Southern Rhodesian Legislative Assembly

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Southern Rhodesian Legislative Assembly
Coat of arms of Rhodesia.svg
Houses House of Assembly
Founded 30 May 1924 (30 May 1924)
Disbanded 10 April 1970 (10 April 1970)
Preceded by Legislative Council
Succeeded by Parliament of Rhodesia
George V (1923–1936)
Edward VIII (1936)
George VI (1936–1952)
Elizabeth II (1952–1970)
Sir John Chancellor (first)
Sir Humphrey Gibbs (last)
Clifford Dupont (1965–1970) (RF)
Seats 30 1924–1962
65 1962–1970
Last election

The Southern Rhodesian Legislative Assembly was the legislature of Southern Rhodesia from 1924 to 1970.


In 1898, the Southern Rhodesian Legislative Council, Southern Rhodesia's first elected representative body, was founded. Much of the decisions regarding the administration of Southern Rhodesia was made by the British South Africa Company (BSAC). When BSAC rule was terminated in 1923 and Responsible Government achieved, the Legislative Council was replaced by the Legislative Assembly.[1]


Modelled after the British House of Commons,[1] the Assembly had limitations placed on its powers of legislation, as the British Crown reserved the right to block legislation and allowed only legislation on internal matters to be discussed in the parliament.[1]

The Letters Patent granting the colony the right to self-government in 1923 made no change to the pre-existing franchise. The law provided that voters must have been resident in Southern Rhodesia for at least six months, and have the ability to complete the claim form for the electoral register in their own handwriting if the registrar required, and to write from dictation 50 words in the English language. In addition, voters had to meet one of three criteria for their financial means: either occupy property worth £150 in their Electoral District, or own a registered mining claim within the colony (for which residence was not required), or receive annual salary of £100 in the colony.

Electoral procedure[edit]

No change was made to the basic electoral procedure, which continued to be the first past the post system, cast by means of the secret ballot.

Electoral districts[edit]

The Letters Patent created a legislative assembly with 30 members, and for simplicity the 15 electoral districts set the previous year for the Legislative Council were used for the new assembly, but with each district returning two members. Voters were therefore entitled to two votes. Until 1961 there were technically no restrictions on the ability for native Africans to vote, a high property qualification ensured that few were entitled to vote.[1] This was altered in 1958, when a special voters' roll was created for Africans, although Africans were limited to voting for 15 Assembly members while Europeans were entitled to elect 50 members.[1]

Election results[edit]

The following table reflects only those members elected from general roll electoral divisions.

Term Election Party Seats Won
1st 29 April 1924
Rhodesian Party 26
Independent 4
2nd 19 September 1928
Rhodesian Party 22
Progressive Party 4
Labour Party 3
Independent 1
3rd 6 September 1933
Reform Party 16
Rhodesian Party 9
Labour Party 5
4th 7 November 1934
United Party 24
Labour Party 5
Reform Party 1
5th 14 April 1939
United Party 23
Labour Party 7
6th 25 April 1946
United Party 13
Liberal Party 12
Labour Party 3
Southern Rhodesia Labour Party 2
7th 15 September 1948
United Party 24
Liberal Party 5
Labour Party 1
8th 27 January 1954
United Rhodesia Party 26
Independent 2
Independent Labour 1
Independent Rhodesia Party 1
9th 5 June 1958
United Federal Party 17
Dominion Party 13
10th 14 December 1962
Rhodesian Front 35
United Federal Party 29
Independent 1
11th 7 May 1965
Rhodesian Front 50
National People's Party 10
Independent 5


  1. ^ a b c d e Rasmussen, K. & Rubert, S. (1990) Historical Dictionary of Zimbabwe, The Scarecrow Press, London.