Smith will never be better than ED: Black rule is better

Trevor Namenda

Whilst divergent views are welcome among political rivals, precisely during the pre-electoral period, it also remains imperative for one to remain sensible and rational, and not to use their emotions.

It is not only sad but heart breaking to have Zimbabweans in this day and age propounding that Smith regime would have been better than the Second Republic, an unfortunate narrative which has since dominated social media platforms in the past week.

Sadly the arguments being raised are a clear indication of the ignorance that rocks our very ‘learned’ colleagues on social media who are clearly arguing from an uninformed point of view.

The major bone of contention is that the Smith regime thrived the Rhodesian economy despite being under sanctions, and the Zimbabwean economy is currently bleeding under the same sanctions?

It is very prudent and crucial to take into account the fact that the impact of sanctions under Smith regime had a different impact on the economy than the current sanctions under the black majority rule. Sanctions under Smith were applied considering the kith and kin factor. The white minority remained grandsons and daughters of the international community actors especially Britain.

Rhodesia was a second home for the British. Sanctions were only on paper and were never significantly put into effect. Rhodesian products could still find their way to the European market. Imposition of sanctions on a black man was more severe under considerations that he took back the land entitled to him. The sanctions are no longer on paper but were severely put into practice.

It is further wise to exploit emotional history of how labour was exploited under the Smith regime. The white minority survived sanctions and thrived industrial expansion using cheap labour from the black man. Labour laws had not come into effect.

There was neither ZCTU nor PTUZ of that time which would question authority. Would it be better to go back to those perceived golden days of a white man’s rule and dark days of a black man’s hard work? My answer would be never we would be really misguided.

 Juxtaposing the world system of Smith’s time and the present time in Zimbabwean context, globalisation is taking another shape and form of neo-colonialism. After successfully colonising resources, crippling Zimbabwean economy with structural adjustment recommendations, then sanctions, western imperialists have extended brain drain to Zimbabwean economy.

Visas are being granted to those who are academically qualified to work. What does that mean? It simply means that the cream drivers of production are being taken and development, innovations and strategy being crippled. Was there brain drain during Smith? He imported skills rather than exporting skills because they supported him.

We are blurred as a nation and as a continent to see that what revolutionary parties are offering is true independence prescribed by Kwame Nkrumah. We fight where necessary and we cooperate where there are mutual interests.

If Smith was to rule Zimbabwe to date, we would be in the streets challenging labour manipulation, demanding democratic space, equal allocation of resources amongst the black majority. I still believe Zimbabwe would be ungovernable. It is therefore prudent again to revisit history and understand why the war of the liberation struggle was fought.

Smith had no opposition but there was unity of purpose in Rhodesia among the white minority which controlled means of production.

Zimbabwe today has a very active opposition which does not believe in collective action on development but collective action in destabilising and derailing development to remain relevant. Rhodesians had a high level of patriotism as compared to what we see today.

What President Mnangagwa is offering is what Smith applied to ensure development that is, collective action to rebuild the broken economy. We have an opposition premised and motivated to be in the State House sitting at the throne of power without considering the people.

Sanctions under Smith were never campaigned for by Rhodesian but sanctions in Zimbabwe are being used as a tool by the opposition to achieve power.