I WOULD like to compliment Rejoice Ngwenya for an article that finally breaks through the one-dimensional political correctness that has shackled Zimbabwean social commentary since Independence, when any talk of things positive in Rhodesi
a was just not on.
But in response to Ngwenya, there was no “slight edge” distinguishing the two economies.
The best way to measure the difference is to compare Rhodesia’s 1:1 Zimbabwe dollar to US dollar ratio with the current 100 000:1. There is nothing “slight edge” about these numbers. They are far polar opposites.
And even this statistic flatters the Mugabe “government” which has enjoyed international economic access and opportunity in a war-free environment.
We all know that the “sanctions” of which they complain are not directed at the country but specifically on an individual basis at the cabal of gangsters running the country at present; and that all their economic constraints were self-induced starting in 1980 with over-taxing and nationalisation of industry to the current madness in agriculture, banking and tourism.
The Rhodesian performance is unparalleled in economic terms by any country or people in the history of humankind; including the Americans. This was a landlocked country prohibited by international sanctions which fought a civil war on three fronts for 14 years.
On paper Rhodesia should have collapsed within the three weeks predicted by Harold Wilson’s advisers. But the historical reality is that the economy flourished under Ian Smith – from sheer ingenuity, excellence of management, adherence to market realities and the hard work of everybody, including a huge portion of the black population, and it has to be said his army, which consisted 80% of black volunteers.
Everybody who wanted to work could find employment and get paid in hard currency. Nobody went hungry. And I’m glad Ngwenya remembered how people used to enjoy themselves.
Against this, the stupefying ineptitude of the Mugabe government is there for all to see – the arrogance, the brutality and incompetence, the corruption, the lies and the betrayal of the nation. Nothing the Zanu PF propagandists can say or do will prevent history recording it as such.
John B Cowper,