Zimbabwe Rhodesia

Zimbabwe Rhodesia

Infobox Former Country
native_name =
conventional_long_name = Republic of Zimbabwe-Rhodesia
common_name = Zimbabwe Rhodesia
continent = Africa
region = Southern Africa
country = Zimbabwe
era = Cold War
status = Unrecognized state
government_type = Republic|
event_start =
year_start = 1979
date_start = June 1
event_end = Disestablished
year_end = 1979
date_end = December 12|
p1 = Rhodesia
flag_p1 = Flag of Rhodesia.svg
s1 = Southern Rhodesia
flag_s1 = Flag of Rhodesia (1964).svg|


image_map_caption =
capital = Salisbury
national_anthem =
common_languages = English
religion =
currency = Rhodesian dollar|
leader1 = Josiah Zion Gumede
title_leader = President
deputy1 = Abel Muzorewa
title_deputy = Prime Minister
stat_year1 = 1978
stat_area1 = 390580
stat_pop1 = 6930000
footnotes =
History of Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe Rhodesia (pronEng|zɪmˈbɑːbweɪ rəʊˈdiːʒə), officially the Republic of Zimbabwe Rhodesia, was an unrecognized state that existed from June 1, 1979, to December 12, 1979. Zimbabwe Rhodesia was preceded by the unrecognized Republic of Rhodesia and was briefly followed by the re-established British colony of Southern Rhodesia. In essence, this colony had never officially ceased to exist. In about three months, the re-established colony of Southern Rhodesia declared its independence as the Republic of Zimbabwe.

An "Internal Settlement" between the Smith administration of the Republic of Rhodesia and moderate African nationalist parties not involved in the Rhodesian Bush War led to the end of white minority government and the birth of biracial rule in Zimbabwe Rhodesia.


As early as 1960, African nationalist political organizations in Rhodesia agreed that the country's name should be "Zimbabwe" and used that name as part of the titles of their organizations. The internal settlement government was intended to be a partnership between the existing Rhodesian government and the black African population, and that government therefore adopted a combined name.Fact|date=May 2007

Government of Zimbabwe Rhodesia

During its brief existance, the Republic of Zimbabwe Rhodesia had one election which resulted in its short-lived biracial government.


Adapting the constitution of the Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI), the Republic of Zimbabwe-Rhodesia was governed by a Prime Minister and Cabinet chosen from the majority party in a one-hundred member House of Assembly. A forty member Senate acted as the upper House, and both together chose a figurehead President in whose name the government was conducted.

Legislative branch

House of Assembly

Of the one-hundred members of the House of Assembly, seventy-two were 'common roll' members for whom the electorate was every adult citizen. All of these members were Africans. Twenty seats were elected by mostly white constituencies using the previous electoral roll of Rhodesia; although this did not actually exclude non-whites, it was very rare for black Africans to meet the qualification requirements. A delimitation commission sat in 1978 to determine how to reduce the previous fifty constituencies to twenty. The remaining eight seats were for white non-constituency members, and were elected by the other 92 members of the House of Assembly once their election was complete. In the only election held by the Republic of Zimbabwe Rhodesia, Bishop Abel Muzorewa's United African National Council (UANC) won a majority in the common roll seats while Ian Smith's Rhodesian Front (RF) won all of the white seats. Ndabaningi Sithole's Zimbabwe African National Union (ZAPU) won twelve seats.


The Senate of Zimbabwe-Rhodesia had 40 members. Ten members each were returned by the white members of the House of Assembly and the common roll members, and five members each by the council of Chiefs of Mashonaland and Matabeleland. The remaining members were directly appointed by the President under the advice of the Prime Minister.

Executive branch


The President of Zimbabwe-Rhodesia was elected by the members of the Parliament, sitting together. At the election on May 28, 1979, Josiah Zion Gumede of the United African National Council (UANC)Library of Congress Foreign Affairs and National Defense Division, United States Congress. "Chronologies of Major Developments in Selected Areas of Foreign Affairs."] and Timothy Ngundu Bateson Ndlovu of the United National Federal Party (UNFP) were nominated. Gumede won by 80 votes to 33, as reported in the "Daily Telegraph" of May 29, 1979.

Prime Minister

Starting with fifty-one seats out of one-hundred, Abel Muzorewa of the UANC was appointed as Prime Minister. He formed a joint government with Ian Smith, the former Prime Minister of Rhodesia, who was a Minister without Portfolio. Muzorewa also attempted to include the other African parties who had lost the election. Rhodesian Front members served as Muzorewa's Ministers of Justice, Agriculture, and Finance. White control over the country's civil service, judiciary, police and armed forces continued.

However, once in office, Muzorewa sought to drop 'Rhodesia' from the country's name, and in fact adopted a new national flag that featured the Zimbabwe soapstone bird. The national airline, Air Rhodesia, was also renamed Air Zimbabwe. The name did manage to appear on some issues of Rhodesia stamps overprinted with "ZimbabweRhodesia" postage stamps; issues of 1978 still used "Rhodesia," and the next stamp issues were in 1980, after the change to just "Zimbabwe," and were inscribed accordingly.

End of Zimbabwe Rhodesia

The Lancaster House Agreement stipulated that control over the country be returned to the United Kingdom in preparation for elections to be held in the spring of 1980. On December 11, 1979, the Constitution of Zimbabwe-Rhodesia (Amendment) (No. 4) Act received Presidential Assent and Lord Soames arrived the next day to take control. The name of the country formally reverted to Southern Rhodesia at this time, although the name Zimbabwe Rhodesia remained in many of the country's institutions. From December 12, 1979, to April 17, 1980, Zimbabwe Rhodesia was again the British colony of Southern Rhodesia. On April 18, Southern Rhodesia became the independent Republic of Zimbabwe.

Follow on

During the first election for the Republic of Zimbabwe, Ndabaningi Sithole's Zimbabwe African National Union (ZAPU) allied itself with Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe African People's Union (ZAPU). The alliance created Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF). After achieving majority rule, the alliance split apart and Mugabe went about creating a "dominant party state."


ee also

*Colonial history of Southern Rhodesia
*Rhodesian Bush War
*History of the Republic of Zimbabwe
*Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland
*Colony of Southern Rhodesia
*Republic of Rhodesia
*Republic of Zimbabwe

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