Rhodesia's bi-racial transitional government has postponed black majority rule for four months. After an alleged?
GV EXT crowds waiting outside Parliament House, Salisbury (2 shots)
MV INT Government spokesman enters and makes announcement in English (2 shots)
MV Black nationalist leader Bishop Abel Muzorewa comments on announcement
SCU Black nationalist leader, the Rev. Ndabaningi Sithole, commenting in English
GV EXT ZOOM IN TO CU African seated reading newspaper
GV EXT African workers beside pile of fruit in street (2 shots)
CU African truck driver speaking in English
TRANSCRIPT: SEQ. 2: SPOKESMAN: "Gentlemen, the Executive Council has met today to consider the question of the date of the first elections. Because the Executive Council has not yet completed all of the political decisions required for the finalising of the new constitution, it is not possible to meet the date of thirty-first December, which was contained in the agreement of March third".
REPORTER: "Bishop Muzorewa, are you satisfied with the latest decision?"
MUZOREWA: "Yes, as you already know, we would have liked the earlier date, but it has been said, after thorough examination of the processes which need to be done, which we found even when we were in Geneva, the British government was telling us that we need such a length of time to finish settling things before you can have the elections. I must say that if all those things had been settling together were immediately done and scrutinised, the timing and all that I not (indistinct), the framework will be done before the actual date will be reached."
SEQ. 4: SITHOLE: "We have actually accepted the inevitable, (indistinct); we have actually found it impossible to have elections owing to the lagging behind of certain measures which have been taken."
REPORTER: "Now what about the war, what about Mugabe?"
SEQ. 7: AFRICAN TRUCK DRIVER: "The war will carrying on."
The wider political issue in postponing the elections centre on negotiations for an all-party peace conference. No date for this has yet been set, but Prime Minister Ian Smith is reported to be increasingly in favour of the idea. He is known to be disappointed with the results achieved by Bishop Muzorewa and Mr. Sithole in their trying to achieve a ceasefire with the guerrillas. He is still believed, despite recent setbacks, to be seeking a rapprochement with Patriotic Front joint leader Joshua Nkomo.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Rhodesia's bi-racial transitional government has postponed black majority rule for four months. After an alleged two weeks of intense talks, a government spokesman announced on Thursday (16 November) night that one-man, one-vote elections would now be held on the twentieth of April, 1979. At first, it seemed as if the postponement would place a severe strain on the coalition between the whites, who have ruled since declaring independence from Britain in 1965, and their recently-adopted black partners. But, eventually, black nationalist leaders Bishop Abel Muzorewa and the Reverend Ndabaningi Sithole went along with the plan.
SYNOPSIS: Several hundred people waited outside Government House in Salisbury to hear the announcement.
According to political observers in Salisbury, it had been known for some time that the government's transition programme was running behind schedule, so it came as no surprise to most Rhodesians. And most Africans, it is reported, have few illusions about the state of the guerrilla war.