Southern Rhodesian general election, 1928

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The Southern Rhodesia general election of 19 September 1928 was the second election to the Legislative Assembly of Southern Rhodesia. The Rhodesia Party, who had won an overwhelming victory at the previous election, were re-elected with a slightly smaller majority.


At this election the franchise was codified for the first time by the Electoral Act, 1928. The basis for the act was a consolidation of the previous regulations created by Order in Council, but the opportunity was taken by the Legislative Assembly to change some of the regulations which they had come to dislike. The principal change in the franchise was to restrict registration to British subjects only, whether by birth or naturalisation; previously, resident aliens could take an oath of allegiance to qualify themselves.

A change was also made to the literacy requirements for voters, where the test of writing fifty words of English at the dictation of the registering officer was dropped and the would-be voter merely had to be able to fill in the form in their own handwriting. The financial means qualification was the subject of a minor wording change, whereby the word "income" was added as an alternative to salary or wages.

Electoral procedure[edit]

The Electoral Act, 1928 added a procedure whereby electors could vote by post, but otherwise retained the same system as used previously.

Electoral districts[edit]

Having previously elected the Legislative Assembly by means of 15 electoral districts each returning two members, in 1927 a Delimitation Board was established to recommend new districts. The Board intended to recommend 30 single-member districts, but found this to be impractical given the strong population growth around Salisbury and Bulawayo and therefore recommended 22 single-member districts and four two-member districts. The retention of two-member districts was controversial. The Board found its work hampered by the inaccuracy of the electoral roll, and as a result registration procedure was tightened up in the Electoral Act, 1928.

Political parties[edit]

The development of political parties had advanced since the colony was granted self-government. The Progressive Party, an opposition group opposed to monopolies and advocating more development of Matabeleland, had been formed in June 1927 from a group of independent members, and was able to nominate 22 candidates for the 30 seats. The Rhodesia Labour Party had increased its strength in the towns.

Also in 1927 the Country Party had been formed by dissident farmers in the Rhodesian Agricultural Union.

Summary result[edit]

Electorate: 26,629 (25,832 in contested seats) Turnout: 60.5%

Party Seats in 1924 Candidates Elected Unopposed Popular vote
Votes %
Rhodesia Party 26 30 22 1 8,396 52.4
Progressive Party - 22 4 - 4,523 28.2
Rhodesia Labour Party - 8 3 - 1,921 12.0
Country Party - 4 - - 662 4.1
Independents 4 2 1 - 514 3.2
Totals 30 66 30 1 16,016 100%


  • CP – Centre Party
  • Lab – Rhodesia Labour Party
  • PP – Progressive Party
  • RP – Rhodesia Party
Electorate and turnout
Candidate Party Votes
Two members
2,138 (48.0%)
James Cowden RP 626
Donald MacGillivray RP 615
Francis Leslie Hadfield PP 442
Gilbert Samuel Hough PP 368
Two members
1,915 (47.5%)
Robert James Hudson RP 774
Allan Ross Welsh RP 711
Ernest Richard Davies PP 334
1,110 (62.3%)
Harry Herbert Davies Lab 440
George Johnson RP 252
791 (62.5%)
Ernest Lucas Guest RP 283
Charles Edward Gilfillan PP 211
842 (67.1%)
John Louis Martin Ind 344
Mrs. Ethel Tawse Jollie RP 221
900 (68.8%)
George Munro RP 440
Sir Ernest William Sanders Montagu PP 260
William Martin Lab 93
671 (70.0%)
George Mitchell RP 173
Herbert Stephen Henderson Ind RP 170
Daniel Judson PP 127
902 (68.2%)
Max Danziger RP 412
John William Watkinson PP 203
744 (58.7%)
Roger Edward Downes PP 250
Osmond Charteris Du Port RP 187
736 (64.3%)
Stephen Martin Lanigan O'Keeffe PP 255
Joseph Ritchie Stewart RP 218
717 (59.8%)
Charles Spearman Jobling RP 252
Frederic Phillip Mennell PP 177
881 (55.3%)
James Murdoch Eaton RP 272
Thomas William Williamson CP 215
793 (63.8%)
Luke Lot Green RP 266
Eric Arthur Nobbs PP 167
John Mitchell Moubray CP 73
749 (71.6%)
Robert Alexander Fletcher RP 385
Edmund Gilchrist Wrightson PP 151
775 (68.3%)
John Wallace Downie RP 345
Milton Evan Cleveland CP 184
844 (70.6%)
Arthur James Taylor RP 327
Alexander Louis Wynand Koch Worsthorne PP 269
906 (64.6%)
Lawrence John Walter Keller Lab 306
Henry Robert Barbour RP 279
968 (61.2%)
William Muter Leggate RP 268
John Arnold Edmonds CP 190
Edward Cuthbert Nangle PP 134
Two members
2,205 (64.0%)
Godfrey Martin Huggins RP 821
Percival Donald Leslie Fynn RP 771
Frank William Frederick Johnson PP 627
Vernon Arthur Lewis PP 601
Two members
2,743 (63.1%)
Harry Bertin PP 639
Gordon Ross Milne RP 629
Henry Fulton RP 616
John William Dunlop Lab 600
Frederick Eyles Lab 505
Walter Hill PP 473
806 (67.6%)
Robert Dunipace Gilchrist PP 300
James Baillie Macdonald RP 245
473 (76.5%)
Mark Douglas Claxton RP 259
Trevor Fletcher PP 103
707 (76.0%)
Charles Eickhoff RP 292
Alexander Tulloch PP 137
William Harrison Lab 108
741 (71.9%)
Jonathan Hunter Malcolm Lab 253
Oswald Trevor Baker RP 150
Robert Chaloner Critchley Long PP 130
Howard Unwin Moffat RP unopposed
775 (55.6%)
Alexander Robert Thomson RP 262
George Francis Scougal Lab 169

Changes during the Assembly[edit]


John Wallace Downie gave up his seat on 28 October 1930 on his appointment as High Commissioner of Southern Rhodesia in London, precipitating a byelection in his electoral district which was held on 5 December 1930.

Constituency Candidate Party Votes
MAZOE Edward Walter Lionel Noaks Ind 361
Frank Smith Reform Party 98
Cyril Allen RP 63

Salisbury South[edit]

Due to the resignation of Gordon Ross Milne who was in ill health, a byelection in this electoral district was held on 13 March 1931.

Constituency Candidate Party Votes
SALISBURY SOUTH Jacob Hendrik Smit Reform Party 564
Alexander Louis Wynand Koch Worsthorne Lab 526
Guy Harcourt Peall RP 310
Henry Fulton PP 168


Max Danziger left the Rhodesia Party on 4 June 1931 and simultaneously decided to vacate his seat to test the opinion of his electors. The result of the election was:

Constituency Candidate Party Votes
GWELO Max Danziger Ind unopposed

Party changes[edit]

In October 1929 the Progressive Party merged with the Country Party to form the Reform Party.


  • Source Book of Parliamentary Elections and Referenda in Southern Rhodesia 1898–1962 ed. by F.M.G. Willson (Department of Government, University College of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, Salisbury 1963)
  • Holders of Administrative and Ministerial Office 1894–1964 by F.M.G. Willson and G.C. Passmore, assisted by Margaret T. Mitchell (Source Book No. 3, Department of Government, University College of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, Salisbury 1966)