The Republican Front party of former Rhodesian prime minister Ian Smith lost its control over the white seats in Zimbabwe's Parliament with the defection of another rebel.
John Landau, the Republican Front chief whip in Parliament, said today he had resigned from the party. He joined eight other Republican Front members who quit because they no longer believe the Republican Front represents white views and interests in black-ruled Zimbabwe. The legislators now become independents in the House of Assembly.
The party won all 20 places reserved for whites in the 100-seat house in Zimbabwe's independence election. Now its representation in the house has slumped to eight.
In addition to the nine rebels, one legislator, Wally Stuttaford, 61, is detained on suspicion of plotting a coup. Another former minister is abroad, wanted by police on a similar charge, and a third has emigrated.
Zimbabwe's Prime Minister Robert Mugabe has hinted that more Cabinet posts could become available for white members of Parliament if they cut their ties with the party, which he has accused of being rooted in a past of racial division and white supremacy. At present there is only one nonparty white in the 28-member Cabinet.