2009 - British colonialism still rules Zimbabwe
tony at tlio.org.uk
Sat Dec 27 19:25:48 GMT 2008
THE EPITOME OF COLONIALISM
by Alf Mendes
It goes without saying that the colonised people of this world have
paid an awful price for having been colonised by the wealthier
countries. And, inasmuch as Zimbabwe is one such country hitting the
headlines today - then ,surely, it is essential to examine in some
detail it's history over the past century-or-so if we are to reach a
rational conclusion. Hence the following concise coverage - in
more-or-less chronological order - of what is now Zimbabwe - using
excerpts of pertinence to this subject.
1835: Dutch settlers in the Cape Colony - which was taken over by the
British in 1806 - migrated north (the Great Trek), and settled in a
region which later became the Republics of the Orange Free State and
1880-1881: The "Transvaal War" (Boer War 1) was a brief conflict in
which the Dutch Boer settlers successfully resisted a British attempt
to annex the Transvaal, thus re-establishing an independent republic.
1881: The Briton, Cecil John Rhodes became a member of the Cape
Parliament . Born a sickly child, he was sent to South Africa at an
early age, and, by 1878, had made a fortune from his gold mines.
1888: Rhodes approached the Ndebele leader, Lobengula - and in
exchange for arms supplies and money, he received the latter's
permission for the British to mine and colonize the lands between the
Limpopo and Zambezi rivers, which resulted in attacks by local
tribesmen on the British which lasted until 1890
1890: Having formed the British South Africa Company (BSAC) in 1889,
Rhodes became Prime Minister and, leading an army of five hundred
whites (known as the 'Pioneers' he marched northwards, to colonise the
region noted above and defeat said local tribesmen.
1891: The BSAC granted these white 'settlers' the right to farm 3000
acres of this land - which, by 1899, had risen to 15,762,364 acres!
1895: These settlers, having appropriated much of this land for
farming, now called this region Rhodesia.
18991902: In the 2nd Boer War, the Dutch were initially successful -
but subsequently driven back by Lord Kitchener, Chief of Staff in
South Africa, who reacted to this by destroying Boer farms and moving
civilians into concentration camps. This war ended with the signing of
the Treaty of Vereeniging in May 1902 - a settlement which brought to
an end the Transvaal and the Orange Free State as Boer republics.
However, the British granted the Boers £3 million for restocking and
repairing farm lands and promised eventual self-government - granted
in 1907. (Intriguingly, Kitchener became the leading officer of the
British Army in WW 1).
1902: Rhodes died of heart failure.
Before 1918, most settlers were content with company rule. But as more
white settlers arrived, company rule seemed more and more
anachronistic. Besides, many of the settlers were unhappy at the
stipulations that protected the Black Africans.
1922: Rhodesian settlers held a referendum rejecting the
recommendation by Britain and South Africa
that Southern Rhodesia be incorporated into the Union of South Africa
1923: Now known as Southern Rhodesia, the BSAC handed control over to
the white settlers, who were now able to pass punitive laws against
its African subjects - thereby reserving the best 50% of land for
themselves (and WW 2 helped resurrect Rhodesia's economy considerably
after the great depression of 1929 by supplying food to the Allies.)
1930: The BSAC passes the Land Apportionment Act to dispossess the
indigenous blacks of their land.
1948: The Nationalist Party in South Africa wins election. result?
1953: Southern Rhodesia merged with Northern Rhodesia and Malawi
(Nyasaland) forming the Central Afrcan Federation, which was dissolved
in 1963. Southern Rhodesia now became known as Rhodesia until June
April 1964 to November 1965: Ian Douglas Smith made Prime Minister of
1965: Unwilling to accept black majority rule, Smith severs links with
Britain by declaring the illegal Unilateral Declaration of
Independence (UDI), whereby 220,000 white Rhodesians would enjoy
privileges over nearly four million black Rhodesians.
1970: Smith declares Rhodesia a Republic, but this is unrecognised as
such by the Zimbabwe African People's Union (ZAPU), led by Joshua
Nkomo, and the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU), led by Robert
Mugabe - which results in a protracted guerrilla war.
1979: Smith was defeated, and from 10 September-15 December 1979 the
British government held a conference of the warring parties at
Lancaster House, chaired by Lord Carrington, Secretary of State for
Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs of the United Kingdom, in order to
reach an agreement on the terms of an Independence Constitution. An
agreement was signed, ending biracial rule in Zimbabwe Rhodesia
following negotiations between representatives of the Patriotic Front
(PF), consisting of ZAPU and ZANU, and the Zimbabwe Rhodesia
government, represented by Bishop Abel Muzorewa and Ian Smith.
March 1980: elections were held under British supervision, as a result
of which: in April 1980, Mugabe became Zimbabwe's first Prime
1982: An Organisation of African Unity (OAU) observer team labeled
Mugabe's election victory legitimate, free, and fair.
1987: Mugabe elected President.( Smith had remained an MP until his
retirement in 1987.)
1988: ZANU and ZAPU merged, creating a one-party state with a
population of 11,910,000 - and the
Capital - now called Harare (ex-Salisbury).
1990: Zimbabwean economy stagnates. It turns to the World Bank and the
IMF who advise its government to adopt a structural adjustment plan,
as a result of which, Zimbabwe's gross domestic product grew by only
1% in 1991 (it had been growing previously by over 4% a year) - and
industrial production fell back to 2% (it had previously been rising
by just under 6% per year). In effect, this 'plan' forced Zimbabwe to
sell off its stockpiles of maize in order to pay off debt owed to the
IMF & World Bank. Indeed, Zimbabwe now had to import maize in order to
feed its destitute people! ( as revealed in the early '70's - shades
of the failure/irrelevance of the IMF & World Bank who had acted as
agents of the Bretton Woods system for the fiscal reconstruction of
Europe! And keep in mind that, under the Bretton Woods agreement,
governors of the World Bank would be appointed by rhe president of the
US - not the UN!)
2001: With G.W.Bush as president, The Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic
Recovery Act (ZDERA) is passed, stating that U.S. sanctions will
remain in place against the Zimbabwean "government until the U.S.
president certifies that the rule of law has been restored in
Zimbabwe, including respect for ownership and title to property. . .
and an end to. . .lawlessness."
2002: In conjunction with the British and the EU, The US bans travel
to the US by senior members of Mugabe's government, and any person who
benefits from business dealings with such senior members. Mugabe's
response: "On March 31st [election day] we must dig a grave not just
six feet but twelve feet and bury Mr Blair and the Union Jack....". EU
sanctions were subsequently upgraded to include a travel ban on 95
Zanu-PF members, an arms embargo, and an asset freeze. And in 2005 EU
sanctions were renewed for another year.
2002: The landmark Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment Act N0.16 was
passed by parliament in May this year, making it legal for the
government to compulsorily acquire land or resettle the landless black
people without paying compensation to affected white farmers. History
had caught up with the descendants of the Rhodesian white settlers
under the British South Africa Company who had passed the notorious
Land Apportionment Act in 1930 to dispossess the indigenous blacks of
their land. (see above). Nigerian President Obasanjo said Mugabe's
land reforms would have begun in 1990, but the African leaders
intervened fearing it would damage the anti-apartheid efforts in South
Africa. Inflation rate in Zimbabwe is 113% - unemployment 60%.
2003: In December, the Commonweath voted to suspend Zimbabwe
indefinitely. The African Union (AU) selected President Mugabe as
Southern African Ambassador at the 2003 AU Summit in Mozambique.
2003: Bush orders the freezing of assets held in the US by 75
highranking officials - including Mugabe's wife. And in July of that
month flies to South Africa to urge President Mbeki to pressurise
Mugabe into achieving reform of the latter's government.
2004: The US Ambassador to South Africa, Jendayi Frazer, similarly
urges South Africa to pressurise Mugabe. And in the following year,
similarly urged the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to
do the same.
Jan. 2005: Condoleezza Rice told the Senate Foreign Relations
Committee that Zimbabwe was one of six "outposts of tyranny"
worldwide. One month later, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State
for African Affairs, Thomas Woods, told the American Enterprise
Institute that Zimbabwe "has now become a textbook case of bad and
23 Nov. 2005: Zimbabwe officials' assets frozen by US - the US has
widened sanctions, freezing the assets of 128 people and 33
11 July 2008: UN Security Council: Russia and China vetoed a
resolution that would have imposed sanctions on Mugabe, and 11 senior
members of his government.
14 July 2008: Gordon Brown announced his country will step up
sanctions on Zimbabwe and call on the European Union to do the same.
15 July 2008: Bush and his international policy team pushed on all
fronts to increase pressure on Zimbabwe's government
21 Jul 2008: A deal between Robert Mugabe and Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai was signed on talks they held.
22 Jul 2008: EU foreign ministers widened sanctions against Zimbabwe
on Tuesday, adding 37 more people to a list of individuals under a
visa ban and asset freeze. The EU's French presidency and an EU
official said that 37 individuals and four "entities"- probably major
companies - will be added to the list of more than 130 individuals
under a visa ban and whose assets are frozen. French Foreign Minister
Bernard Kouchner added "Sanctions have played a role, we have to keep
up that role."
The above is not a comprehensive list of the sanctions - but is
nevertheless adequate enough to reveal that Mugabe is not as guilty of
the current misery in Zimbabwe, as is the actions of the US/EU - to
say nothing of the British colonisers in the past!
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