Zimbabwe

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Snapshot,
Michael Bratton

Unlike in 2008, Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe will probably not have to use brutal violence to triumph in today's elections. He has put in place a system of security, legal, fiscal, and administrative measures so rigged in his favor that force will be unnecessary.

Comment, Jul/Aug 2010
Robert I. Rotberg

Zimbabwe has been ruled by a unity government since 2008, but President Robert Mugabe and his party continue to usurp power and pillage the country's wealth.

Essay, Sep/Oct 2000
Robert I. Rotberg

Venal leaders are the curse of Africa, and Robert Mugabe is a walking reminder of how much damage they can do. No mere thug like Idi Amin, the gifted Mugabe created modern Zimbabwe and then robbed it of its enormous potential. The comparatively well-run, well-off country that he inherited is now a corruption-riddled, autocratic mess sent into economic free fall by its kleptomaniacal president's whims -- including tampering with elections, sending troops to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and hiring goons to invade white-owned farms. An indulgent world contributed to Mugabe's sense of invincibility. Instead, he and his ilk should be ostracized.

Essay, Winter 1987
Robert G. Mugabe

The Republic of South Africa is both engaging in a 'vicious and ugly' civil war and 'waging an undeclared war against its neighbours'. After reviewing RSA intervention in Mozambique and Angola, and arguing that the front-line states are opposed to apartheid, not to whites or to Western interests, calls for US policy-makers to match words with deeds, namely by backing a policy of economic sanctions. Then prime minister, now president of Zimbabwe.

Essay, Special 1980
Andrew Young

On April 18, 1980, as Lord Soames and Robert Mugabe exchanged compliments, the Union Jack made its final descent on the African continent and the flag of Zimbabwe flew alone after a generation of struggle in the United Nations, on the battlefield, and at the polls. With the independence of Zimbabwe, U.S. policy toward Africa registered an important achievement, and a new period in African-American relations began. Ironically, few policymakers in the Congress or Department of State had believed such an outcome to be possible. However, real African and American interests ultimately prevailed against the anxieties and prejudices which have long limited our thinking about events in Africa and had also blocked a settlement of that long-lived conflict.

Essay, Summer 1980
Xan Smiley

On April 18, a British Tory government, by repute the most conservative since Hitler's war, handed over the last substantial British colony, Southern Rhodesia, to a professed Marxist, Robert Mugabe, with the Prince of Wales officiating at the ceremony. When the British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, witnessed the all-party signature to the terms decided at Lancaster House, she can hardly have wished for such an outcome, and yet--with only a few ultraconservative backbenchers demurring--the final decolonization process was nevertheless hailed on both sides of the House as a triumph for the British premier whom the Russians call "the Iron Lady."

Essay, Summer 1979
Richard H. Ullman

It scarcely requires congressional votes of no confidence or a change of administrations in London to signal that time has run out on the Rhodesian policy the American and British governments have pursued so doggedly for more than two years. There now sits in Salisbury a black Prime Minister, Methodist Bishop Abel Muzorewa, the resounding victor in April's election in which nearly two-thirds of his country's adult population-for the first time-cast ballots. The election was indeed far from perfect. It was conducted on the basis of a constitution which had been approved in a referendum excluding blacks. It excluded major claimants for power. But its results underline the fact that whatever the ideal political preferences of Rhodesia's people, most of them want peace most of all, and a majority of them are prepared to rest their hopes on Bishop Muzorewa as the best available means of bringing it about.

Essay, Jul 1977
Julius K. Nyerere

The dominant element in American foreign policy since 1946 has been opposition to communism and to the communist powers. As far as Africa was concerned, responsibility for pursuing these objectives was delegated to America's trusted allies - Britain, France, Belgium, and even Portugal - whose policies in the area were therefore broadly supported despite minor disagreements which arose as American business became interested in Africa's potential. Inevitably this placed America in opposition to an Africa which was trying to win its independence from those same powers; but when political freedom could be achieved peacefully, America was able to appear to Africa like a bystander. It was therefore able to adjust its policies and accept the new status quo of African sovereign states without any difficulty. Notwithstanding these adjustments, however, America has continued to look at African affairs largely through anti-communist spectacles and to disregard Africa's different concerns and priorities.

Essay, Oct 1969
Russell Warren Howe

In civil war, hatreds are more intimate than in international conflict. The enemy is less awesome; he is killed with more conviction that he deserves it. Invariably-inevitably-the death tolls are higher. The American Civil War set records for its day. Despite the limited weaponry and skill, the Biafran war has taken the lives of an estimated two million people, mostly starved children. And now a war that is already engaging about 26,000 black guerrillas and approximately a quarter-million white or white-officered troops in Mozambique, Angola, Rhodesia, South Africa and Namibia (the United Nations' new name for South West Africa) offers such a prospect of escalation that it can hardly help but be bigger, in cemetery terms, than Viet Nam. In this corner of the globe, whose fair hills make a savage contrast with the ugliness wrought by man, the restless spirit of Nazism, with its accent on genetic myth and legal caste, will perhaps be put to rest in a swamp of blood.

Essay, Apr 1969
David R. Smock

Amid conservative hopes for a settlement and liberal fears of a sell-out, Harold Wilson arrived dramatically at Gibraltar at midnight on October 8, 1968, prepared to meet Ian Smith aboard HMS Fearless to discuss the three- year-old Rhodesian crisis. Thus one more move was made in the contest that has been stalemated ever since it began on November 11, 1965, when the white minority government in Rhodesia made a unilateral declaration of the territory's independence (UDI). Despite the hopes and fears surrounding the Wilson-Smith meeting, the Fearless talks left the situation virtually unchanged. What turned out to be more significant than the talks themselves were the national and international pressures which lay behind the decision of the two sides to meet.

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