Why, in a whole continent of failed countries is Zimbabwe the most tragic of them all?  Under severe Western pressure, Rhodesia was forced to capitulate to Marxist terrorists, and Mugabe assumed power in 1980.  During “independence” celebrations for the newly re-named Zimbabwe, two of Mugabe’s most active supporters – President Samora Machel of Mozambique, and President Julius Nyerere of Tanzania told him “You have the jewel of Africa in your hands… Now look after it.”
What was so different about Zimbabwe, and why did Mugabe’s fellow Marxists regard the former Rhodesia as the “jewel of Africa”?
Rhodesia (along with South Africa) was one of the few African countries occupied permanently by European (predominantly, but not exclusively British) settlers.  It was NOT a British Colony.  Elsewhere, Colonial Administrators merely managed affairs for the benefit of their Home Governments before going “home” to retire, or for another posting elsewhere in the Empire.  This was the case in both (Portuguese) Mozambique and in Tanzania (formerly Tanganyika, under German Rule until the end of World War 1, then mandated to Britain).
On the contrary, self-governing Rhodesia benefitted from generations of settlers who cared about the country they’d come to live in.  By the 1970s, there were second and third generation white settlers in Rhodesia.  They had every interest in developing infrastructure such as roads, water reservoirs, pipelines, sewerage, electricity supplies, education, commercial farming, mines and industry; and in preserving civilised government.  Most black Rhodesians were contented, and a growing well-to-do African middle class, who were entitled to vote, was developing.  By contrast, Mugabe’s, and other African Nationalists’ call was for “one-man-one-vote”.  Rhodesians had seen that, in the rest of Africa, this invariably meant “one-man-one-vote… ONCE”.  This is what the long Rhodesian Civil War was all about – not white against black, but western values against Marxism.  There were far more black than white professional soldiers and policemen in Rhodesia.
The “one-man-one-vote… once” concerns of decent Rhodesian blacks and whites have, sadly been proven in Zimbabwe – so called elections are not free or fair and never have been.  But then “democracy” only works in Africa as long as the voters choose to vote for the Party that is in power.  The moment there is a threat to the ruling party, elections become even more rigged and violent.  Last week, Mugabe’s thugs forced thousands of reluctant but terrified “supporters” to attend a rally in support of his candidature for yet another term in office as President of Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe’s infrastructure is collapsing, and the country that was the breadbasket of Africa has become another BASKET CASE in Africa.

END

Author, Peter Davies was a soldier in Rhodesia from 1963 to 1975, where he took part in the capture and interrogation of terrorists.  His novel, Scatterlings of Africa, is based on his own experience during Rhodesia’s war on terror, and personal observations of how terrorist activities impacted Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and its people.

Readers who would like to make a contribution to help innocent pensioners, who are unable to buy food and other basic necessities in Zimbabwe, should please contact Patricia Williams by email patashnix@btinternet.com.

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