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Mugabe’s Zimbabwe Sinks to New Lows

By Mike Blair

It only took a quarter of a century for U.S., British and communist influence to transform once-peaceful and prosperous Rhodesia—now Zimbabwe—into the world’s worst basket case, and British Prime Minister
Tony Blair now admits the havoc it has wrought.

Recently, Blair told the British parliament that the Zimbabwean regime, headed for more than two decades by Robert Mugabe, is “a disgrace,” adding “there are people suffering there in a country that is potentially wealthy.”

It was in the late 1970s that international headlines harped about the “struggle” of majority blacks in the small African nation to gain rule, overturning a predominantly white government that had built and ruled the country since its establishment by Cecil Rhodes in l897.

White and black Rhodesians who opposed the communist government feared for their lives if the black majority, guided by Marxists, gained control. But, being part of the British Empire, Rhodesia’s leaders, headed by Prime Minister Ian Smith, were under increasing pressure, particularly from Britain and the United States, to relinquish minority rule.

On Nov. 11, 1965, Smith announced his country’s universal declaration of independence from Great Britain. Meanwhile, guerrilla activity against whites and blacks who opposed the government increased and became more brutal with massacres of white farmers, their families and workers becoming commonplace.

The British government insisted upon black majority rule and the United Nations imposed a crippling embargo

against Rhodesia in May 1968. From that point it was all downhill for the Smith government.

An “internal settlement” in March 1978 allowed the country to be ruled by three popular black leaders and Smith until there could be a transfer to black rule, but this was rejected by the pro-communist guerrillas.

In any case, critics of the Smith scheme called it a “sell out.” Ultimately, elections were held and blacks gained power. Rhodesia became Zimbabwe and communist Mugabe became president.

Mugabe instituted an “economic adjustment program,” which led to widespread hardship. This was followed by a land redistribution program—and what white Rhodesians had always feared came true, as roving bands of Mugabe’s thugs murdered farmers and political opponents.

Here is what Mugabe’s leadership has accomplished since 1980: 80% unemployment; a life expectancy of 38 years compared to about 65 before majority rule; 25% of the population believed to be HIV positive; the world’s highest inflation rate at 91.3%; and a collapse of the farming system.
In 2005 Mugabe started “Operation Murambatsvina” (Clean the Filth), which was the forcible eviction of 700,000 people from their homes and businesses to “restore order and sanity.” The real motive, however, was to curtail demonstrations as the Zimbabwean economy continued to deteriorate.

In a quarter of a century Mugabe and his pro-communist followers, which the U.S. government conspired with Britain to put in power, have transformed Zimbabwe from a prosperous agricultural and mining nation into a country of starving, brutalized people, at least 3 million of whom will ultimately die of AIDS.

(Issue #21, May 22, 2006)

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Updated May 13, 2006