Part 2 (of 2)


76. By way of suggestion that the elections could not have been free or fair, critics have said that "martial law covers 85% of Rhodesia, an admission that civil administration has broken down in most of the country". It is true that martial law has covered approximately 70% of the country since September 1978 but we looked into the implications of that fact to see whether this constituted intimidation by the authorities. In fact the legal situation is much more complex than this criticism suggests, since the majority of activities frequently associated with martial law can also in Rhodesia lawfully be carried out by the civil authorities and the Security Forces under Emergency legislation. Ordinary civil law has, in fact, not broken down.

77. Martial law was introduced in September 1978. We were told that its application was in practice limited to four main areas - trials, punitive action, detention and curfew.

78. Trials under martial law were held only when persons had been involved in crimes connected with terrorism and where the necessary witnesses were either unavailable or would themselves have been murdered had they given evidence.

79. As far as punitive action is concerned, in the early stages of the operation of martial law it was possible for an officer of the rank of Major or above, or the civilian equivalent, to order the burning of huts, the destruction of crops and the slaughter of cattle when in his view the population had been helping the guerrillas. This authority was rescinded early in 1979 and no such action could be taken without express authority from the Joint Operations Committee in Salisbury. This led to a great reduction in the number of such incidents.

80. Detentions without trial were possible under the Emergency Powers Legislation without the use of martial law. We were told by the Commissioner of Police that 232 persons were detained under this category on 16 April, 1979, the day before the election. To this figure must be added those detained under martial law. In particular we were told that about 100 persons were taken into custody just before the election because of evidence discovered during the raid on Francistown in Botswana on 12 April. 13 detentions under martial law took place during the week of the elections. The total figure of detainees of 4000 given to us by the representative of ZAPU, whom we interviewed, was of a completely different order of magnitude to that supplied to us by the authorities. We are of the view that total detentions were very considerably less than the ZAPU figure.

81. Curfews cover wide areas of the country. They are imposed under the Emergency Powers Legislation. But martial law allows authorities to arrest anyone breaking the curfew and he or she can be shot. This, admittedly draconian, measure is, we were told, rarely used and only if the guerrillas are directly involved. The curfew does, however, have a very direct impact on the lives of large sections of the population, particularly among the large majority who have no wrist watches: it is resented by them. As far as the evidence is concerned we neither heard nor saw any evidence to the effect that the imposition of a curfew prevented people from voting.

82. We set out at Appendix G what we were told had been the use of martial law in three large operational areas, in Mount Darwin, Gwanda and Umtali.

83. It is essential to appreciate that in all areas covered by martial law the police are still operating in the normal way. For instance in connection with the elections there have been the usual political activities prior to the poll, including many meetings. Meetings in martial law areas needed permission, which we were told was always granted subject to conditions as to the time of day. In 1979, unlike the inter-party warfare and intimidation in 1962-63 to which the Pearce Commission referred and which is still vivdly remembered, the parties have campaigned peacefully. There was, as we have said, a certain amount of thuggery and intimidation by party supporters in urban areas, in January. This led to 123 arrests, and 99 people appearing in the ordinary criminal courts on fairly minor charges; (59 were from UANC, 64 from ZANU). Even then events were local. In Manicaland there were no election-connected offences committed at all. Similarly at 100 meetings in South Matabeleland there were no criminal arrests.

84. Finally, we were told that one reason why martial law has been retained is that it can be used by the rural population as a reason for their saying to the guerrillas that they have been forced to vote, thus protecting them from reprisals.

85. Our conclusions were as follows:

a. We accept that the imposition of martial law may well have been necessary for security reasons.

b. In the early stages of the application of martial law, its use was probably unnecessarily severe.

c. To a large extent this has been rectified.

d. In the run up to the election and during the electoral process itself martial law did not inhibit political activity.

e. Martial law has been supplementary to the civil law and has not replaced it.

f. If anything, the punitive action which had been taken, although arguably necessary from the security point of view, would have dissuaded people from voting rather than encouraging them to do so.


86. Mr. Nkomo's guerrillas (ZIPRA) are trained in Zambia and Angola. They are based in Zambia and Botswana. We were told that there were 16,000 under training, 3,000 outside Rhodesia but fully trained and 2,700 inside Rhodesia. Mr. Mugabe's guerrillas (ZANLA) are trained in Ethiopia, Libya and Tanzania, and enter Rhodesia through Mocambique. We were told that there were reserves of 13-17,000, of whom 6,000 are under training and 9,300 operating in Rhodesia. The two groups fight each other, some say with even greater ferocity than they fight the Security Forces, but this has mainly occurred in South Matabeleland, especially Filabusi, and West Victoria.

87. The war has been going on since 1972. The following table gives an idea of the intensity:-

Total deaths attributable to the war from 1 March 1978 to 31 March 1979 6,471

Average daily death toll                                                   16.3

Security Force deaths                                                     322

White civilians                                                           257*
*This figure includes 105 victims of the two Viscount aircraft which
were shot down.

Black civilians                                                         2,821

Guerrillas                                                              3,071
88. 1,111 schools have been closed, many of which are locally supported missionary schools. The guerrillas have a proven record of atrocities and bestiality which beggars description. The population of Rhodesia knows well of their activities in this respect. It has been the avowed intent of both factions to wreck the election, and the Rhodesian authorities responded with a massive call-up of army, airforce and police reservists, which had the effect of precluding all but a comparatively few incidents. There were 13 attacks on polling stations during the election.

89. It is not our task in this respect to relate the detailed assessment of guerrilla aims, training, methods of operation and discipline which have been fully explained to us. After careful investigation we are satisfied that, in the Tribal Trust Lands especially, the guerrillas with the help of the mujibas (young guerrilla auxiliaries) have for some months been terrorising and indoctrinating the black population not to vote. Their psychological approach has been most professional and they have been assisted by broadcasts from Maputo, Lusaka and elsewhere, in English and three important African languages. We must therefore try to assess whether this intimidation has, by itself or in combination with other factors, led to the elelctions being other than free.

90. In the end our assessment must be a matter of impression, built upon what we have seen and heard directly and indirectly from the people themselves. Of the guerrillas' activities of which we heard directly during the election the most spectacular examples were:-

a. On the first evening of the elelction guerrillas burnt out 24 sq. km of the Mtilikwe Tribal Trust Land, south of Lake Kyle: 75% of the kraals were destroyed and the huts were still smoking when we over-flew part of the area 36 hours later. Where the inhabitants went we do not know but they were driven out first.

b. The almost complete failure of the polling station at Tadyanemhando in Central Manicaland at which in three days only 221 people voted.

c. Within Inyanga district of North Manicaland there were three rural polling stations; the guerrillas cleared the population from an area of 30 km round the polling stations and told them to go into the hills and stay there. The District Commissioner estimated that 50% of the voters in that whole northern area had been frightened and stopped from voting.

d. North of Ndanga hospital polling station, south east of Fort Victoria, some local people had set out to vote. The guerrillas had been informed by the mujibas of this. The group was turned back and told to hide in the hills.

e. The District Commissioner at Mount Darwin said that in one area where there was a considerable guerrilla presence it had been impossible to put in a mobile unit. He also said that at Pachanza the guerrillas had raided a Protected Village, cut the wire and driven numbers of the people out into the hills. Some had drifted back and voted in other areas.

91. No doubt there were other similar stories; we know of these either because we were on the spot or else were dissuaded from visiting polling stations such as Tadyanemhando, or St. Mary's Mission in North Inyanga because the guerrillas had effectively brought all activity to a halt.

92. The figures of total votes indicate, however, that very many of the people from the rural areas did vote; they may have moved into the cities, or walked considerable distances into urban polling stations rather than vote at the stations provided in their own Tribal Trust Lands. We were told of this, for instance, by party workers at Umtali and Rusape. We heard increasingly as the election proceeded that some guerrillas were telling the local population that they could vote if "forced", or that they could vote "though it would make no difference". This applied both to ZANLA and ZIPRA guerrillas: it had no pattern and appeared, like many other things, to depend on the whim of the unit leader.

93. Then there was a pattern which we observed in the detailed daily reports from the polling stations on Days 4 and 5 when we were in Matabeleland and Manicaland respectively. On Day 3, mobile polling stations which had been waiting at Plumtree (on the Botswana border) suddenly received crowds of cheerful voters, who said they now thought it was safe to vote. Similarly, in an Umtali township party workers said that on Day 4 they saw people they knew who had come in 35 km to vote, having waited in fear two days to see if it was safe to vote. More party workers told us the same story of people in the Chiduku Tribal Trust Land, near Rusape, who after guerrilla pressure waited for two days before voting, many preferring to walk into the towns of Rusape and Inyazura rather than visit the three polling stations in their Tribal Trust Land. Inyanga told us the same story.

94. It was also clear that in many cases guerrilla attacks had not deterred people from voting:-

a. On the Tuesday evening (the first day of voting) Dotito (north east of Mount Darwin) was attacked with mortars, rockets and copious small arms fire. Some 10 km away, but within sight and sound, voters were still arriving at the nearby polling station at Nyanzunza next morning. And at Dotito itself the voting figures below show that in spite of the attack people came to vote in some numbers on the third day. The overall result exceeded the expectations of the authorities.

First Day     2,426

Second Day       92

Third Day       326

Fourth Day       87

Fifth Day         -

Total         2,931
b. South of Fort Victoria in the Nyajena Tribal Trust Land, which has many guerrillas, a mobile station was ambushed on its way in to collect votes from a crowd. As we left we heard that 266 voters had remained until it eventually arrived, though many more had been expected.

c. At Zaka we were informed that the Security Forces, prior to the election, had found that the local people wanted to vote, but were afraid. They were told that the army would be around to protect them. Our informant had been on duty on the Tuesday morning 2 km from the town when he saw a crowd walking in: one by one they began to run, and apparently they beat on the gate leading to the polling station, which was not yet open, in their eagerness to vote.

95. Above all, when we asked the voters why they had come to the polls their answer was almost always that they had voted for an end to the war, for peace, for a return to normality. There was no doubting the profundity of these feelings.

96. On balance, we think that such sentiments combined with other factors. Those who waited heard that it was safe to vote; some moved out of their immediate area to other polling stations; the Security Forces were seen to be around and the guerrillas remained mainly inactive. Thus a five-day election and the availability of mobile stations, even in areas beset by guerrillas, provided for the electorate the opportunity to vote, which many of them took.

97. We do not consider that intimidation by either group of guerrillas so impeded the elections that overall they must be regarded as invalid.


98. We are aware of the criticism levelled against the elections because supporters of either wing of the Patriotic Front were not presented with candidates for whom they could vote. Of itself, of course, the absence of candidates cannot be held to invalidate the election unless they were prevented from standing. On this latter point we were given a mass of evidence to the effect that Mr. Nkomo and Mr. Mugabe could indeed have taken part in the consultations leading to the adoption of the constitution and also that they could have returned and freely taken part in the election together with their parties after the 3 March agreement on the constitution and, indeed, right up to the poll (see Appendix H).

99. We think that three separate groups of people should be considered. First, there are the leaders themselves and their closest colleagues. On them we hesitate to make a definite judgement because we did not have the opportunity to meet Mr. Nkomo or Mr. Mugabe to hear their version of the story. Our tentative view is, however, that either or both of them could quite well have participated in the consultations leading to the constitution. They could, too, have presented themselves and their parties at the election itself provided they were prepared to eschew violence. In the light of the statements in Appendix H we do not believe that the administration could possibly have arrested them or their lieutenants, had they sought to take part in the election.They chose, for their own reasons, not to take part and we cannot accept that such a choice automatically imposes a veto on the validity of the whole electoral process.

100. It could be that the election is open to more criticism on the grounds that the ordinary voter had no opportunity to select a party which represented the aims of either Mr. Nkomo or Mr. Mugabe. Among the ordinary potential voters we include Rhodesians in the guerrilla forces, and we next consider them.

101. We are clear that the authorities did try to induce the guerrillas themselves to return and to take part in the election. There have been various offers of an amnesty in recent months. Recently, there was the Safe Return Policy, which involved dropping of leaflets in Rhodesia and Mocambique, and the use of radio and word of mouth. It bore some fruit but the result was not dramatic. This was followed by the guarantee which is attached as Appendices I and J issued in late March, which was publicised by radio, television and newspapers, as well as being distributed by hand through all available agencies; again the response has been limited. Both UANC and ZANU sent brave volunteers to make contact with the guerrillas, to offer a cease-fire under the Transitional Government, but this had come to nothing when three parties of volunteers were murdered. The main reason why none of these initiatives have been very is that in the guerrilla groups discipline is kept by draconian methods: to pick up and read a leaflet brings execution. Even strip cartoons have been a failure. As a result many guerrillas have not known of the amnesties; interrogation of prisoners shows that some have, but do not believe them. They are quite sure that on surrender they will be instantly shot.

102. All the same, some news has been getting through; guerrillas who have been captured are invariably converted. The main reason is that they are not, as they expect, shot, but are well treated. The more important co-operate by writing letters, such as those in Appendices K and L and by revisiting their old operational areas with the Security Forces.

103. The guerrillas, of course, knew of the election which they had been ordered to disrupt. We would, therefore, not have expected many of them to vote. We cannot accept the argument that inability to vote for a party whose cause was being actively pursued by force of arms must invalidate the election in which the rest of the population was participating. We noted, however, that the political process represented by the new constitution and the election had not been lost on the guerrillas. We were told, by people whom we believe to be in touch with the guerrillas, that not a few were "sitting on the fence" and were likely to decide, though not necessarily at once, whether they would accept a black Government formed and operating as a result of the election.

104. Lastly there is the electorate at large, who may have felt themselves deprived of a proper political choice because of the absence of either Patriotic Front party on the ballot paper. We concentrated on collecting their views in Matabeleland. There Mr. Nkomo had for long been seen by the amaNdebele people as their own leader, although he would not acknowledge so restricted a position for himself. Chief Ndiweni's UNFP stood for a federal system, in an attempt to preserve the distinct identity of the amaNdebele people, but his party was formed only four months prior to the election, and he himself had no part in formulating the constitution. The other parties had selected amaNdebele candidates to stand for the two Matabeleland Electoral Districts, but it could be argued that their influence would not suffice to protect their tribal interests within predominantly Shona parties. We therefore asked a random selection of the public in Matabeleland this question: "Would the election have been fairer if there had been on the ballot paper a party, headed by Mr. Nkomo, for which you could have voted if you so wished?" This complicated question we put through interpreters, and carefully checked to ensure that the answers truly related to the question. There were some who said they did not know; some that for themselves it was not unfair, but that they knew others who thought to the contrary. One group after careful thought said that the election was unfair because it was being held while Mr. Nkomo was not there. Another group, standing not 200 yards from Mr. Nkomo's house in Bulawayo, said that the election would have been fairer had he come back and stood; but that he had not done so "because he only wanted to win".

105. We appreciate that these people, interviewed in the vicinity of polling stations, were unlikely to include anyone who had chosen to dissociate himself from the election because of the lack of a Nkomo party. Further it must bear some significance that the turn-out in the Electoral District of Matabeleland South was the lowest in the country; and that the spoilt papers in the Matabeleland Electoral Districts was high, again especially in Matabeleland South. This is where Mr. Nkomo was brought up. These indications cannot be ignored.

106. It is, however, our considered conclusion that the verdict on the absence of Mr. Nkomo and, by inference, Mr. Mugabe, was given by the size of the poll and the number of valid votes cast. People were able to register a protest against the omission of Mr. Nkomo and Mr. Mugabe from the ballot papers either by not voting at all or by spoiling their papers, and on this latter point some did so. The fact was that the majority of the electorate did cast a valid vote positively in favour of the parties who did stand.


107. Upon arrival at a polling station, a voter went through the following procedure:-

a. The voter was subject to a cursory body search.

b. The voter was observed and if necessary questioned on eligibility to vote.

c. If accepted, the voter put both hands in the machine which could detect the invisible marking fluid on the fingers.

d. If accepted, the voter had the fingers of both hands immersed in the invisible marking fluid.

e. A ballot paper was then stamped, with a round or triangular stamp containing a single letter, and issued to the voter.

f. The voter then went to the polling booth, marked the paper and folded it in four so as to show the stamp.

g. The voter then personally placed the folded paper in the box.

108. That was the theory. We looked carefully for irregularities or abuses at each stage, and we should say at once that we only received three complaints from party officials and candidates whom we met at all the polling stations we visited.

109. Searches These were entirely for security purposes. In towns women were searched by regular or reservist women police, but these were insufficient in number to cover rural stations; there, the women were asked to leave their hand baggage (but not their babies) outside. This was done because there are numbers of trained female guerrillas within Rhodesia. We heard of no objections to the searches and were not able to find any instances of weapons, etc. being found.

110. The person who had to check the voter's credentials was usually black. Frequently he was not local to the polling station. In very few places were documents asked for except to check a person who was for some other reason suspect. We therefore consider whether the two criteria of residence and age for voting are likely to have been adhered to.

111. Residence in Rhodesia for two years. We were told that 19,000 people, of all races, had entered the country within the last two years, of whom many were white. All of these had immigration documents; some would no doubt be under 16, while others would have been returning residents who we were told were entitled to vote. To this official figure we ourselves would add some thousands of people returning from Mocambique who certainly went through no immigration procedure but would have been allowed to vote anyway as returning residents.

112. Only in one single case did we hear of a person being turned away from a polling station on the residence qualification.

113. The requirement to be 18 years old. The police members of the National Electoral Directorate told us that it was not unreasonable to assume that there were 750,000 people in the country aged 14 to 18. At all polling stations which we visited, except for one (and we almost always asked this question), some people had been turned away as being under age. We witnessed people being turned away and also a few others, who had been so requested, returning with documents to establish their age. We noted three things:-

a. Almost without variation, only a handful of people had been turned away as being under age. This followed a constant geographical pattern and was the same whether we inquired on Day 1 or Day 5. Both sexes were about equally involved overall. At one Bulawayo township some girls repeatedly presented themselves, though under 18, but the polling staff dipped their fingers and that ended it; this was an isolated instance.

b. Some polling stations were staffed entirely by teachers who, naturally, said they could tell ages without much difficulty. At these stations there was no increase above the general average of numbers turned away.

c. The large majority of people stopped on suspicion of being too young readily and truthfully gave their age, even if the answer was 16 or 17. It was thought either that they did not know the age limit or that they had been swept up in the general enthusiasm; and when detected left without any complaint.

114. We think the marking fluid and the machine were wholly effective to prevent double voting. It may to some extent have deterred people in the Tribal Trust Lands from voting, and voters everywhere tended to look with wonder at their hands after dipping them; at some stations they were allowed to look again in the machine to see the difference. The system instantly detected the minimal numbers who, we were told, came to vote again. (An affidavit on this point is attached at Appendix M).

115. Stamping the Papers There is in the Electoral Act a provision which allows papers to be counted as good votes if they do not bear the polling station stamp, provided that the total in any complete Electoral District does not exceed 5% of the votes cast (s.79(7)). If the number exceeds 5% none of them may be counted. This provision was, we were told, inserted simply to allow for human errors, but it was criticised before the election as a method whereby the vote could be rigged. In the event in no Electoral District was the percentage over 5%.

116. Marking the papers produced the most problems, though even here the incidence of difficulty was not very great. The officials, in all areas, were quick and efficient. In some, particularly in rural polling stations each person was given a verbal explanation what to do. However -

a. In order to help the voter large placards had been issued to each polling station with a blown-up picture of a blank ballot paper, and instructions in Shona or Sindebele. Where these were hung varied as between polling stations, but in many cases such a placard was placed, occasionally flat, in each polling booth. These placards tended to bear a number of marks against various parties, and it seems likely that voters in some cases marked the placard and may have left their ballot papers blank. Some presiding officers had noticed or anticipated this, and had hung the cards elsewhere or shortened the string on the booth pen so that the card was out of reach. We think quite a number of spoilt papers occurred where such preventive measures were not taken. However, the total number of such incidents could not have been very great since in no case were there more than nine such marks and the average was three or four.

b. The Electoral Act (s.65 normally, but for this election s.175(11)) allows the presiding officer to help a voter make his mark. This, of course, had to be done for the blind but some of the old men and women also needed assistance. In the event such action was comparatively rare, as in many cases there was a dialogue with the polling officers, even from inside the booth. We do not know what was said since our interpreters were not allowed inside the polling station; however, in one case such an exchange prevented an old man marking the wall card. Where physical help was needed we were told that the voter almost always knew which party he wanted to vote for, e.g. "The hoe" (UANC). On the fifth day at Inyanga the presiding officer said she had helped 25-30 voters, by steering their hand, but all had known which party they wished to support. However, earlier in the election we did find one presiding officer who was using this power unnecessarily and one or more of the parties had begun to complain about him.

117. Problems arose over placing the paper in the box, through voters requiring constant reminders to fold their paper on emerging from the booth; and because the papers had to be folded twice in order to be put in the box.

118. In general, we would make the following comments about the polling stations, their staff and the conduct of the election:-

a. Although some ingenuity had been used in certain places to adapt unlikely buildings into polling stations, heads and hands of the voters were not visible from outside the polling booths.

b. The polling station staffs were mainly civil servants (teachers, agricultural and veterinary officers, etc., with senior presiding officers, sometimes sent out from Salisbury). They appeared to us to be meticulously adhering to their instructions and behaving in a totally impartial manner. Indeed this was a hindrance to our inquiries, since they were quite unable to tell us anything of how far the voters had travelled.

c. Occasionally we saw the padlock on a box hanging unsealed, but it always transpired that the key was locked up elsewhere. Little things like this had clearly on occasion gone wrong, but they were technicalities.

d. At most polling stations a contingent from at least one of the parties was present. Only on the occasion mentioned in 116 (b) above and in one or two other minor cases had they any criticism or complaint whatever, either of the election machinery or of each other's activities. In many places there were bands of supporters engaged in "singing and dancing", often in rival groups. But the atmosphere was of a carnival rather than a fight for victory; the voters had put on their best clothes; the rival parties picked up and returned their opponents' posters and flags; the factions sat in a row on a wall side by side; the candidates would sometimes talk to us as a group rather than individually. Our overwhelming impression was that the parties and the voters were participating in what they considered to be a most important occasion, and that they were thoroughly enjoying it. There was also a surprising degree of sophistication. At polling stations in different types of area, many voters were aware of the international implications both of their own election and of that shortly to be held in the United Kingdom.

e. In three polling stations we found the police checking people at the door for eligibility to vote. This was, of course, wrong and it was immediately corrected when pointed out. Because of the circumstances in which this happened and the general atmosphere of co-operation between the polling staff and the voters which we noticed, we do not believe there was any underhand purpose. The polling staffs were extremely busy and, wrongly, the police had been asked to help in order to speed up the process of voting.

f. We must mention one incident which may be thought to constitute more than a technical irregularity. There was an arrangement whereby a static polling station could, with the authority of the provincial Joint Operation Command (and, we believe, of the National Electoral Directorate) turn itself into a mobile, even though the presence throughout the five days had been advertised as being in one place. In the Mutasa district of Manicaland, a static station had been set up at the school at Tadyanemhando. The school had been shot up by guerrillas on Easter Saturday; on the Monday or Tuesday morning many of the men left for the week to work on European tea farms. They would by then have known that the station was due to be open on Saturday when they would have returned to their rural homes. It was known that the population was interested in voting, but they said they wanted an escort. The Security Forces did escort them on foot to the station, but we were told that they refused to vote on arrival. They were mainly women, and it was thought that a guerrilla or fellow-traveller was in each group. Thus, having collected a mere handful of votes, on Friday morning the station was closed and sent elsewhere. The decision may or may not tactically have been justified, but the process whereby an advertised polling station could thus be removed before the end of the election seems to us a flaw in the arrangements made.

g. The National Electoral Directorate had told us that in some cases the polling stations' staffs had required a direction by authority before they would act. This was said to derive from fear of guerrillas since they would then give the direction as their excuse for acting. Consequently a general direction was given under the Emergency Powers (Election) Regulation 1979 and failure to comply with this was made an offence. We have heard of two cases where teachers nevertheless refused to participate; at Shabani they were fined about £15 and at Beit Bridge they still await trial. In the situation which faced the authorities we do not consider this to be a serious matter.

h. Some criticism has been made about the bussing of voters across the boundaries of Electoral Districts. For instance, in Mashonaland West, where six seats were to be filled, Mr. Chikerema had been placed at the sixth position in the UANC list: so the UANC had to win all six seats if he was to be elected. In this Electoral District the turn-out was 14% of the official estimate of the population. Even if bussing was a contributory cause of this, of which we cannot be sure, there was nothing illegal in such a practice since people could vote anywhere within the country. We thus do not feel the need to make any comment on this matter.

119. Our general conclusion was that the procedures at the polling stations were properly conducted, that the vote was secret and that no pressures were brought to bear on the voters during the process of voting. It was indeed a remarkable feat to man so many stations in time of war and with no comparable precedent. It would have been surprising if there had been no irregularities.


120. Thre of us were able to observe the count at the counting stations mentioned at Appendix A. The procedures used were very similar to those in this country. They were as follows:-

a. At the end of polling on Saturday, 21 April, all ballot boxes were sealed and taken to a well guarded place of security. We had no reports of any attacks on these places and we personally checked a number of them where we found nothing out of order.

b. When counting began on 23 April, the ballot papers were checked against the total number issued, less those returned unused. Only minor discrepancies were found.

c. The ballot papers were then divided into the various political parties.

d. Papers which were regarded as possibly spoilt were separated, checked by the presiding officer and if still regarded as spoilt were counted as such.

e. The ballot papers for the various parties were counted.

f. The result was communicated to Salisbury by telephone followed up by a written communication.

g. All the ballot papers were sealed in boxes and delivered to Salisbury. The boxes can only be opened by an order of the High Court.

121. In all the polling stations visited, party representatives were present as scrutineers during the counting process and were allowed to observe every stage of the proceedings. We made a point of asking whether they had any complaints. They all, without exception, declared themselves to be fully satisfied.

122. We were particularly interested in the spoilt papers for obvious reasons and we all made a point of examining them. The majority of them were blank. Some had more than one mark on them. Some had large crosses covering the whole paper and a few had the names of Mugabe or Nkomo or even Smith written over them.

123. There is no doubt in our minds that many of these papers were deliberately spoilt. It is impossible to be precise as to what percentage of papers were in this category but it is relevant that the percentage of spoilt papers in Matabeleland South (9.7%) and Matabeleland North (6.25%) where Mr. Nkomo was still a considerable force to be reckoned with, was much higher than the overall average of 3.55%. Of course, the fact that this was the first election in the country on a one man one vote basis and that the electorate was, to a considerable extent, illiterate, would certainly mean that the percentage of spoilt papers would be far higher than that in Britain where this varies between 0.1% and 0.2%. But even taking this into account, it is certainly true that there was a measure of deliberate spoiling.

124. There were some variations in the counting stations as to the precise interpretation of a spoilt paper. In particular, in some cases, when there were crosses against three of the parties, the fourth one, unmarked, was taken to mean the party for which the voter had voted. However, these variations were very minor and could have had no effect on the result. We do not hold the view that the overall figure of 3.55% spoilt papers was excessive and it certainly should not be regarded as invalidating the election.

125. Our conclusion was, therefore, that the count was properly conducted and that the results did represent a true reflection of the way people had voted.


126. The electoral system used is described in paragraph 16. The election was conducted separately in eight provinces.

127. Four parties (United African National Council, United National Federal Party, Zimbabwe African National Union, Zimbabwe United Peoples' Organisation) contested all eight provinces. One, the National Democratic Union, only contested Mashonaland East. The symbols used are shown at Appendices N & O. In our view these symbols were clear and the voters had no difficulty in distinguishing between them.

128. The overall results were:-

Party      Votes       %        Seats

UANC    1,212,639    67.27       51

ZANU      262,928    14.58       12

UNFP      194,446    10.79        9

ZUPO      114,570     6.36        0

NDU        18,175     1.00        0
There were 66,319 spoilt papers - 3.55% of the total poll.

129. There were 1,802,758 valid votes. This represents 62.16% of the estimate of the electorate made by the authorities (2.9m) or 51.51% of the higher estimate of 3.5m mentioned by Lord Goronwy-Roberts in his exchange with Lord Hatch in the House of Lords on 3 April 1979, (Hansard - columns 1791 and 1792), and by the latter in his letter to the Telegraph of 10 April 1979. (The figure published in Rhodesia immediately after the election, indicating a total of 64.5% included spoilt papers.)

130. Detailed figures broken down by provinces are as follows:- [This section omitted - ed.]

131. Of the 4,263 people in prison who were eligible to vote, 80.55% actually voted; however in Matabeleland, where the poll was, as expected, low, only 51.4% chose to vote.


132. Our conclusions were:-

a. Although not specified in our terms of reference our investigations were throughout coloured by the phrase - "free and fair" - which has become common currency in this matter.

b. In our view the elections were "fair" in the sense that the electoral machinery was fairly conducted and above serious reproach. In arriving at this conclusion we have applied the strictest Western European criteria.

c. The question whether the election was "free" is more complex. There is no doubt that the people who actually voted were free to choose which party they wished to support. It is true that in conditions of war, and with the other pressures which we have described, it would have been impossible to hold a fully free election in the sense that everyone qualified to vote could either do so or abstain precisely as he or she wished. However, in our opinion, neither individually nor in conjunction did these pressures amount to such curtailment of freedom or imposition of direction as to invalidate the election. On the contrary the people expressed their own view, in numbers which demonstrate a significant judgement on the constitutional basis of the election itself. They also exercised their right clearly to choose the party which they wished to lead the next Government.

d. Finally we note that neither Patriotic Front party proffered candidates for election. Despite this we think that the result represented the wish of the majority of the electorate of the country however calculated. ***



Fort Darwin

The whole sub-J.O.C. is under martial law except Centenary. There is a dusk to dawn curfew. Wide powers are available so long as the incident is guerrilla-inspired. The Security Forces arrest, and hand over to a court convened by the Martial Law Administrator. The President would have to have legal qualifications; the other members would normally be the District Commissioner and a prominent local civilian. The police would prosecute and the defendant could be legally represented, and is so informed.

There have been no cases in this area and no such court has been convened.


There have been 74 pre-emptive detentions, the last in late February.

There has been one court-martial. One of a European farmer's work-force set up a guerrilla ambush, in which the farmer was killed by a rocket. The key witnesses had given statements under caution but had then joined the guerrillas, leaving insufficient evidence for the normal criminal courts.


There have been 20 people detained for assisting guerrillas with food and information.

There have been seven courts martial, with no acquittals nor quashing on review. None of the defendants chose legal representation.

There have been two death sentences:-

a. A commercial driver was taken by guerrillas to a kraal where the kraal headman said he was to be shot, and he was. The headman pleaded guilty and was executed.

b. The wife and child of a European farmer were killed as a result of collusion between one of their farm workers and the guerrillas. The farm worker pleaded guilty.

In neither case would it have been possible to obtain witnesses, since no witness would have been allowed to live.

The other cases were less serious.


EDITOR'S NOTE: The remaining appendices are not here reproduced as these consisted of photocopies of illustrated leaflets and brochures.

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