“What Did We Expect?” asked Sam Francis five years ago, contemplating the ghastly fate of Rhodesia in its black-ruled form of Zimbabwe. Since then things have got much worse. Now comes news of remarkable admissions by Judith Todd, the prominent white liberal who in her youth was a kind of pin up girl for enemies of Ian Smith’s attempt to win independence for the country with white rule.
Mugabe was rotten from the start RW Johnson The Sunday Times September 23 2007
reports that Todd has written a new book which
…blows sky-high the usual picture of Zimbabwe as having been run more or less reasonably by Mugabe, until his defeat in the constitutional referendum of 2000 caused him to pull down the pillars of the temple. As becomes all too clear, the worm was in the apple from the start, with the new regime adopting a totali-tarian and often violent attitude towards opposition.
Torture, corruption and disregard for the rule of law were the norm right away – indeed, the real question is how on earth Lord Soames, Britain’s proconsul in charge of the transition to majority rule, could have permitted the 1980 election.
Todd notes that Mugabe is not unique:
many of the politicians Judith helped free from Smith’s clutches or, later, from Mugabe’s jails, soon joined the government and became little Mugabes themselves.
This leads to an historic concession:
But hasn’t what happened fully justified Ian Smith and the white racists who predicted that black rule would mean dictatorship, corruption and chaos? “You have to say they called it right…Smith did love the country which was why he gave way rather than see it destroyed. Mugabe is destroying it rather than give way.”
This reversal would have been unlikely to mollify Sam Francis, who as I noted earlier this year was one of the very few who tried to get Smith’s Rhodesia a hearing in Washington in the early ‘70s. and continued his interest in the country for the rest of his life. He would no doubt have pointed out that this mistake has brought misery to millions of people. He was right, conventional opinion was disasterously wrong – and, like Judith Todd apparently, very likely still does not understand the magnitude of the problem.