Northern Rhodesian general election, 1954

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General elections were held in Northern Rhodesia on 19 February 1954.[1] The result was a victory for the Federal Party, which won 10 of the 12 elected European seats in the Legislative Council.[2]


Although Geoffrey Beckett, leader of the elected members in the Legislative Council, had called for the elections to be fought on a non-party basis, the Federal Party voted to contest the elections at a congress held on 6 January.[1] Beckett was prevented from contesting the elections after his nomination papers were rejected by the returning officer after he failed to return his declaration form in time.[1] In Livingstone the local Federal Party selected Llewellyn Oxenham as its candidate, but the party headquarters refused to ratify his nomination, instead nominating Harry Thom, who it was widely thought would stand down if he was elected to allow Beckett to be stand in a by-election.[1] The Ndola branch's selection of its candidate being overruled by the party executive after it was claimed new members had been enrolled and votes had been solicited in the bar of the local railway club where the vote took place.[1]

The Confederate Party opted not to contest the elections, although some members running as independents.[1]


In mining towns Federal Party candidates defeated independents backed by the European Mineworkers Union and the European Salaried Staff Association. The only two seats in which they were defeated were the Midlands constituency near Lusaka (won by John Gaunt) and Livingstone, where Frank Derby won by 11 votes after the Federal Party vote was split between Oxenham and Thom.[3][2] Both Derby and Gaunt were members of the Confederate Party. Voter turnout was between 70 and 80% in the mining areas, but lower in other constituencies,[2] and around 60% overall.[4]

Party Votes % Seats
Federal Party 4,549 54.31 10
Independents[a] 3,827 45.69 2
Total 8,376 100 12
Source: East Africa and Rhodesia[4]

a The unofficial Federal Party candidate in Livingstone was counted as an independent.

By constituency

Constituency Candidate Party Votes % Notes
Broken Hill Herbert Roberts Federal Party 619 82.8 Elected
William Kirkwood Independent 129 17.2
Chingola William Gray Dunlop Federal Party 325 56.9 Elected
G D Crane Independent 246 43.1
Eastern Reuben Kidson Federal Party 175 54.0 Elected
W B McGee Independent 149 46.0
Livingstone Frank Derby Independent 248 34.8 Elected
Harry Thom Federal Party 237 33.3
Llewellyn Oxenham Federal Party (unofficial) 227 31.9
Luanshya Rodney Malcomson Federal Party 463 44.7 Elected
J F Purvis Independent 430 41.5
A E Heller Independent 143 13.8
Lusaka Ernest Sergeant Federal Party 615 48.1 Elected
Nan Staples Independent 531 41.5
Richard Sampson Independent 132 10.3
Midland John Gaunt Independent 221 55.9 Elected
Brian Goodwin Federal Party 174 44.1
Mufulira L Tucker Federal Party 483 48.1 Elected
Alexander Stephens Independent 416 41.4
A E Beech Independent 106 10.5
Ndola W F Rendell Federal Party 690 70.4 Elected
Margaret Smith Independent 290 29.6
Nkana James Botha Federal Party 768 57.9 Elected
A B Hunter Independent 559 42.1
Northern Harold Watmore Federal Party Unopposed Elected
South-Western William Harris Wroth Federal Party Unopposed Elected
Source: East Africa and Rhodesia[4]


On 13 January four African members (Robinson Mwake Nabulyato from Southern Province, Safeli Hannock Chileshe from Central Province, Paskale Sokota from Western Province and Lakement Harvey Ngaundu from Northern Province) had been nominated for membership of the Assembly by the Northern Rhodesian African Representative Council from a field of 14 candidates.[5]


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  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 "Mr. G. B. Beckett's Nomination Invalid" East Africa and Rhodesia, 28 January 1954, p678
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "Federal Party Success In N. Rhodesia: Mining Area Victories", The Times, 19 February 1954, p7, Issue 52860
  3. "N. Rhodesian Voting Analysed Federal Party's Hold", The Times, 20 February 1954, p5, Issue 52861
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 "Federal Party Wins in N. Rhodesia", East Africa and Rhodesia, 25 February 1954, p797
  5. "N. Rhodesian Changes: Unofficial Members' Responsibilities", The Times, 15 January 2011, p7, Issue 52830