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1972: Rhodesia's former leader arrested
Two leading white campaigners for black majority rule in Rhodesia have been arrested.

The former Prime Minister of Southern Rhodesia, Garfield Todd, and his daughter, Judith, were seized after violence erupted over Anglo-Rhodesian plans for independence.

No reason was given for their arrests, but Mr Todd has a ranch in Shabani, which is recognised as a hotbed of nationalist activity. Last week, police shot dead a man and nine others were injured after 400 miners rioted.

The trouble began with the arrival on 11 January of members of the Pearce Commission, appointed by the British government to test public opinion to the settlement proposals.

I'm old-fashioned, I don't believe in imprisonment without trial
Garfield Todd
The plans include a massive injection of British development aid and money for education, linked to more votes for black Rhodesians. There is also provision for black majority rule in the future, but most black Rhodesians want it now.

The Pearce Commission has been holding hearings around the country to explain the proposals and listen to public opinion.

A decision to abandon the hearings in the city of Gwelo because of the violence, sparked another big demonstration which police had to break up using tear gas.

On 18 January, Prime Minister Ian Smith retaliated against the demonstrators by ordering the arrests of Mr Todd and his daughter.

Mr Todd was ousted as Southern Rhodesia's prime minister by Mr Smith's right-wing Rhodesia Front party in 1962.

He had always supported the rights of the black majority but he has now become an outspoken critic of the increasingly repressive white regime.

Mr Todd and his daughter have also played a leading role in the anti-settlement campaign organised by the African National Council.

The council has been set up by black Rhodesians to seek political settlement through negotiation.

The couple are being held in separate jails.

Mr Todd said: "It's not very pleasant after having lived in Rhodesia 31 years and having tried to serve the country, to be placed in really what is a comfortable imprisonment without trial. I'm old-fashioned,

"I don't believe in imprisonment without trial."

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Crowd of black Rhodesian men seated on the ground
Black Rhodesians want majority rule



In Context
Garfield Todd and his daughter were held until 22 February when they were released and placed under house arrest.

The African National Council - led by Bishop Muzorewa, an African nationalist - was set up in December 1971 as a rallying group for black Rhodesians opposed to the settlement.

Ian Smith consistently refused to meet openly round a negotiating table.

He clamped down on the organisation, banning membership cards and arresting branch leaders.

But it continued to press for change, calling on the United Nations to impose sanctions against Ian Smith's regime.

It was not until 1976 that Ian Smith accepted the principle of majority rule.

Rhodesia gained its legal independence under President Canaan Banana in April 1980.

Stories From 18 Jan


 
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