Cecil Rhodes, a multi-millionaire, resided in South Africa. His goal was to spread the British way of life over as much of Africa as possible. Just north of South Africa was Southern Rhodesia. In 1890, Rhodes sent an expedition to occupy Southern Rhodesia. The expedition went to a land lacking in roads, bridges, telegraph lines and electricity. The inhabitants were totally illiterate, dressed in skins, and living in huts made from sticks, mud and thatch.
The handful of white men brought peace, medicine and education. The indigenous people prospered and multiplied. Magnificent roads and bridges spanned the country. Free rural clinics were established before such practices in England. Industry, mining, agriculture and commerce yielded rich fruit. The educational facilities afforded to the indigenous people were unsurpassed on the entire African continent.
In 1923 King George V conferred self-government upon Southern Rhodesia. Under that 1923 Constitution the Rhodesians were completely self- governing. In 1953, Southern Rhodesia could have had Dominion status for the asking. Following the wishes of the British, in a national referendum, Southern Rhodesia agreed to join Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland to form a Federation. In time Southern Rhodesia asked for a return to independence. Northern Rhodesia was given independence and became Zambia. Nyasaland was also given independence and became Malawi. South Rhodesia was renamed Rhodesia but was not given independence.
In November 1965, after two years of futile negotiations, Prime Minister Ian Smith declared Rhodesian Independence. The British Government immediately imposed the most vindictive sanctions possible and prospects of war upon Rhodesia was not ruled out. The United Nations, for the first time in its history, also imposed economic sanctions on Rhodesia, which was pro-Western and firmly anti-Communist. President Lyndon Johnson signed an executive order to align the U.S. with the U.N. sanctions, The U.S. was very dependent on Thodesia for chromium, an important element in steel making. Johnson’s order forced the U.S. to acquire chromium from Russia.
Because the Rhodesian economy had such vitality it continued to expand for years with sanctions in place. However, in the 1970s the Communists had taken over Malawi and Zambia, and fed terrorists into Rhodesia. Internally terrorists from the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) led by Joshua Nome and the Zimbabwe African People’s Union (ZAPU) led by Robert Mugabe murdered 45,000 Rhodesians, more than half of whom were black. Between them, these two branches of what was called the “Patriotic Front” shut down several hundred hospitals and clinics, closed over 1,000 schools, destroyed virtually all rural transportation and left a trail of bloodshed all over the nation.
The activities of ZANU and ZAPU amounted to a textbook campaign of using terrorists to bring down a government. Western media continued to tout both groups as worthy representatives of “Oppressed majorities “ who were “victims of minority white rule”.
The British government returned Rhodesia to the status of a British colony and then granted independence to the country — renamed Zimbabwe in 1980. Robert Mugabe and his ZAPU immediately seized power in a farcical election sponsored by British overseers and marked by pronounced violence. Mugabe oversaw a series of catastrophic economic overhauls that turned Zimbabwe, a resource-rich former British colony, from Africa’s bread basket into a desperate recipient of food aid and triggered inflation of historic propositions.
At age 93 and in power since 1980, Mugabe is at the end of his tenure. Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa is assumed to be heir apparent to
the presidency. This is nothing to celebrate since Mnangagna is nicknamed “the Crocodile” based on his past conduct.
Regardless of who will succeed Mugabe, it will be a power struggle based on destroyed democratic underpinnings. Democracy requires a culture that accepts the rule of law, a people willing to accept self- discipline demanded by a functioning democracy and leaders who put public interest before self-interest. None of this exists in Zimbabwe.
Furthermore, the United States, the United Nations and Britain posture is to crush pro- Western, Anti-Communist nations such as they did to the Province of Katanga in 1962. Katanga’s duly elected President Moise Tshombe had the gall to pattern his government after the U.S. Constitution. The chance of ever allowing Zimbabwe to return to an Ian Smith government that had met Cecil Rhodes’ dream is nil.
Art Crino is a combat veteran of WW II, graduate of OSU in Electrical Engineering and his career was in engineering and factory management. Art may be contacted by e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Reprinted with permission from the Roseburg Beacon News, Vol.10 – Issue 48 November 29, 2017