Northern Rhodesian general election, 1959
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General elections were held in Northern Rhodesia on 20 March 1959, although voting did not take place in two constituencies until 9 April. The United Federal Party (UFP) was expected to win the elections, and did so by taking 13 of the 22 elected seats on the Legislative Council.
The elections were the first held under the Lennox-Boyd constitution. It provided for a 30 member Legislative Council with 22 elected members, six official members and two appointed members. The 22 elected seats were divided into 12 "ordinary" seats with mostly white voters, six "special" seats mainly reserved for black voters, two reserved for black voters and two reserved for white voters.
The number of registered voters rose to 30,324, almost double that of the previous election in 1954. Of the registered voters, 20,566 were European, 7,617 were African and 2,051 Asian. The number of Africans eligible to vote was around 25,000, but the Zambian African National Congress called for an election boycott.
A total of 54 candidates contested the elections, of which 20 were black. Four parties ran in the election, the UFP (18 candidates led by John Roberts), the Dominion Party (9), the Central Africa Party (6, led by John Moffat) and the Northern Rhodesian African National Congress (2, led by Harry Nkumbula), whilst the remaining 19 candidates were independents.
The UFP held a centrist position, supporting dominion status for the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland and opposing the British Colonial Office (reflecting the views of most white Northern Rhodesians). The Dominion Party put forward a right-wing platform including supporting a partition of the Federation into white and black areas. The Central Africa Party ran on a liberal platform.
|Party||Ordinary seats||Special seats||Black seats||White seats||Total
|United Federal Party||11||0||2||0||13|
|Central Africa Party||0||1||0||0||1|
|Northern Rhodesian African National Congress||0||1||0||0||1|
|Source: The Times|
Following the election, Governor Arthur Benson appointed six ministers; John Roberts as Minister of Labour and Mines, AE Carlisle as Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, WG Dunlop as Minister of Transport and Works, Rodney Malcomson as Minister of Local Government, Gabriel Musumbulwa as Minister of African Education and Edson Mwamba as Minister of African Agriculture.
- "Racial Issue In N. Rhodesia Elections: African Boycott", The Times, 12 March 1959, p11, Issue 54407
- "Sir R. Welensky Gains Election Victory: Party Sure Of 13 Seats", The Times, 23 March 1959, p10, Issue 54416
- "Election Move By Africans" The Times, 23 December 1958
- "New Ministers For N. Rhodesia: Two Africans Included", The Times, 28 March 1959, p5, Issue 54420