HomeAnalysisZim now worse than Rhodesia

Zim now worse than Rhodesia

ZIMBABWE has become the exact same state the liberation war combatants fought against, that of gross human rights abuses, repression and intimidation of those opposed to President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF government.

Candid Comment,Faith Zaba

Former cabinet minister and Zanu PF politburo member Eddison Zvobgo and other war heroes like former vice-president Joshua Nkomo and Josiah Tongogara must be turning in their graves as Zimbabwe becomes the police state Rhodesia was.

In an interview in 1974, Zvobgo said: “We do not want to create a socio-legal order in the country in which people are petrified, in which people go to bed having barricaded their doors and windows because someone belonging to the Special Branch of the police will break into their house. This is what we have been fighting against. Every one of us has been in jail 10 years, 14 years, I myself nine years without trial. Every one of us has lived and has had to live scared of the police. How on earth would we create a society which is exactly like that? We don’t want it. We are fed up of it. This is why we are in this revolution for as long as it is necessary to abolish this system.”
However, 36 years down the line after Independence, the police state still remains intact, this time under a black government.

Mugabe has adopted legislation used by Rhodesian prime minister Ian Smith to maintain his grip on power. Opposition political leaders and those perceived to be “enemies of the state” have to endure the same brutality and intolerance that nationalist leaders suffered under Smith’s regime, which made them take up arms against the colonialists.

The legal, structural and cultural aspects of the political and state system have largely remained in place. On the legal side, Smith’s Law and Order (Maintenance) Act, which was used against nationalist leaders and thousands of ordinary people, remained in the statute books until the late 1990s when it was repealed and replaced by the Public Order and Security Act, which is even more repressive. Opposition parties and civil society groupings cannot freely hold meetings, rallies and demonstrations without running into battles with the police. Just on Wednesday, several people were injured, among them journalists and innocent passers-by, as police used brute force to crush a peaceful anti-bond notes demonstration in Harare’s central business district. In the past few weeks, the police have launched a crackdown on those calling on Mugabe to step down after years of misrule.

The Emergency Powers Act remained 10 years after Independence and it was replaced by the Presidential Powers (Temporary Measures) Act enacted in 1986.

The security establishment, which was a key part of the repressive apparatus of the colonial state, also continued without change. The CIO has remained almost the same in structure and practice. The Joint Operations Command formed by Smith to co-ordinate the war effort against the liberation movements is still there, but now more to fight the opposition and citizens. It is the one behind the crackdowns. The situation has actually worsened. Zimbabwe now has the presidential insult laws. Some of the institutions have been strengthened with the creation of an executive president in 1987. Mugabe has now been elevated to a demigod. Indeed, the more things change, the more they remain the same.

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  1. You see there is a fundantal difference that history is forgetting.

    While Rhodesia was no picnic for black people, there was no starvation, infant mortality was lower and there was free health and education.

    Those things absent today.

    Ian Smaith was actively and loudly working towards a transitional government, where the majority would rule, but with wise governance.

    Under Rhodesia there was hope for everyone.

    None of the above can be said for Mugabes Zombabwe.

    There is no hope, there hasn’t been for the last 15 years, the country is in a worse condition than it was 30 years ago.

    How the hell do you go backwards?

    So I put it to you that while Rhodesia had its problems, a black man was better off in Rhodesia, he had food, a job and health … But above all he had hope.

  2. Yes there was prejudice and oppression and that was unacceptable totally but economically and in many other ways you just cannot compare the two era’s and I’ve lived through both.

  3. What amazes me is that you’ve taken so long to reach this conclusion. Zimbabwe became worse than Rhodesia in 1997.

  4. Good afternoon,

    Your piece on https://theindependen.wpengine.com/2016/08/05/zim-now-worse-rhodesia/ was interesting but NOT true. Zimbabwe is FAR worse than Rhodesia ever was. YES there were issues under Prime Minister Ian Smith, but he was a BETTER leader than the current President, who seems to think he deserves to be in the job for life and sod anybody else!

    It’s such a shame he has turned, what could’ve been a great opportunity of reconciliation and peace, Nelson Mandela did into race hating, anti west and white, plus anybody else foreign born or bred.

    At least your newspaper doesn’t wholeheartedly support him for his gang and well done for staying mainly INDEPENDENT. All newspapers should.

    I wasn’t as fortunate as some people to have lived in Rhodesia, but I have lived briefly in Zimbabwe and I can tell you I had a great time there and visit regularly.

    I stayed in Bulawayo and Victoria Falls and it is still possible to go to various parts of those places and see the past and what Rhodesia would have looked like. Shame it is now in the past really!

    As a white Westerner I never once felt in danger or experienced any issues while I was there apart from private ones. Black people who I stayed with, were very kind, helpful and good to me in both towns.

    Sadly the government of today has ruined the country and messed everything up and they have let their own people down more than any Western one every did. Yes not everything was perfect in Rhodesia and yes the government then could have done things differently and gotten a better outcome, but I blame the british government and state for the loss of Rhodesia, they are the ones that let go and destroyed the country. Its very sad!

    I support both Black and White Zim born people uniting to make the country great again in future. This current ruling party has ruined it for all. I stayed in the country on and off for a while and apart from certain comments from a friend who I have a lot of respect for, nobody else appeared interested in politics or race hate, etc.

    I think the best option for the country was when they had tried to unify it under Zimbabwe-Rhodesia, this forged both old and new ideas and peoples together, sadly the british government are to blame for its downfall as they would not support anybody breaking away from their rule unless they allowed it, which they didn’t and certain terrorist groups (so called freedom fighters) wanted power, which in the end got it, and look at what the country has turned into now? Its VERY SAD indeed.

    I pray and hope for change and the RIGHT change for Zim in future. The country needs international investment, development and support. The UN should come in as it did for Namibia and aid this.

    Take care and God bless.

  5. For us who lived in both eras Ian Smith respected civil servants never was a civil servant (mukomana wekuseri).
    Education was of value–Standard Three, Standard Six, Form two etc all had value in the economy.
    There was dignity of labour –you work you earn–and whatever you earned would not be below or less than the bread basket. unskilled many of us were.
    There was rule of law I remember a black patrol officer arresting a minister for driving without headlights on after six o’clock.
    Smith led by example ask the (Selukwe forks) he was not afraid of his subjects -driving an old jeep around the town.
    Smith regime was disciplined in spending the government funds-note after the liberation war the economy was still at par with Britain despite the costs of the war and the sanctions imposed on him .
    The word corruption was never heard in Smith regime for there was unity of purpose–Rhodesia will never run dry—compare with our today’s experience–inflation 500% at one time and we are going there very very soon.

  6. Appreciated all comments above. Zimbabweans fought for independence from white rule and what was then thought as injustices and wanted better from what tbey were experiencing at tbat time.
    The hope was that there was going to be equal opportunities for all with a black government in power.
    Black people had such high hopes at independence of improved lives.
    Little did they know that putting a black leader with foreign ideologies like Marxism leninism which was alien to Zimbabwean citizens would surely lead to dictatorship.
    It is only in zimbabwe where you find what is called a politiburo.
    What for? In short white oppression has been seriously dwarfed by extreme oppression of blacks ny their own black folks.

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