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The Rhodesian Front (RF) was a political party in 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 change to black majority rule. It won power in the general election that December. In successive elections (in which 50 of the 66 parliamentary seats were reserved for whites only) between 1964 and 1979, the RF was returned to office, with a large majority, with Smith as Prime Minister.

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 formalized 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. 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. In 1987 the ruling government abolished all reserved seats for whites. When these were abolished many white MPs became independents or joined the ruling ZANU party.

See also


  • 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.
  • "Ian Smith Invites Blacks to Join His Party," The New York Times, July 23, 1984, p. A5.
  • Facts on File, 1984 ed., p. 574.


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