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Salisbury Agreement

On March 3, 1978, Prime Minister Ian Smith, Bishop Abel Muzorewa of the United African National Council, Ndabaningi Sithole of the African National Council, and Senator Jeremiah Chirau of the Zimbabwe United People's Organization signed, in Salisbury, an agreement for Rhodesia, under the new name of Zimbabwe, to be governed by its black majority by December 31.

Bishop Abel Muzorewa, Prime Minister Ian Smith, Senator Jeremiah Chirau, and the Reverend Ndabaningi Sithole sign the Salisbury Agreement.
signing the Salisbury Agreement

Under terms of the agreement, all citizens aged 18 and over would be enfranchised and would elect a Parliament with 100 members; 72 seats would be reserved for blacks and 28 for whites. Of the seats reserved for whites, 20 would be elected on a preferential voting system by white voters and the remaining 8 by all voters from at least 16 candidates nominated by an all-white electoral college. This reservation system would be reviewed after ten years. The agreement also guaranteed a declaration of rights and freedoms, and that no one would be deprived of property without adequate compensation. The independence of the judiciary would be guaranteed, and public service positions would be filled by persons chosen by a public service board independent of politics.

In the meantime, the country was to be governed by an Executive Council consisting of the four signatories, each in turn acting as chairman, and a Ministerial Council consisting of equal numbers of black and white members. The black ministers would be nominated in equal proportions by the three black signatories, and the white ministers by Prime Minister Smith. Chairmanship of the Ministerial Council would alternate between white and black ministers. Parliament would continue to convene under the transitional government with the responsibility of enacting the new constitution and drafting legislation related to the registration of voters.

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This page was last updated on September 29, 2017.