|Preceded by||Republican Front|
|This article is part of a series on the|
politics and government of
The Conservative Alliance of Zimbabwe was the final incarnation of a party formerly called the Republican Front and prior to that the Rhodesian Front. In the immediate post-independence period, the party sought to promote the position of whites in Zimbabwe and did not initially seek support amongst other ethnic groups.
White politics in Zimbabwe immediately after independence were mainly involved in contesting 20 reserved "white roll" seats in the Zimbabwe parliament, although some whites joined ZANU (PF). The RF party remained under the dominance of Ian Smith who insisted on keeping its identity as a white party concentrating on issues of importance to whites. The RF and later CAZ did not contest common roll seats in either 1980 or 1985. The inadequacy of this as a political strategy quickly became apparent. Most of the sitting RF MPs in the 1980 to 85 parliament either became independents or defected to ZANU.
Smith's response to this in the 1985 general election was to mount a campaign against the defectors, and RF (now renamed CAZ) succeeded in winning 15 of the 20 white seats.[full citation needed] The white seats in Parliament were abolished in 1987, although CAZ continued to enjoy limited representation at municipal level. By that time, white-led civic groups such as the CZI (Confederation of Zimbabwe Industry) and CFU (Commercial Farmers Union) were openly supporting ZANU (PF).
In July 1992, Ian Smith chaired a meeting of opposition political groups with a view to forming a political front to oppose ZANU (PF). This meeting was attended by representatives of Rhodesian-era parties including CAZ, UANC, ZANU-Ndonga and ZUM. The Forum for Democratic Reform and the Forum Party (incorporating CAZ) emerged from this.