; one person one vote for four different parties. Where else would you get that in Africa?"
She pointed out that the basis for declaring the Rhodesian government illegal may no longer be valid and if so, "there's no reason to have the sanctions at all. So the Anglo-American plan is not at issue at the moment She sent her own team of observers, headed by Lord Boyd, to Rhodesiqtheywill apparently report that the elections were free and fair.
Meanwhile the Carter Administration has begun its own re evaluation of Rhodesia following the elections. Not having sent observers to Rhodesia,the Administration is gathering reports of those present for the elections and will issue a report in dicating whether sanctions should be lifted under the terms of the Case-Javits legislation passed by the Congress in the fall of 19
78. Secretary Vance testified before Congress that the President will make this determination following the installation of the Muzorewa government in Rhodesia at the beginning of June.
At the same time pressures have mounted in Congress to lift sanctions regardless of the determination made by the President.
On May 15 the Senate passed by an overwhelming 75-19 margin the Schweiker-DeConcini resolution. This declared that it was the sense of Congress that the Rhodesian elections were free and fair and that the installation of the new multi-racial govern ment satisfied U.S. demands for majority rule and therefore sanctions should be lifted. Thus, in the next several weeks critical decisions will be made concerning the future of Rhodesia.
These decisions will be based largely on a myriad of contro versies dealing with the elections, the Constitution of Rhodesia and, more broadly, U.S. African policy HISTORICAL BACKGROUND Controversy between the Congress and the Administration has characterized U.S Rhodesian relations throughout most of the period from the Unilateral Declaration of Independence by Ian Smith on November 11, 19
65. Since 1966, when the U.N., under the prompting of Great Britain, passed resolutions imposing sanctions against Rhodesia as a threat to peace, the U.S. has generally adhered to the U.N. restrictions. However, from 1971 to 1977, under the Byrd Amendment to the U.N. Participation Act of.1944, the U.S. allowed the importation of Rhodesian chrome because the Amendment forbade the embargo of any strategic material imported from a non-Communist state if the material were being imported from a Communist state. However, in March 1977 the U.S. Congress passed legislation specifically designed to exempt Rhodesia from the provisions of the Byrd Amendment and to allow the President to re-.impose sanctions by Executive Order.
Accordingly, since 1977, all trade between the U.S. and Rhodesia has been forbidden by law, though in 1978, several attempts were made in Congress to lift sanctions. These bills, strongly 3 opposed by the Carter Administration, did not pass, though several of them were defeated by only narrow margins measure, the Congress amended the International Security Assistance Act of 1978 by passage of the Case-Javits Amendment (section 27 of the Act), which requires the President to lift sanctions against Rhodesia if the Rhodesian government fulfills two con ditions 1) if she agrees to negotiate in good faith with all parties concerned under international auspices on all relevant issues, and (2) if she installs a new government elected in free elections in which all political and population groups are allowed to participate freely and which are held under impartial and internationally recognized observers.1 The holding of the elections on April 17-21, therefore, led at once to new attempts by several congressmen to lift sanctions under the Case-Javits Amendment. Senators Richard S. Schweiker R.-Pa) and Dennis DeConcini D.-Ariz) introduced S. Con.
Res. 24 on April 23 to lift sanctions on Rhodesia within ten days of the installation of the new government, and a similar re solution (H. Con Res. 110) introduced in the House by Congress man Robert E. Bauman (R.-Md), called for the lifting of sanctions and recognition of the new government by the Administration.
Senator Jesse Helms (R.-NC) also introduced an amendment (S. 996 to the U.N. Participation Act that would have forbidden the President to enforce sanctions on Rhodesia, and Congressman Bauman sponsored a companion bill(H.R. 3715) in the House. Also in the House, Congressmen Richard H. Ichord (D.-Mo) and Paul Findley (R.-I11) introduced resolutions calling for the lifting of sanctions on Rhodesia As a compromise The Carter Administration indicated its reluctance to support these measures been the principal spokesman for the Administration's African policy, opposed the lifting of sanctions, and Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Richard Moose, called the elections inherently illegal and unrepresentative" before they were held.
Secretary of State Cyrus Vance also opposed the immediate lifting of sanctions, stating in testimony before the Foreign Operations Subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee I think such legislation Lro lift sanctiong would interfere with the president's constitutional responsibility for making foreign policy It would be constitutionally improper to enact legislation before the President makes his determination Washington Post, April 27, 1979, p. A36 U.N. Ambassador Andrew Young, who has 1. For a detailed analysis of the Case-Javits Amendment controversy Professor John Hutchinson, "Rhodesia and Case-Javits," Heritage Foundation Backgrounder #81 see I 4 Nevertheless, these legislative initiatives by a wide range of congressmen of both parties and different ideological backgrounds posed a serious challenge to the Carter Administration's African policy and sparked a debate within the Administration itself on the advisability and viability of maintaining Rhodesian sanctions.
Many within the Administration and among its supporters in Congress were said to feel that to maintain Rhodesian sanctions in the face of widespread opposition would endanger the already contro versial SALT I1 treaty when it is signed and submitted to the Senate. Senator Paul Tsongas (D.-Mass who supports sanctions on Rhodesia,stated that "I can't imagine that, given the limited ammunition supplies the White House has, they will spend it on Rhodesia 2 THE BASIC CONTROVERSIES A number of controversial issues have developed over the sanctions question and the recent events in Rhodesia. The Rhodesian Constitution and elections have been severely criticized by many persons who see them as a mask for the continued dominance of the white minority and who also object to the lifting of sanctions by the U.S. on foreign policy grounds. The arguments of the critics may be summarized as follows 1. The Rhodesian Constitution,made public on January 2, 1979 is inherently unfair in that it was not adopted by the mass 0 the voters, allows for the over-representation of the white majority and ensures control of the new government by the white minority 2. The Rhodesian government had imposed martial law before and during the elections, and the Patriotic Front did not participate in the elections and actually denounced the elections as a fraud.
The actual electoral process was not therefore free and fair and did not allow full participation by all political groups 3. To lift the sanctions now would be a threat to,the Admini stration's African policy and would alienate other African states with which the U.S. has important trade and political relations and with which the Administration has begun to build strong ties 4. Even if the elections and the new government are fair and free, the lack of participation by the Patriotic Front (PF) and its denunciation of the elections and the government mean that a powerful and perhaps victorious force is militantly opposed to the new government. Therefore, to lift sanctions now would give U.S. support to a losing or weak regime that does not have popular support 2. Washington Post, April 27, 1979, p. A36 5 5. The lifting of sanctions now would undermine the U.S. posture of neutrality toward Rhodesia and would give the Soviet Union and its-surrogates an excuse to escalate their own role in arming and training the PF and perhaps-lead to the participation of Soviet or Cuban forces in Rhodesia and then to an international con frontation between the Western states and the Communist bloc with the chance of eventual Soviet domination of southern Africa 6. The elections, whether free or not, are unlikely to end the war or .lead to a viable settlement, and therefore, the U.S. should avoid committing itself to a government that is still'under military attack and is increasingly weak These arguments against lifting sanctions are complex and involve a large number of assumptions and preconceptions about the internal conditions of, Rhodesia and other African states, about the new Constitution and the recent elections, and about U.S. re lations with other African states. The arguments for and against lifting sanctions cannot be understood without further discussion of these problems of subsaharan Africa and the developments in Rhodesia itself THE RHODESIAN CONSTITUTION On March 3, 1978, Prime Minister Ian Smith of Rhodesia signed in Salisbury an "Internal Settlement with the three principal black leaders of the country Bishop Abel Muzorewa, Senator Chief Jeremiah Chirau, and the Reverend Ndabaningi Sith01e The Internal Settlement obliged its signatories to co-operate peace fully in a transitional government, to'draft a new constitution based on majority rule, to guarantee certain principles and pro cedures in the constitution, and to hold elections for'the final transition to a government based on majority rule. A proposed draft of the constitution was published on January 2, 19
79. On January 30, a referendum was held among the whites coloureds i.e those of mixed white-black descent and Asians on whether to accept the draft constitution. This referendum, in which about 75% of the eligible voters particpated, resulted in acceptance of the constitiution by over 85% of the votes.
The Constitution, the referendum, and the elections of a new government have all been topics of controversy. Critics of the Internal Settlement say that the Constitution provides merely a facade of democracy while in reality ensuring that the white minority continues to control the government through the "entrenched clauses" of the Constitution The Rhodesian government disputes these criticisms and points to the undoubted fact that for the first time in Rhodesian history, blacks have elected the majority of the members of the government and will sit and work with white colleagues in the highest councils of state. A detailed examination of the most 3 Samuel T. Francis, "Rhodesia in Transition," Heritage Foundation Backgrounder #G2 For an analysis .of the Internal Settlement and its development, see 6 controversial portions of the new Constitution will be useful in understanding these objections, the position of the Rhodesians and the true meaning of the Constitution cription of the electoral arrangements and legislative structure of the government, a justiciable bill of rights strongly modeled on those of the U.S. Constitution and of Great Britain, and the structure of the executive, judicial, and administrative branches of the government. Like the American and British Consti tutions, Rhodesia's constitution is heavily based on the principle of checks and balances, contains a declaration of funda mental rights limiting state power, and generally seeks to limit and regularize the power of the state over the lives of its in dividual citizens. However, it is the sections of the Consti tution that deal with the electoral and legislative arrangements that have excited controversy, and the following discussion will be largely limited to these portions The Constitution approved on January 30 consists of a des 1. The Electorate All citizens, male and female, over the age of eighteen are eligible to vote for members of the legislature. This differs from the previous Constitution, which limited the franchise to about 3% of the population based on property and education qualifi cations (not, as was sometimes thought, on a racial basis). In the new Constitution, there will be two rolls of voters. The Common Roll will consist of black and white voters, and the White Roll.wil1 consist of whites only. Whites may vote twice, on the Common and the White Rolls, and blacks may vote once, on the Common Roll Discussion: The major criticism of the franchise provision is that it permits whites to vote twice of these provisions is that some guarantee for the white minority is necessary to assure protection for the whites population of Rhodesia in 1976 was estimated at 277,000 the present time it is numbered at no more than 250,000 due to emigration caused by the war. only about 4% of the total population, there is a need to protect them against the majority and also a need to discourage them from leaving the country and plunging it into economic chaos.
Other African states, such as Tanzania, Kenya, and Zambia all had similar safeguards in the form of separate voting rolls in their constitutions, so that there is precedent in African politics for these provisions. These other states are now one-party states in which the white population has been excluded from power com pletely or largely driven out by an oppressive majority safeguards proved incapable of maintaining political pluralism within these states. However, perhaps the most telling argument in favor of the separate and weighted voting rolls is that they The principal defense but at The white Since the whites constitute at most The 7 make very little -practical difference. Despite the fact that whites are able to vote twice, their second vote on the Common Roll cannot conceivably affect the outcome of an election because black voters outnumber white voters by over 19 to 1 (the black population over 18 numbers about 2,760,000; the white population over 18 numbers only about 140,000 at the most The justification for the double vote for whites is that it lends a certain degree of psychological security to the white voters, not that it will have any real effects on the elections of the black members of the Legislature 2. The Legislature The Legislature (or Parliament) will be bicameral a Senate upper house)of 30 members and a House of Assembly (lower house of 100 members The Senate will consist of 20 blacks and 10 whites, and the Assembly will consist of 72 blacks and 28 whites.
In the old Legislature, there were 50 whites and only 16 blacks.
The Assembly and the Senate will have authority to amend the Constitution (except the "entrenched clauses by a 2/3 vote of approval by each chamber. The Senate is forbidden to amend money bills (similar restrictions pertain to the Senate in the U.S. Constitution and the House of Lords in Great Britain but may recommend amendments. The life of the Legislature will ordinarily be five years; the members of both will elect a President for a term of six years, and the President will appoint a Prime Minister able to command a majority in the Assembly 3. Election of the Legislature by the Common Roll and 20 white members will be elected by the White Roll. The 8 remaining white members will be elected by the 72 black and 20 white members from a list of 16 candidates nominated by the 20 white members b) Senate: The 10 white senators will be elected by the 28 white members of the Assembly and 10 of the 20 black senators will be elected by the 72 black members of the Assembly. The remaining 10 black senators will be elected by the Council of Chiefs and will be equally distributed among the Matabele and Mashona peoples, with five senators for each tribe a) House of Assembly: The 72 black members will be elected Discussion The principal objection to the Legislature and its election especially the House of Assembly is that 28% of the lower house will be white, although only 4% of the popu lation is white. Again, the reason for this fixed percentage is the protection of the white minority. The critics of the Rhodesian Constitution claim that the new government cannot be called democratic because of the disproportionate number of white seats and that the whites are guaranteed not only protection but also continued dominance in the government. 8 This view simply cannot be sustained. In the first place there will be 72 black members of the Assembly. On questions of legislation except amendment of the Constitution, a simple majority rule of 51% will be the procedure, and the 72 black members (or the 51 members of the UANC) can easily determine the futurelegislative course of the Rhodesian government. For the passage of amendments, a 2/3 vote of each chamber is required.
Again, the 72 black members can. pass such amendments. Only in the case of the entrenched clauses (see below) would the 72 black members be unable to amend the Constitution. The black members of the Legislature will certainly be able to elect the President of the country, who will appoint a black Prime Minister of the 20 cabinet members will also be black, and 10 of them will be from the UANC. In the case of such paramount legislative matters as the declaration of war, the raising of revenue, the passage of domestic legislation, and all other matters the black majority will have the initiative and the control of Rhodesia's future Fourteen In the second place, in the Anglo-American Plan, which is still the only alternative to the Internal Settlement that has been proposed and endorsed by the U.S. and U.K. Governments, there were 20 seats out of 100 in the Legislature that were reserved for the special purpose of giving "adequate representation to minority communities Although there was no specific racial clause in establishinq these seats, the clear purpose was to restrict them to the wh'ites by one way or another Specially Elected Members were to be elected by the popularly elected members of the legislature, who were to be elected by adult suffrage The.arrangements in the present Constitution of Rhodesia appear to be based on the provisions of the Anglo American Plan. Originally, when the Internal. Settlement was being negotiated between white and black Rhodesians, the whites de manded 36 seats as specially reserved and the blacks insisted on no more than 20, as in the Anglo-American Plan. As a compromise both sides finally agreed to reserve 28 seats 8 less than what the whites wanted and 8 more than what the blacks wanted.
Bishop Muzorewa and the other black members of the interim govern ment haverepeatedly defended the concept of reserved seats for whites as the best way to insure that the vitally important white minority remains in Rhodesia and as a morally proper means of ensuring that the white minority is protected under black These reserved seats, for majority rule 4. The Entrenched Clauses and Their Amendment: The "Entrenched Clauses of the Constitution are those sections that deal with the structure of the government, the financial, administrative and military provisions, and the amendment process itself They are entrenched because they are purposefully made difficult to amend in the first ten years of the new government. The amend- ment of the Constitution in other respects requires a 2/3 vote of each of the legislative chambers. The amendment of the 9 entrenched clauses requires 2/3 vote in the Senate but 78 votes in the Assembly, as opposed to 67 for other clauses. Thus, even if all the black members of the Assembly voted as a bloc, they could not pass an amendment to the entrenched clauses by them selves the 28 white members. After ten years or two parliaments, which ever is longer, the entrenched clauses will be reviewed by a special commission and their abolition will be considered tect the white minority from the "tyranny of the majority" that was of such great concern also to the Founding Fathers of the United States. Like the U:S. Constitution, the new Rhodesian Constitution is not a purely democratic document. It establiShes "checks and balances separation of powers, staggered and indirect elections a bicameral legislature, a bill of rights, and other institutional mechanisms to protect individual liberties. Unlike the U.S. Constitution, and despite the entrenched clauses, the Rhodesian Constitution is in fact very simple to amend. In the U.S. Constitution, an amendment any amendment must be passed by a 2/3 vote of each house and ratified by 3/4 of the,state legislatures. In practice this means that an amendment must be passed by 67 U.S. Senators and 290 Members of Congress as well as 38 of the 50 state legislatures (comprising about 7500 individual legislators Moreover, 34 Senators from 17 states representing only 6.7% of the population can thwart a very popular amendment.
By contrast, the entrenched clauses of the Rhodesian Constitution require only 78 members of the Assembly and 20 Senators there are no state legislatures in Rhodesia, the whole amend ment process is much simpler and far more democratic than that of the U.S. Constitution. Furthermore, in the Anglo-American Plan, there were also entrenched clauses which were specially exempted from amendment for eight years (as opposed to ten years in the present Constitution will be amended before the minimum ten years are concluded.
When Bishop Muzorewa was in the U.S. in 1978, he and other black leaders specifically stated that they expected some white legislators to vote with them in the Assembly. In order to amend the entrenched clauses before the ten year period is con cluded, at least six white votes in the Assembly would be required. The 20 white members who are directly elected will be unlikely to support such an amendment, but there is the possibility that at least some of the 8 white members who are elected by majority vote of the 92 black and white members may vote for it. Since these 8 members are dependent for their election on the 72 black members, the latter could easily assure their support to those of the 16 candidates who agree to support amendments of the en trenched clauses, and thus assure the election of white members sympathetic to them. It should be remembered also that many white members are riot experienced in dealing with political, oppositions designing political tactics, or making political deals, while They would have to have the support of at least six of Discussion: The purpose of the entrenched clauses is to pro Since It is by no means impossible that the entrenched clauses I 10 the black politicians have sometimes had wide experience in their own political organizations with such problems and have often become more politically sophisticated than the whites through their experiences in exile, education abroad, and familiarity with other political systems. Despite the safeguards for the white minority, then, it should.not be discounted that the black members and politicianjs will be able to dominate Rhodesian politics com pletely well before the ten year transition period is concluded in effect for ten years (or even longer how does this affect the prospects for majority rule in Rhodesia question, it must be considered that the entrenched clauses prevent only a few measures from being enacted by the legislature.
These measures are (1) the redistribution of power within the Rhodesian government and society and (2) the violation of the Bill of Rights same as that of the United States and British Constitutions it is difficult to think of occasions in which any majority would have legitimate reasons for tampering with it. In regard to the distribution of power, it must be recalled that a major pur pose of any written constitution is to prevent the arbitrary and irregular abuse of power, and this is a central aspect of the Anglo-American consitutional tradition. To prevent the abuse of power, it is always necessary to prevent sudden redistributions of power that would lead those losing power to resort to desperate measures or would entice those standing to gain to resort to abusive measures. The avoidance of such extreme situations was a central concept in the formation of the Rhodesian Constitution which, like the U.S. and British Constitutions,originated in civil war and under revolutionary circumstances and one of its key features is the degree to which it seeks to limit power and stabilize power' relationships within Rhodesian society.
In short, the Rhodesian Constitution seeks to distribute power in government and society in a balanced way in order to pre vent any one sector (race, class, or region) from obtaining a monopoly of power with which it could dominate and exploit the remainder of society vs. blacks, but also to Mashona vs. Matabele, rich vs. poor north vs. south, etc. The same idea of a balance of power was paramount in the British and American experience as well, and is manifested in Rhodesia through the different circumstances and historical background that have made Rhodesia what it is today and affects what it hopes to become-tomorrow. The entrenched clauses of the Rhodesian Constitution therefore do not prevent majority rule but do seek to prevent abuses of rule by a majority.
In this they are consistent with the Anglo-American constitutional traditions and with the ideas of the Anglo-American plan endorsed by the U.S. and British governments Yet, even granting that the entrenched clauses will remain In answering this Since the Bill of Rights is almost exactly the c This is true in regard not only to whites 11 5. Safeguards for Government Personnel: A final and extremely controversial aspect of the new Constitution is that through the entrenchedclauses it assures the continuity of the government personnel in the civil service, judiciary, and military forces.
It is argued by critics of the Constitution'that these provisions cleverly allow continued white domination of the government and that blacks will have no important role in exercising govern mental power. However, the provisions of the Constitution in question do not specifically bar black participation in these sections 'of the government. They merely assure the independence of these sections and their freedom from political manipulation.
In effect, of course, this means that the civil service, army and judiciary will be composed of whites for some time to come but also that blacks will gradually be entering these government positions. These provisions of the Constitution are in accord with established liberal principles that defend an independent civil service and judiciary and a non-politicized military. It is in fact difficult to see what other provisions could have been made, unless there was to be a kind of "purge" of these positions of the experienced whites who have held them until the present time or unless a kind of "affirmative action" program with quotas for black appointments was ihstituted. Both such alter natives were clearly unacceptable to either the white or black members of the Internal Settlement, nor would such alternatives work very well in the circumstances of Rhodesia.
Ambassador Young frequently compares the situation in southern Africa to the situation in the southern U.S. during the 1960s; in fact, Rhodesian whites appear to have accommodated themselves,to social change on an extremely sensitive and contro versial issue far more rapidly and easily than most Americans did during the 1960s made from a white supremacist society to one in which the principles of racial equality prevail is perhaps the most rapid transition of this kind in the modern world. All-indications are that the change will accelerate in the future as whites increasingly see black members of the security forces fighting for their country and black political leaders taking charge of the Rhodesian govern ment. Already there is far more basis for interracial harmony in Rhodesia than exists in the United States. Blacks make up over 80% of the personnel of the security forces and comprise 72% of the legislative assembly and 66% of the Senate, as opposed to 15.6% of the U.S. armed forces in 1977, 16 Of 435 members (3.7 of the House of Representatives, and no members of the U.S. Senate. Unlike the U.S. Constitution, the Rhodesian Bill of Rights specifically forbids discrimination on the basis of race. Laws that discriminated against blacks were repealed in the fall of 19
78. In short, Rhodesia has made far more progress towards a non-discriminatory society, given its point of departure, than the United States has The progress that Rhodesia has already 12 THE RHODESIAN ELECTIONS The Rhodesian Constitution authorizes certain special pro cedures to be adopted for the first election that will install the new government. The purpose of these special procedures was to ease and protect the transition and the voters during a period of civil war and rampant terrorism. The special procedures were 1) election of the 72 black members by a party list rather than by the regular constituency system 2) nomination of the 16 white candidates for membership in the Assembly by the old House of Assembly rather than by the 20 white members of the as yet un elected new Assembly; and 3) the agreement by all participating parties to form a government of national unity for the first five years of the new government the leader of the party that won the most seats in the legislature will become Prime Minister and will form his government on a proportional basis from other parties represented in the legislature. This decision was made on December 3, 1978 but more often criticised were the adoption of the Constitution itself and the supposed exclusion of the parties of the Patriotic Front from the election. The Constitution was adopted on January 30 by a vote among the white8 coloured, and Asian voters.
The purpose of this means of adoption was that Mr. Smith's government felt that it lacked a mandate for the transition from its own supporters and felt the need to establish such an en dorsement from the white and non-black minority before proceeding The black citizens of Rhodesia were not to vote in the referendum because it was assumed that they overwhelmingly approved majority rule; the test of the black acceptance of the particular Constitution adopted was to be confirmed by the turn-out in the ensuing elections the spoiled ballots were only 4.5% of the total vote, the black voters had an opportunity to register their dissent from the new Constitution but did not apparently feel that it violated majority rule the Front was repeatedly invited to participate in the elections by the government Prior to August 1978, the political organi zations of both wings of the Front operated freely inside Rhodesia. When the Front began to denounce the elections and to promise to disrupt them and "punish" citizens who voted and execute the black leaders of the government, martial law was imposed and the leaders of the Front inside Rhodesia were arrested However, as late as February 58 1979, the Executive Council of Rhodesia again invited the Patriotic Front to participate. On that date the government released a press statement that said These special provisions were relatively non-controversial Since the voting wasby secret ballot and since c As for the exclusion of the Patriotic Front from the elections, 13 The Executive Council once more extends an invitation to the leaders of the Patriotic Front to return and take part in the election and thus join with us all to ensure a peaceful transition to majority rule.
Thus, despite such terrorist atrocities as the shooting down of a civilian airliner with a Soviet missile lciuncher in September 1978, by Nkomo's forces in ZAPU,and the murder of ten of its eighteen civilian survivors afterwards, the government persisted in its invitation to the Front to participate in the elections and on March 6, 1979 again stressed that the only bar to partici pation by the Patriotic Front in the elections would be their own refusal to take part. The Executive Council also gave assurances that martial law bans on ZAPU and ZANU would be lifted if the Front would indicate its willingness to participate peacefully in the election and that nomination day would be post poned if the Front indicated that it would like to particpate so that it could nominate candidates.
It should also be noted that the internment of sympathizers with foreign enemy governments and disloyal persons is by no means unknown in the United States and Britain. During World.
War I1 the British government incarcerated Sir Oswald Mosley the British Fascist.leader,and at the present time has imposed martial law in Northern Ireland. The United States during its Civil War also interned Confederate sympathizers without benefit of habeas corpus, took similar security measures during both World War I and 11, and even during demonstrations against the Viet Nam war which could potentially have led to civil unrest THE ELECTION PROCESS Five different political parties participated in the elections held on April 17-21 because the white members were elected earlier. Although no foreign state or international organization sent official observers, there were over 70 official observers from other countries and over 160 foreign journalists in Rhodesia at the time of the election who intensively covered the electoral process and studied the voting.
Thus far, none of these observer teams or journalists has reported that the elections were not free or fair, and several have reported that they were free and fair the Rhodesian Front did not participate The American Conservative Union (ACU) sent a team of four observers who,on April 25, in a press conference in Washington, D.C released a preliminary report that concluded, after a survey of 36 polling places, interviews with 156 voters (mainly black and 221 other interviews in the polling areas, that "the Zimbabwe Rhodesian elections of April, 1979, were conducted on a free and fair basis The American Security Council (ASC) also sent a 14 team of observers,who on April 26,released a statement concluding that "The Zimbabwe-Rhodesian elections of April 1979 were to a high degree, both free and fair. The administration of the election was highly effective, efficient, and impartial, and up to a standard set by most Western democracies." Freedom House also sent a team of observers which included Leonard Sussman the Executive Director of Freedom House; Mr. Bayard Rustin President of the A. Phillips Randolph Institute and a pioneer of the American civil rights movement; and Mr. Allard Lowenstein formerly a Democratic congressman from Connecticut.
Lowenstein praised the elections as free and fair, and Mr. Rustin speaking on the McNeil-Lehrer Report on April 25, said, "I think this election was more fair than any I have observed in Africa. I Mr.
To date, no international observer team has charged that any irregularities occurred in the elections or that they were not free or fair. Several delegations pointed out that, under the circumstances of the internal insurgency and the first election for millions of voters, the elections exhibited various peculiar features, but that these did not compromise the freeness or the fairness of the elections.
In evaluating the freedom and fairness of the elections, the observers used several different tests. Among the questions they sought to answer were the following coercion, intimidation or corruption of the voters by the govern ment or the political parties secrecy of the ballot? Was care taken to preserve honest and re sponsible collection and counting of the ballots? Were ineligble voters allowed to vote, and were eligible voters not allowed to vote or discouraged from voting voting or evidence of any other vote fraud (destruction or discount ing of ballots, or "stuffing" ballots lists to scrutinize completely all of the 700 separate polling places, but on the basis of their actual examination of the polling places and procedures they visited and observed, virtually all of the observers were impressed by the fairness and freeness of the election. Some account of the electoral procedures is in order to illustrate how they worked and to discuss certain problems that have been alleged 1. voting districts with about 700 total polling places. The polls opened at 7:OO a.m. on April 17 and remained open for 12 hours per day in urban areas, though in rural areas they were open for less time due to terrorist threats and the mobility of the popu lation. The polls were manned by civil servants and policemen both black and white) who acted as polling officials and security guards Was there evidence of any Was care taken to preserve the Was there any duplication of It was, of course, impossible for the observers and journa Polling Places and Officials: Rhodesia was divided into 8 8 15 I 2. Role of the Government Prior to the beginning of the elections, the government engaged in intensive efforts to encourage citizens,to vote pamphlets, cartoon strips, and radio programs. Teams of civil servants also toured the countryside to explain the mechanisms of voting and the importance of participating. Employers in particular areas urged their workers (about 45% of the electorate to vote. Election officials asked foreign observers to report any noticed or suspected irregularities to the proper authorities 3. During the elections and for some time pre viously, some 80% of the country was placed under martial law.
This was to be the basis of considerable criticism in the U.S.
The critics alleged that free elections could not be held under martial law because the government would be in a position to manipulate the voting. Ironically, the same critics had earlier alleged that the government would be unable to hold elections at all because its forces were unable to control the countryside.
The purpose of the martial law was to protect the voters during the voting; some observers saw groups of voters being attacked by terrorists during the voting, so that the protection was pre sumably necessary. Rhodesia mobilized about 100,000 reserve troops as well as its regular security forces of about 10,000 troops to provide security during the elections for the participants and the observers. Most observers found that the voters were not noticeably intimidated by the military presence and that this presence was not very noticeable in itself. The military forces did not appear to intervene and the observers' own movement outside the regular agenda was not unduly restricted. There were some areas into which foreign observers were not allowed to travel for safety reasons, but most found that they could move about into even remote areas of the country. According to Dr. Sean Randolph, who was an observer for the ASC This encouragement was in the form of leaflets Martial Law At no time in my many discussions throughout the country was the existence of martial law raised as an issue of major popular concern may well have had a subtle coercive effect, particularly among those who would otherwise tend to be outspoken against government policies. In its administration on Rhodesia however, martial law is restrained and does not appear to be a heavy burden on the population as a whole. As a factor influencing the election process, its role in this election process has been minimized The mere existence of martial law 4. Voting Procedures: All persons over 18 who have lived in Rhodesia for at least 2 years were eligible to vote. Voting was by secret ballot, and the ballots were stamped and closed by polling officials after being cast voters were required to dip their hands in a special invisible fluid that could be detected only when placed under a fluroscope To prevent double voting 16 thus ensuring protection against later terrorist retribution.
To offset the problem of illiteracy the ballots were marked with the symbols of the participating parties as well as with their initials. There were reports that at least two districts returned polls of 101 thus raising the question of whether the ballots had been tampered with. However, these returns were due to the high mobility of the population and the fact that there was no pre-registration of voters. Some rural voters cast their ballots in urban areas to avoid terrorist attacks or later retribution if identified as a voter who defied the Patriotic Front. Thus, voters moved across district borders to cast their ballots and this movement gave the impression that there was an inflated final return I 5. Terrorist Intimidation: The Patriotic Front promised re peatedly prior to and during the elections to disrupt the electoral process and punish voters who participated viewed citizens who had been told not to vote by the Front but had come many miles to vote anyway proceeding on April 20, ZAPU announced over Radio Lusaka Some observers inter Even as the election was The end is in sight be they,black or white, who stand in the path of the revolution, who other than those that side with the enemy who other than Smith and his black running dogs of war, quisling Abel Muzorewa, stooge Jeremiah Chirau and Sithole to them we say: Time is running out, time is over. Death to imperialism and imperialists. Down with puppets, quislings, sycophants and stooges. Viva the people's ZIPRA forces. Forward with the revolution.4 Despite these threats, the level of terrorist violence was not great from Salisbury, on April 19, and Gen. Patrick Walls, Supreme Commander of the Security Forces, reported on April 20 that guerrilla activity was much lower than expected. Some nocturnal raids on polling places occurred, but no one was killed and the voters cast their ballots. general mobilization and the start of the elections, 203 guerrillas and 11 security forces personnel had been killed. Two ZANU candidates were beaten to death by members of Rcbert Mugabe's faction in Mashonaland West during the election, and on April 20 Robert Hove, a member of Muzorewa's UANC, was shot dead in Lusaka after complaining of being followed by members of Nkomo's ZAPU this incident may have been related to the elections. General One District Commissioner was murdered at Makai, about 125 miles Gen. Walls reported that in the week between the 4. Foreign Broadcast Information Service, Sub Saharan Africa, April 20, 1979 p. E5 17 Walls also denied that the guerril.las controlled any parts of Rhodesia and denied also that any part of the country was closed to the security forces. The low level of guerrilla attacks during the election appears to corroborate General Walls' state ment, especially when it is considered that for months the guerrillas had promised to disrupt the elections with a major offensive. Only one week before the elections, Rhodesian commandos attacked Nkomo's own house and headquarters in Lusaka, Zambia a short distance from President Kaunda's house, and narrowly missed capturing Nkomo himself. These events seem to indicate that reports that the guerrillas are winning the war, control much of the country, or enjoy very much popular support are untrue THE CRITICISMS OF REV. SITHOLE A-final point of controversy arose after the elections when the Reverend Sithole on April 24 charged that there had been gross irregularities" in the electoral process and questioned its validity. Since Sithole is an important member of the Execu tive Council and an articulate defender of the Internal Settle ment, his charges were bound to excite controversy. However evaluation of his charges must take into account the fact that Sithole did not do nearly as well in the election as he had at first thought. He made his charges soon after the returns from around Bulawayo in Matabeleland came in. In this area, Sithole had been thought to be much more popular, but he lost votes to Chief Ndiweni because the Chief ran on a platform of a federal structure of government to protect the minority Matabele tribe from Mashona domination. Asked about Sithole's charges, Bayard Rustin stated that at 11:OO a.m Sithole had stated that the elections were fair and.free; at 2:OO p.m the returns from Bulawayo came in; at 4:OO p.m Sithole denounced the elections as a fraud. Dr. Sean Randolph, an ASC observer, suggested that Sithole's charges were a classic example of sour grapes David B. Ottaway, Rhodesia correspondent for the Washington Post in Salisbury, who was present at Sithole's news conference, reported that Sithole "provided no details to substantiate his charges and that Sithole "repeatedly contradicted himself 5 Mr. Robert Henderson of the Georgetown University Center for Strategic and International Studies,and a member of the Freedom House observer team, interviewed Sithole and other members of his Party after the allegations were made. Mr. Henderson and other members of the Freedom House team found that the irregularities that have actually been alleged were not sufficient to invalidate the elections, even if they are true. It is impossible to take the Rev. Sithole's charges.more seriously at this time until he and his supporters substantiate them more fully 5. Washington Post, April 25, 1979, p. A1 18 RHODESIA AND AFRICA The elections in Rhodesia and the strong possibility that both the United States and Great Britain will soon lift sanctions raise the question of the relationship.of the new government to the rest of Africa. Two problems are especially relevant here 1) how do the Rhodesian elections compare with the political systems prevalent in the rest of Africa? and 2) what will be the effect of lifting sanctions on the relationships between the rest of Africa and the U.S. as well as Rhodesia?
Political Freedom in Africa There are 53 sovereign states on the continent of Atrica(includ5ng island states Of these states the highly respected organization, Freedom House, in its Ninth Annual Comparative Survey of Freedom for 1978, classified only four as "Free Botswana, Djibouti, Gambia, and Upper Volta 19 as "Partly Free including Rhodesia and South Africa and 30 as "Not ,Free 18 African states were described as "military dominated and, according to Professor Jon Kraus, writing in Contemporary History In late 1978, more than half the independent countries in Sub-Saharan Africa were ruled by their military officer corps O f the 19.Sub-Saharan states that currently have military regimes, only 4 have seen a military government return power to civilian rulers...and in the Sudan, in 1964 civilian political forces had to wrest power from the military by force in only one other African country, Sierra Leone A military regime,has been tu E ned out In terms of multiparty governments, 30 of the 53 states have only one political party and, 7 have no political parties at all Rhodesia has several parties, though the Rhodesian Front has until recently, been the dominant one In discussing the degree to which democratic values and in stitutions are accepted norms in Africa, therefore, we are dis cussing less than half of the states on the continent and only about 18% of the population of the continent; However, even in these states, democratic political systems and civil bnd political freedoms are often extremely limited realities In Djibouti for example, classified as fully "Free" in the Freedom House survey the persistence of ethnic conflict between 'the Afar minority and the dominant Issa majority has led to terrorist incidents and the imposition of strict police controls in the Afar community.
According to To The Point feelings of revenge among many Issa officials have resulted in Afars being excluded from a number of key posts in the government, civil service and security forces!I7 6.
History, March 1979, p. 122 7. To The Point, November 10, 1978, p. 40 From Military to Civilian Regimes in Ghana and Nigeria" Contemporaq 19 AFRICAN MODELS FOR RHODESIA Critics of the Rhodesian settlement often suggest that Rhodesia should conform to the political aspirations of its neigh bors in Africa and that both the white minority government of Ian Smith as well as the present settlement are at odds with the mainstream of African political developments. It may be fairly asked of the critics of Rhodesia what other African states should Rhodesia take as a model? Sometimes the Front Line States are suggested for this role, as they have been the most active in opposing Smith's government as well as the present one. However with the exception of Botswana, the Front Line States are all one-party regimes. Angola and Mozambique are ruled by pro-Soviet Marxist parties that have driven out their white minorities pursued ruinous economic policies, depended heavily upon Cuban and East German militaryassistance, and have repressed and killed political rivals rule of Julius Nyerere. According to the U.S. State Department Tanzania also is a one-party state under the In contrast to its stance on violations of human rights in other countries, Tan.zania tends to ignore, or at best to justify in the interests of state security, most domestic violations of human rights. I Zambia is also a one party state. In 1978 President Kenneth Kaunda promoted changes in his country's constitution to make a political challenge to his power impossible during that. year's election. In 1972 Kaunda arrested over 200 of his leading political opponents and kept them in prison while he manipulated the trans formation of Zambia into a one-party state under his control. Even in Botswana, the most democratic state of the Front Line States groups that inhabit the country leading to some political violence and racial persecution. In any case, Botswana is landlocked be tween South Africa and Rhodesia and has been thus stabilized by its unique geogra hical position and economic dependence on the white ruled states. there have been recent tensions among the political and ethnic Another potentia1,model for Rhodesia that is often suggested by the critics is Kenya, which has been under Jomo'Kenyatta one of the most stable .a-nd prosperous states in Africa. However Kenya originally had some constitutional safeguards not unlike those in the present Rhodesian Constitution. Intertribal conflicts soon after independence in 1964 resulted in riots and mutinies in the army that were quelled only with British assistance unrest led to the suppression of trade unions and rival political parties by Kenyatta, and some political rivals such as Tom Mboya and Mwang.1 Kariuki as well as others have been assassinated.
The Kenyan Constitution was rapidly stripped of its checks and balaiices provisions, and, in the 1960s, Kenya was effectively converted into a one-party state ruled by the Kenyan African National Union (KANU) under Kenyatta. In 1974 Kenyatta was re-elected for Continued 8. See Samuel T. Francis The Front-Line States: The Realities in Southern Africa Heritage Foundation Backgrounder #78 20 a third five year term in an uncontested,one-party election.
Although Kenya, after Kenyatta's death in 1978, indeed remains one of the most stable and successful African states, tribal tensions persist between the dominant Kikuyu and subordinate Luo and other gyoups, and the country's stability and progress have been due more to Kenyatta's iron-fisted control than to the evolution of democratic institutions.
There are, therefore, few other African states to which Rhodesia can look as models for democratic development, and any successful progress toward democracy must derive largely from the circumstances and conditions peculiar to Rhodesia and its people.
Possibly more disturbing than the absence of political democracy havebeen the gruesome civil wars that have characterized other ATrican countries, divided as Rhodesia is by tribal, religious or ethnic factions FRATRICIDE IN AFRICA Several African states have become infamous for the system atic brutality, repression, and corruption that seem to be institutionalized. The recently deposed dictator of Uganda, Idi Amin Dada, has been responsible for 50,000 to 300,000 political killings from the time of the military coup in 1971 that brought him to power to February 1977, according to Amnesty Inter national. Amin's rule resulted in precipitous decline for the previously growing economy of Uganda. Even before Amin, however his predecessor, Milton Obote, had suspended the Constitution in 1965 and by 1969 was seeking to transform Uganda into a socialist state.
Amin's bizarre'personality. In Burundi, for example, the tribal elite is composed of the Tutsi tribe, and in 1972, the Tutsi embarked on-a systematic slaughter of the rival Hutu tribe 200,000 Hutus including all educated and white collar tribesmen and Hutu school children had been killed by the end of 1973.
Another 100,000 had been driven into exile. In Rwanda, however the Hutus are dominant and the Tutsi the subordinate tribe the first year of independence, in 1962-63, about 20,000 Tutsi were killed by the Hutus. In Nigeria in 1967 about 30,000 Ibo tribesmen were murdered and over 1 million driven into exile.
In the Central African Republic, Jean Bedeel Bokassa seized power in a coup in 1966, had himself elected president for life in 1972, and in 1977 declared himself "Emperor Bokassa I," and changed the name of the country to the "Central African Empire."
In a coronation ceremony consciously modeled on that of Napoleon I Bokassa crowned himself Emperor and spent about $26 million on the ceremony, approximately 25% of the national in come of the country Other African states also resemble Uganda, though without About In Bokassa has outlawed the mention of the 21 words "election" and democracy, made theft punishable by amputation of the ears and the right hand and has personally supervised and participated in beating convicts to death with clubs and sledge hammers. In Ethiopia, 5,000 university and high school students were killed in the autumn of 1977, before the self-proclaimed "Red Terror" of the Marxist regime that seized power in 1974 r More examples of this kind could be cited, but the general pattern is clear systematic atrocities and irresponsible conduct "typical" of African politics, they play a prominent role in sustaining the power of the factions and personalities that have become dominant in several countries An increasingly common pattern in African political culture is that governments are changed by coup d'etat rather than by elections are financed by intertribal exploitation and unrestricted foreign credit rather than by orthodox economic development, and are sustained in power by the genocidal killing of their rivals rather than by a national consensus democracy whether "purenor "limited barely exists in Africa and is seriously threatened where it does exist. Any reasonable attempt to evaluate the existence of free institutions in Rhodesia must take into account the political culture of the region, and by the standards that prevail in southern as well as in most other parts of Africa, Rhodesia emerges as one of the freest countries on the continent Although it may be an exaggeration to call such In short LIFTING SANCTIONS AND U.S. RELATIONS WITH'AFRICA The Carter Administration and its supporters often argue that lifting sanctions on Rhodesia will impair the progress the U.S has made in the. relations with other African states. No other African state (aside from South Africa) supports the Internal Settlement or the recent elections, and many vocally denounce the Rhodesian government strategically and economically valuable natural resources, it is often argued that to endorse the Rhodesian government in the face of their opposition would alienate them from the U.S. and raise the possiblity of embargoes or price increases for their natural resources. Nigeria, for example, is often cited as one of the foremost opponents of the Internal Settlement. Since it is the second most important source of foreign oil for the U.S after Saudi Arabia it is argued that lifting sanctions might lead to Nigerian reprisals against the U.S. Even without such reprisals some states such as Tanzania are very influential in the U.N. or other international organizations and could curtail co-operation with the U.S. and move closer to the Soviet bloc several considerations should be kept in mind. First, very similar Because many of these states contain On the surface, the argument has some plausibility, but 22 arguments apply also to the U.S. relations with Israel. Like Rhodesia, 1srael.h opposed by all its neighbors (the Arab states in the Middle East and northern Africa except Egypt, and Saudi Arabia is the single largest source of oil imports. These con siderations did not deter the Carter Administration from sponsoring the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty, despite repeated Arab threats of boycotts and reprisals, including terrorist attacks on U.S. citizens and institutions. The Administration instead argued that attempts could be made after the signing of the treaty to include the Arab states. This approach, emphasizing U.S. leadership and influence in the world, contrasts with the policy toward Rhodesia should follow the lead of the African states rather than try to take the lead itself in promoting a settlement of the Rhodesian crisis. Ambassador Ydung, for example, still maintains that despite the Administration's insistence that the Patriotic Front participate in the settlement and despite its designation of the Rhodesian government as an illegal regime, the U.S. is neutral in the conflict, an "honest broker" trying to mediate a settle ment. Nor did the Administration insist that Israel include the PLO in the negotiations, despite the fact that the U.S. and Great Britain demand the inclusion of the Patriotic Front in the Rhodesian government The Administration argues that the U.S.
Secondly it must be asked, in what realistic sense are the African states in a position to take reprisals on the U.S? While it is true that Nigeria is the second largest source of foreign oil, it is also true that the Nigerian economy faces severe problems in the near future. According to International Finance of the Chase Manhattan Bank, "Nigeria is banking on its proven oil reserves and vast LNG potential to return it to the path of brisk development in the 1980s."9 90% of Nigeria's export revenues derive from oil, real growth slowed in 1977, imports rose by 17%, and the inflation rate rose to nearly 30 sold to the United States, whereas only 17% of American imported oil comes from Nigeria. Nigeria uses some of its oil revenue to purchase goods and services from the U.S which amounted to 985 million last year, including $300 million in agricultural products. Substantial oil sales to the United States and other nations have not generated revenues sufficient to maintain the large capital expenditures of Nigeria, projected at over 53 billion in the next five years. In order to cope with its contractual obligations under its development plan, Nigeria had to arrange a one billion Eurodollar loan last year. Thus for Nigeria to abruptly curtail oil exports to the U.S. would lead to grave dis ruptions in its economy and reprisals by U.S. and other Western financial supporters Moreover, between 45 and 50% of Nigeria's oil exports are 9. 1nternationaA:F.inance of the Chase Manhattan Bank, March 5, 1979. 23 In short, Nigeria is in no position to link its economic policy to events in Rhodesia. Indeed, an improvement in relations with Rhodesia could benefit both countries considerably.
Similar situations exist in other African states. In mid 1978, Zaire had a total foreign debt of $2.6 billion and was in default on $210 million in principal and interest. A consortium of 46 Western banks agreed to lend Zaire another $218 million on the condition that the government agreed to repay its debts and cooperate with IMF rules and restrictions on its economic policies. Zaire's President Mobutu Sese Soko has been an im portant anti-Communist force in southern Africa and has supported anti-Communist guerrillas in Angola. His financial dependence on the West and his political opposition to the Soviet presence in southern Africa make him unlikely to exert serious pressure on the U.S. to retain sanctions.
Zambia also, although a host country for Joshua Nkomo's ZAPU guerrillas, agreed in the fall of 1978 to use Rhodesian rail links to obtain needed imports, and one member of the Central Committee of UNIP, the only legal party in Zambia, suggested that after the elections in Rhodesia, Zambia might expel the ZAPU forces from its territory. Angola, which has been heavily dependent on Cuban military aid to maintain its Marxist regime, still relies on the Gulf Oil facili
- Beaver Shaw
- Nairobi, Kenya
- I an ex member of both 7 and 8 Squadron's of the Rhodesian war spending most of my operational time on Seven Squadron as a K Car gunner. I was credited for shooting down a fixed wing aircraft from a K Car on the 9 August 1979. This blog is from articles for research on a book which I HAVE HANDED THIS MANUSCRIPT OVER TO MIMI CAWOOD WHO WILL BE HANDLING THE PUBLICATION OF THE BOOK OF WHICH THERE WILL BE VERY LIMITED COPIES AVAILABLE Contact her on email@example.com The latest news is that the Editing is now done and we can expect to start sales and deliveries by the end of April 2011
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