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Volume 978: debated on Monday 11 February 1980

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asked the Lord Privy Seal what arrangements are being made for the withdrawal of the Commonwealth monitoring force from Rhodesia; and what timetable is being set.

This is at present under consideration. A decision will be taken in due course, taking into account the undertakings given at Lancaster House.

asked the Lord Privy Seal what arrangements exist for reporting and recording ceasefire violations in Rhodesia and for an independent attribution of responsibility.

Allegations of ceasefire violations may be raised at meetings of the Ceasefire Commission. Attribution of responsibility for proven breaches is decided at meetings of the commission, on which representatives of the Patriotic Front's forces and the Rhodesian forces sit under the chairmanship of the Governor's military adviser representing the monitoring force.

asked the Lord Privy Seal whether, in the light of experience to date, he has any proposals for strengthening the Commonwealth monitoring force and the administrative back-up made available to the Governor.

asked the Lord Privy Seal how many auxiliaries are in the service of Bishop Muzorewa; where they are deployed; and how they are monitored.

No auxiliaries are in the service of Bishop Muzorewa. The auxiliaries are part of the Rhodesian armed forces and are monitored in accordance with Lancaster House agreements.

asked the Lord Privy Seal what arrangements are in force for monitoring Selous Scouts in Rhodesia; where they are based; and whether he is satisfied with the arrangements.

All Rhodesian forces are monitored. The Selous Scouts are based in Salisbury. The commander of the monitoring force is satisfied with the arrangements for monitoring all the Rhodesian forces.

asked the Lord Privy Seal what is the nearest Selous Scout base to Headlands, Rusapi; how it is monitored; and what reports have been received about activities inside or outside that base in the last week.

The Selous Scouts are based in Salisbury. The Rhodesian forces are deployed under the Governor's authority as required.

asked the Lord Privy Seal what consultations have been held with Commonwealth Governments about keeping the Commonwealth monitoring force in Rhodesia after the elections.

My right hon. and noble Friend said at Lancaster House that, if the parties concerned so wished, the Commonwealth monitoring force would stay in Rhodesia until the independence Government was formed and independence granted. The timing of the monitoring force's withdrawal is under consideration.

asked the Lord Privy Seal whether he will initiate an investigation into the unsupervised operations of the Rhodesian auxiliary forces in coercing villages.

All complaints against the auxiliaries are thoroughly investigated and where appropriate prosecutions have been instituted or disciplinary action taken. The Commonwealth monitoring force carries out regular checks on the auxiliaries.

asked the Lord Privy Seal what arrangements have been made for the departure of Lord Soames from Southern Rhodesia; and on what date.

asked the Lord Privy Seal whether any representations have been made to the South African Government for the withdrawal of fire force units operating in the South-East of Rhodesia and composed entirely of South Africans.

No. It would not in any case be appropriate since all units of the Rhodesian forces are under Rhodesian command and control, though some of them contain South African personnel.

asked the Lord Privy Seal how many polling places there will be in each of the electoral districts for the common-roll elections in Zimbabwe-Rhodesia which take place shortly.

About 335 static polling booths and 350 mobile polling booths are to be used throughout the country. The precise allocation of these polling booths in each electoral district will be decided in the next few days.

asked the Lord Privy Seal how many major ceasefire violations in Rhodesia have been reported to date; and how many of these have been attributed to (a) auxiliary forces and (b) the Selous Scouts.

153 allegations of ceasefire violations have been made to the Ceasefire Commission. The Security Force auxiliaries have been found responsible for one breach of the ceasefire agreement. No such cases have arisen in respect of the Selous Scouts.

asked the Lord Privy Seal what arrangements are being made to assist the Election Commissioner in his task of reporting to Her Majesty's Government on the conduct of the elections in Rhodesia.

The Election Commissioner will be assisted by some 90 salaried British election supervisors and 20 British observers. The supervisors have been recruited largely from local government and former members of Her Majesty's Overseas Civil Service who have had experience of organising elections overseas. The majority are already deployed in Rhodesia. Their task is to supervise the elections. The observers are distinguished former diplomats, academics and local government officials. They have been chosen on the basis of their experience, including experience of Africa and in the public service and local government. The task of the observers is to satisfy themselves that the elections are genuinely free and fair and to report their views and observations to the Election Commissioner for inclusion in his report to the Government on the conduct of the elections.