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The Rhodesian Front was a conservative political party in Rhodesia[6][7][8] (or Southern Rhodesia) when the country was under white minority rule. Led first by Winston Field, and, from 1964, by Ian Smith, the Rhodesian Front was the successor to the Dominion Party, which was the main opposition party in Southern Rhodesia during the Federation period. The RF was formed in March 1962 by Whites opposed to any immediate or short-term transition to Black majority rule. It won power at the general election that December. In successive elections (in which 50 of the 66 parliamentary seats were reserved for A-Roll voters, who had to meet a higher standard of qualifications, increasing the proportion of White Africans who came under this roll) between 1964 and 1979, the RF was returned to office, with a large majority; and Ian Smith as Prime Minister.

Rhodesian Front
Historical leaderIan Smith
Founded1 March 1962 (1962-03-01)
Dissolved6 June 1981 (1981-06-06)
Preceded byDominion Party[1]
Succeeded byRepublican Front
HeadquartersSalisbury, Rhodesia
Political positionRight-wing
Colours     Purple      White
Party flag


The RF had fifteen founding principles, which included the preservation of each racial group's right to maintain its own identity, the preservation of 'proper standards' through a policy of advancement through merit, the maintenance of the Land Apportionment Act, which formalised the racial imbalance in the ownership and distribution of land, opposition to compulsory racial integration, job protection for white workers, and maintenance of the government's right to provide separate amenities for different races.

Following the elections leading to the country's independence in 1980, as the Republic of Zimbabwe, the RF won all 20 parliamentary seats reserved for whites in the power-sharing agreement that it had forged. On June 6, 1981, the party changed its name to the Republican Front, and on July 21, 1984 it became the Conservative Alliance of Zimbabwe. Eleven of its twenty parliamentarians defected over the following four years, but the party again won 15 of the 20 parliamentary seats reserved for whites in the 1985 election. In 1986, the CAZ opened its membership to Zimbabweans of all races.[9] In 1987 the ruling government abolished all reserved seats for whites.[10] When these were abolished many white MPs became independents or joined the ruling ZANU party.

Electoral historyEdit

House electionsEdit

Year Popular Vote Percentage Seats Government
1962 38,282 54.9%
35 / 65
1965 28,175 78.4%
50 / 65
1970 39,066 76.8%
50 / 66
1974 55,597 77.0%
50 / 66
1977 57,348 85.4%
50 / 66
1979 11,613 (White Roll) 82.0%
28 / 100
1980 13,621 (White Roll) 83.0%
20 / 100

See alsoEdit

Further readingEdit

  • Rhodesians Never Die, Godwin, P. & Hancock, I., 1995. Baobab Books, Harare, Zimbabwe.
  • Pollard, William C. A Career of Defiance: The Life of Ian Smith, Agusan River Publishing Co., 1992. Topeka, KS.
  • McLaughlin, John . "Ian Smith and the Future of Zimbabwe," The National Review, October 30, 1981, pp. 2168–70.
  • Facts on File, 1984 ed., p. 574.


  1. ^ Lipschutz, Mark R.; Rasmussen, R. Kent (1989). University of California Press (ed.). Dictionary of African Historical Biography. p. 265.
  2. ^ Preston, Matthew (2004). I.B.Tauris (ed.). Ending Civil War: Rhodesia and Lebanon in Perspective. p. 107.
  3. ^ West, Michael O. (2002). Indiana University Press (ed.). The Rise of an African Middle Class: Colonial Zimbabwe, 1898-1965. p. 229.
  4. ^ Hume, Ian (2018). Outskirts Press (ed.). From the Edge of Empire: A Memoir. p. 149.
  5. ^ Roscoe, Adrian (2007). Columbia University Press (ed.). The Columbia Guide to Central African Literature in English Since 1945. p. 35.
  6. ^ Hsu, Chia Yin; Luckett, Thomas M.; Vause, Erika (2015). The Cultural History of Money and Credit: A Global Perspective. Lexington Books. p. 142. ISBN 9781498505932.
  7. ^ Onslow, Sue (2009). Cold War in Southern Africa: White Power, Black Liberation. Routledge. p. 92. ISBN 9781135219338.
  8. ^ Butler, L. J. (2002). Britain and Empire: Adjusting to a Post-Imperial World. I.B.Tauris. p. 164. ISBN 9781860644481. Retrieved 19 February 2017.
  9. ^ Ian Smith Invites Blacks to Join His Party, The New York Times, July 23, 1984, p. A5.
  10. ^ Zimbabwe whites lose special political status. End of reserved seats in Parliament brings one-party state closer, Christian Science Monitor, August 25, 1987