Under Ian Smith it was one of the economic showcases of Africa. Under its present 'leader', Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe is a hopeless basket case - with inflation rocketing into the stratosphere and an economy that has contracted by an incredible 30% since 1999.
Mugabe has, inter alia, penalised the food-producing white farmers of the country by purging them from land their forefathers farmed for generations. Thus, we now see a country mired in atrocious poverty. In addition we see AIDS on the meteoric increase; and an average life expectancy of 33 years for a male. That's what you get when you substitute competent government for a dictatorship under the auspices of politically correct democratisation.
I am not defending white minority rule under Ian Smith for the sake of it. After all, nobody was more against the apartheid system in South Africa than I. What I wish to highlight is the indisputable fact that Zimbabwe (then Rhodesia) was a relatively stable and prosperous polity. Smith was no panacea for societal ills - far from it. He was not shy in condemning 'British interference' using language every bit as strident as that employed by Mugabe today. He too lost some of the support from the principal backbone of the white farming community. In fact, immediately prior to the Lancaster House negotiations of 1979/1980, Smith had actually started to haemorrhage the support of the agriculturally-based white minority.
Nevertheless, Smith not only presided over a reasonably good economy, he also eventually countenanced the idea of black majority rule. He was encouraged to do so by none other than the then Prime Minister of South Africa, B.J. Vorster. Compare the attitude of a past South African government riddled with the moral encumbrances of apartheid declaring the inherent 'injustice' of minority rule, and the unblemished support given to Mugabe today by Thabo Mbeki. It would seem that ethnic solidarity is even more bigoted and biased under black leaders than it was under their Caucasian counterparts. Yet methinks the Left will stay strangely silent on that one.
Mugabe's roots in electoral fraud are nothing new. He was suspected of using fraudulent tactics to defeat Bishop Abel Muzorewa in 1980. As the weary voters of that benighted country go to the polls today, perhaps the West should think about using similar methods against this wicked, brutal man (Mugabe) as they did against Saddam Hussein. The citizens of Zimbabwe - black and white - deserve no less.