The 1969 republican constitution of the Rhodesia was intended to secure recognition for Ian Smith’s 1965 UDI. Given the evasion by significant nations of the trade sanctions imposed by the UN, the gamble was that this de facto recognition would become de jure.
The 1969 republican constitution of the Rhodesia was intended to secure recognition for Ian Smith’s 1965 UDI. Given the evasion by significant nations of the trade sanctions imposed by the UN, the gamble was that this de facto recognition would become de jure. But it was unlikely because the framers of the 1969 constitution rejected the aim of progress to majority rule through a quali ed franchise. They offered the Africans only the goal of parity of racial representation. The common roll was replaced by a separate African roll and a ‘European’ one which included the Asian and coloured populations.
The African ability to qualify for the vote was governed by the ratio of income tax they paid in comparison to the ‘Europeans’. In 1970 Ian Smith welcomed an overture from Edward Heath’s new Conservative government to re-open the Anglo-Rhodesian negotiations. Lord Goodman succeeded in November 1972 to secure an agreed compromise, restoring the aim of eventual majority rule. The exiled nationalist insurgents’ efforts to ignite an armed insurgency were petering out by the time of the settlement. It therefore fell to the nationalists in Rhodesia, bent on majority rule, to stymie these effort.
They succeeded because the British insisted that any settlement had to be endorsed by the majority of the people of Rhodesia. A referendum would mean a loss of face for Ian Smith. Lord Pearce’s judicial commission’s assessment insisted on ‘normal political activity’ forcing Smith to release a significant number of nationalist activists from detention. The leisurely formation of the commission gave these activists time to organize a campaign of rejection, the result of which the Pearce Commission could not, or chose not, to ignore.
Dr J.R.T Wood
Richard Wood was born in Bulawayo, Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). He is a graduate of Rhodes and Edinburgh universities. He was a Commonwealth Scholar and the Ernest Oppenheimer Memorial Research Fellow at the University of Rhodesia and thereafter held a personal chair at the University of Durban-Westville, South Africa. He is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and of the Alexandrian Defence Group. Fortunate to have sole access to the then closed papers of Sir Roy Welensky, he wrote The Welensky Papers: A History of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland: 1953–1963. Based again on sole access to the hitherto closed papers of Ian Smith and other private collections, he published the complementary works So Far and No Further! Rhodesia’s Bid for Independence during the Retreat from Empire, 1959–1965 and A Matter of Weeks Rather than Months:
The Impasse between Harold Wilson and Ian Smith; Sanctions, Aborted Settlements and War: 1965–1969. In the military history field, he has published: The War Diaries of André Dennison, Counter-Strike from the Sky: The Rhodesian All-Arms Fireforce in the War in the Bush: 1974–1980, Africa@War Volume 1: Operation Dingo: Rhodesian Raid on Chimoio and Tembué, 1977 and Volume 5: Zambezi Valley Insurgency: Early Rhodesian Bush War Operations. He has contributed chapters to other works: ‘ The Rhodesian issue in the historical perspective’, in A.J. Venter’s Challenge: Southern Africa in the Revolutionary Context, ‘Fire Force’ in Venter’s The Chopper Boys: Helicopter Warfare in Africa and ‘Countering the Chimurenga: The Rhodesian Counterinsurgency Campaign 1962–1980’ in Daniel Marston’s & Carter Malkasian’s Counterinsurgency in Modern Warfare. He has also contributed articles and reviews to a variety of journals including the Journal of African Studies (Pretoria), Military Illustrated (London), the Marine Corps Gazette (Quantico), Small Wars and Insurgencies (London), Military History (Leesburg), The Journal of the Army Historical Research (London) and the Lion & Tusk (Southampton). From 1956–9 and 1970–80, he served in the 1st and 8th Battalions of the Rhodesia Regiment, and as second-in-command of the research section of the Mapping & Research Unit of the Rhodesian Intelligence Corps. He lives in Cape Town, South Africa.