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Rhodesia

Volume 978: debated on Friday 15 February 1980

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asked the Lord Privy Seal what complaints have been made in the Election Council in Zimbabwe-Rhodesia about the presence of armed men at election campaign meetings; and what is the outcome of the Governor's investigation of those complaints.

No specific complaints about the presence of armed men at election meetings have been made at meetings of the Election Council. However, most parties have complained at intimidation and harassment which in some cases have prevented the holding of election meetings by the political leaders.

asked the Lord Privy Seal how voters in the common-roll elections in Zimbabwe-Rhodesia this month will know when the mobile polling booths are to be at particular locations.

Detailed schedules of the stops and order of stops to be made by mobile polling stations will be published by posters and other means well in advance of the elections.

asked the Lord Privy Seal if the perimeters of any of the ceasefire assembly points in Rhodesia were mined before occupation.

asked the Lord Privy Seal whether he has any proposals to withdraw the Commonwealth monitoring force from Rhodesia before polling day or before the election result is declared.

Decisions on the timing of the monitoring force's withdrawal will be taken in the light of developments. The Government will announce their intentions in due course.

asked the Lord Privy Seal what measures he proposes to take to ensure that Rhodesian forces and the guerrilla forces are kept apart after polling day.

The Government expect that both sides will continue to observe the ceasefire agreement. Decisions on the future of the armed forces will be for the newly elected, independent Government. We are pursuing arrangements for the Patriotic Front forces in the assembly places.

asked the Lord Privy Seal whether he has any proposals to ask the Commonwealth for a larger force to maintain the peace in Rhodesia during the period immediately after the election.

No. It was made clear at the Lancaster House conference that we would not provide a peacekeeping force.

asked the Lord Privy Seal whether he will now set a date for the withdrawal of (a) the Governor and (b) the monitoring force, from Rhodesia.

asked the Lord Privy Seal what arrangements exist for a party in the Rhodesian elections to substitute another candidate for one suspended or prevented from standing by the Governor.

The Governor does not have the power to prohibit a candidate from standing in the election. He may suspend a candidate from further participation in the election campaign. The provisions for substitution of candidates—designed to cover those put forward without their consent—and late nominations—enabling those detained by ZANU (PF) in Mozambique to stand in the elections—expired on 11 and 12 February respectively. No arrangements for substitution can, therefore, now be made.

asked the Lord Privy Seal how many cars belonging to ZANU (PF) have been stopped at the Rhodesian border on the orders of the Governor; and why.

Eight vehicles belonging to ZANU (PF) are waiting at the Mozambique border for customs clearance. Special arrangements have been made to facilitate the clearance of election material, including vehicles for the political parties. The vehicles will be able to enter Rhodesia as soon as these arrangements have been complied with.

asked the Lord Privy Seal what procedures are in force to prevent guerrillas from leaving the assembly areas in Rhodesia; how such departures are monitored; and at what stage they will be allowed to leave.

Any ZIPRA or ZANLA personnel leaving the assembly areas are in breach of the ceasefire agreement, and have been warned of this. The monitoring force reports any departure to the police and to the Patriotic Front commander at the assembly area. A roll call is held every morning. Arrangements for the final winding up of the assembly areas have not yet been made.

asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will give the numbers of guerrillas in the assembly points at the start of the assembly period and at the latest available date.

On 5 January, the first day after the agreed deadline for the assembly process, approximately 17,700 members of the Patriotic Front forces had assembled. On the morning of 12 February the figure was 22,162.

asked the Lord Privy Seal what arrangements are being made for guerrillas in the assembly camps to vote; and whether their votes will be counted in their home areas.

Arrangements are being made for those members of the Patriotic Front forces in the assembly places to vote. Their votes will be counted at the provincial capital of the electoral district in which the given assembly place is located.

asked the Lord Privy Seal whether, after the election result in Rhodesia is announced, the Governor will act in an analogous role to that of a constitutional monarch on behalf of Her Majesty or whether he will be enabled to play an active part in possible negotiations for a coalition Government.

The Governor will act in accordance with the relevant constitutional provisions.

asked the Lord Privy Seal if he is satisfied with the number of breaches of the ceasefire reported in Zimbabwe-Rhodesia by the Ceasefire Commission; how many reports of breaches of the ceasefire in Zimbabwe-Rhodesia he has now received; and what further steps the Governor is taking to enforce its terms.

The Ceasefire Commission considers allegations of ceasefire violations submitted by its members; it does not, as a body, report them. The Commission has so far reached a decision on 159 breaches of the ceasefire. The Governor has recently invited the ZIPRA and ZANLA military commanders to broadcast a further order to those of their forces which have not assembled to report immediately to the assembly places, and to those already assembled not to leave the assembly places.

asked the Lord Privy Seal what steps the Governor is taking to combat the increase in intimidation in Zimbabwe-Rhodesia during the build-up to the election.

I refer my hon. Friend to the reply my right hon. Friend gave to the right hon. Member for Stepney and Poplar (Mr. Shore) on 13 February.—[Vol. 978, c. 1530.]

asked the Lord Privy Seal what arrangements have been made for Members of Parliament to observe the elections in Rhodesia.

The Government have invited a number of Members of both Houses of Parliament to observe the elections in Rhodesia. They are leaving this weekend. The members of the all-party group are as follows:Geoffrey Rippon (Leader).Lord Chelwood.John Concannon.Peter Emery.Lord Fortescue.Russell Johnston.Joan Lestor.Ted Rowlands.Ivor Stanbrook.Lord Underhill.