Smith was better at dealing with sanctions than Mugabe?

HARARE - Some questions are better not asked. Some questions are better asked for posterity.

After a proclamation he explained: “There can be no happiness in a country while the absurd situation continues to exist where people, such as ourselves, who have ruled themselves with an impeccable record for over 40 years, are denied what is freely granted to other countries.”

Well, this is not RG Mugabe.

This was Ian Douglas Smith after severing links with the British Crown.

In return, Britain responded by imposing a full-range of sanctions including ceasing all British aid to and preferential treatment for Rhodesia, banning the import of Rhodesian tobacco and recalling the British High Commissioner.

The economy of Rhodesia did not collapse.

This is now Robert Gabriel Mugabe in a speech to the United Nations General Assembly on smart sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe. “Shame, shame, shame to the United States of America. Shame, shame, shame to Britain and its allies.”

“Zimbabwe is for Zimbabweans, so are its resources. Please remove your illegal and filthy sanctions from my peaceful country.”

President Mugabe said the sanctions imposed by the European Union (EU) and the US violated the UN charter on state sovereignty and condemned them as a “foreign-policy tool to effect regime change”.

The sacred question to ask, though unpalatable to some Zimbabweans, did Smith fare well against adversity?

The sanctions imposed on Rhodesia took years to effect change.

In fact, it was the military might of the guerrilla forces (Zanla and Zipra) that catalysed the change.

Successful sanctions must work quickly and by themselves to bring about the presumed objective.

Are smart sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe to effect regime change really working?

In fact, the current sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe are only smart sanctions, targeted to a few, less than 200 individuals.

Some school of thought would argue that the sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe should be lifted because Zanu PF is using them as a scapegoat for its poor economic performance.

Zanu PF would successfully use Britain and US hostility as a banner to gunner sympathy and support.

Since the imposition of the smart sanctions on Zimbabwe, Zanu PF is still in power.

The former Finance minister, Tendai Biti once called on the international community to lift sanctions on Zimbabwe and its officials, saying they are “not serving anyone.”

“The use of sanctions and isolation, I think they’ve outlived their usefulness,” he said. How sincere was Biti?

What was their intended usefulness? Was it to effect the failed regime change?

Throughout history, sanctions, as an economic tool intended to effect political change has relatively limited success.

I have a view that the severe economic difficulties bedevilling Zimbabwe are far more to poor economic policies and mismanagement.

The problems we face are more to corruption, politics of patronage, nepotism, stale and recycled government officials.

No one is keen to invest in an unpredictable and politically volatile environment.

The aim of Britain and USA was to effect regime change in Zimbabwe. Similarly in 1965, The United Kingdom’s decision not to use military force against Ian Smith’s regime meant that a change of course had to come from within Rhodesia, motivated by external economic pressure.

The goal of the pressure was that one in Rhodesia should experience a fall in real wages and a rise in unemployment and inflation.

This should again lead to a massive emigration of white Rhodesians, which would undermine the country’s socio-economic structure or at least create enough dissatisfaction among the white part of the population that they would reconsider their support to both Smith and the Rhodesian Front.

This could not happen in Rhodesia.

Others can argue that apartheid South Africa continued trade with Ian Smith’s regime when it was under sanctions.

Similarly today, post-apartheid South Africa and China trade and support the Zanu PF-led government.

However, the smart sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe were designed to strengthen the MDC movement, which was meant to effect regime change from within, motivated by external economic pressure.

Zimbabweans experienced a fall in real wages and a rise in unemployment and inflation.

This led to a massive emigration of Zimbabweans, which has undermined the country’s socio-economic structure.

It created enough dissatisfaction among the former Zanu PF supporters, forcing them to support MDC.

Zanu PF would argue that the sudden upheaval was a result of the smart sanctions imposed on them. Really?

One can further argue that the problems bedevilling Zimbabweans are more to do with economic mismanagement and corruption than the imposed smart sanctions.

Britain and America should be dismayed that regime change, by the use of smart sanctions has failed; yet they have to be seen to be doing something.

Zanu PF will continue to tell the electorate that it is the smart sanctions causing their misery.

The targeted individuals in Zanu PF are still flying to China, Singapore, Malaysia and living an extravagant lifestyle.

Zanu PF is still in power.

The majority of Zimbabweans are living in abject poverty and the sanctions must be lifted.

They are not serving any purpose.

Britain and USA should also learn that effecting regime change in foreign lands through military action, promoting internal strife and sanctions is far less productive. They should learn from their mistakes in Libya and Egypt.

Peace is not brought by the sword. No. Engaging the targeted regimes for a diplomatic dialogue and resolution is more rewarding and minimises the suffering of the general populace.

One Charles Eliot Norton once said, “If a war be undertaken…before the resources of peace have been tried and proved vain to secure it, that war has no defence, it is a national crime.”

Comments (17)

Smith survived the economic sanctions because those who controlled the means of production supported him. The land, the minerals, the factories, everything in the country was working for him and not against. Mugabe had farmers fighting him, industry was against him,even supporting stay aways, he had the labour movement against him. In such an environment it is almost impossible to survive the sanctions and only Mugabe could survive such...

admire musingarabwi - 20 November 2013

With the means of production in the hands of Mugabe's supporters sanctions will be defeated. Land reclamation and 100% Indegenisation will win it for Mugabe. These sanctions will be busted .......

admire musingarabwi - 20 November 2013

Smith was able to survive sanctions because of one simple factor...He kept a cool head. He realized that he needed the outside world more than the outside world needed Rhodesia. So he built a good network of willing sanction busters through well crafted diplomatic activities. With South Africa as the main conduit. Mugabe also has South Africa but he is unable to build a willing network of sanction busters because of his shame, shame, shame attitude. No one trusts the hot heads in Zanu PF. Wherever they succeed in busting sanctions it is not for the benefit of the country. They corruptly do so to build their own little empires. Diamond sales are a good example. With a friendly country like SA we should not be in this mess. But they cannot trust our incompetent and corrupt institutions. We failed to pay Eskom before the so called sanctions were in place. We owe Mozambique millions, simply because for 33 years the career ministers and their friends focused on lining their pockets. Mugabe and his crowd still have a lot to learn in the world of diplomacy and deal making that is in the national interest.

connie - 20 November 2013

Sanctions or no sanctions Zanu Pf cannot provide solutions for the country. The Ministers are busy lining their pockets at the expense of the Povo, last month they were busy demanding cars worth USD 60000 each whilst the farmers do not have imputs, the povo does not have clean water, no electricity etc. If they are to blame the sanctions they should at least show that with the little resorces which they have they are able to channel them to needy items like health, electricity, water. Why continue crying over sanctions when you can not prioritize important issues, even if the Government get 1000 billion pounds they will never use it for the benefit of the people. Before the land grab they got some funding from both UK and USA and what did they do with the money. They decided to share amoung themselves. Even the farms which are not affected by sanctions they decided to award themselves 20 farms each plus 15 for the wife and 10 each for their children and 8 each for their relatives leaving the povo with nothing. Hence their is no proper farming taking place on the farms.

asekuru - 20 November 2013

I agree with u @connie. I think sovereignty concept has its own meaning known only to him, hence he wont build these networks like Smith did. And do u think Bob would relish the idea of taking Smith as a role model at all..? Not in a million yrs..! However we do have networks for mischievous ideas, e.g. nikuv, etc.

mammoth castle - 20 November 2013

Rhodesia was under economic sanctions and Zimbabwe is not. We are actually a country surviving on imports. So where are the sanctions? Stupid

Harurwa - 20 November 2013

What sanctions? There are only 7 governments on total American sanctions namely Iran, Cuba, Syria, North Korea, Myanmar, Venezuela, Ivory Coast and over 50 countries with companies or people on US targeted sanctions. Where are the sanctions that you are talking about?

Kaidoo - 20 November 2013

What sanctions? There are only 7 governments on total American sanctions namely Iran, Cuba, Syria, North Korea, Myanmar, Venezuela, Ivory Coast and over 50 countries with companies or people on US targeted sanctions. Where are the sanctions that you are talking about?

Kaidoo - 20 November 2013

Believing we have sanctions is as stupid as believing Mugabe won the last election fairly. Nxa silly stupid kindergarten propaganda.

Nyembezi - 20 November 2013

Poor editor, Smart sanctions were imposed on Zimbabwe leaders after a spate of state sponsored terror. There were never meant to effect regime change. Where is the conscience of you writers.

forogo - 20 November 2013

After panicky awarding of war vet gratuities and the disastrous drc adventure, Mugabe used sancry excuse to defend his incompetences and looting

poda - 20 November 2013

admire zimbabwe is not under economic sanctions. ask mugabe and his stoogies what smart sanctions are. if they ever tell you they are one in the same tell them to stop lying. do your own research first.

atz - 20 November 2013

I can remember in the 1970s when Rhodesia was expecting a tanker of fuel to offload its cargo via the pipeline from Beira to Feruka. The British navy blockaded the tanker and threatened to blow it out of the water. That ws sanctions

vortex - 20 November 2013

Smith did not have as many options that Mugabe has from the EAST. The East was largely Communist China. His options were limited but murungu anogona hake kuruka ECONOMY whether we like it or not. Mugabe has no idea how to RUN this country. Ukaona munhu achibva ku Socialism omboravira Capitalism odazve kumbotidzosera to a peuso-Socialist state with a few connected ZANUs looting the country to provide a semblance of Ultra-Capitalism then oziva kuti nyika yotongwa nemapenzi.

Mr Confusion - 21 November 2013

Please join me in my proposed campaign to sue Secretary Bank Ki Moon and the UNO for the sum of 100 Billion US Dollars. Zimbabweans were deprived of that amount of Revenue as a result of his Apostacy. It was dereliction of duty and absolutely not justifiable for Bank Ki Moon to approve of the homily of Mogabe and the denunciation of Zimbabwe. Mogabe was a true Patriot and he acted in ways that were to be expected from of a true patriot . The White Farmers initiated the problem when they invaded the country and then printed Title Deeds for the best agricultural land without obtaining permission from or paying any native for the purloined land. Bank Ki Moon has chosen to "suck up" to the Westerners and to override Justice and Orthodoxy. His job is to Approve of the Subject Matter and to Regulate the Meeting........not to champion the Wrong-doers and add his personal diatribe to the Denunciation. Bank Ki Moon has been apostate and derelict in his duty...........and should be taken to Court. And the African Delegations were nothing better than mute puppets whose presence in the building gave credence to the charade. If they were true and honourable men they would not have accorded relevance to those who colluded against the ONLY patriot that emerged from Sub-Saharan Africa.

Dharma APPAVOO - 21 November 2013

Anyone who believes that we are not under sanctions is a fool. The evidence is there even for the blind to see. However it is also very true that our problems can not be solely blamed on the sanctions. Rampant corruption and mega mismanagement are even worse ills than the said sanctions to our economy. Smith got away with sanctions because he had a very competent and well managed and well remunerated civil service where there was absolutely no or very little corruption. Parastatals were well run and industry knew where the country was headed at all times. Sanction exist but if we could eliminate corruption and get rid of the so so many incompetent government and state enterprises managers and employees we can prosper even in an environment of these illegal sanctions.

Pretty - 22 November 2013

Sanctions??! What sanctions? When will the bufoons that make up the so called educated and influential in this country of brainwashed robots begin to take their future in their own hands and stop maniacs like Mugabe and his desperadoes from continually feeding them pigs swill and implementing ruinious and frankly criminal policies! For your information Zanla and Zipra never even came close to bringing Smith and his military to it's knees, it was South Africa and the extreme pressure that was bought to bear on them to stop supplying Smith with munitions and fuel that did trick!

Sabi - 25 November 2013

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