Robert Mugabe and the Betrayal of Zimbabwe

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McFarland, Jan 29, 2004 - Social Science - 189 pages
Instead of leading his people to the “promised land,” Mugabe, the first prime minister of the newly-named Zimbabwe, has amassed a fortune for himself, his family and followers and has presided over the murder, torture and starvation of those who oppose him. This biography offers some explanations for Mugabe’s behavior. With the death of his wife in 1992, a moderating influence was lost, and as the years go by, he continues to show himself intolerant of any opposition as he proceeds toward the creation of a one-party state, even though evidence suggests that his country is in terminal decline.

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This book is of value to those who know nothing of the subject but unfortunately it does not even attempt to be neutral and has some basic, obvious inaccuracies in it. For example on p. 62 the author claims the decision by Rhodesia's Cabinet to take UDI was not unanimous, citing that "Cabinet Minister Harry Reedman, for one, always denied that he had voted in favor of it." Very nice, but Reedman wasn't a Cabinet Minister at the time; he was in Lisbon as the head of the Rhodesian government's representative mission to Portugal. To the initiated reader this is a glaring mistake that shows that, so far as this point goes at least, the author simply didn't do his research. On the very next page he apparently misunderstands the 1969 republican constitution (either that or he deliberately misleads the reader): he correctly says that black representation in parliament would increase in line with the amount of tax paid by black Rhodesians, but then says that "as that figure was then less than 1 percent, the prospect of black majority rule became virtually nonexistent." This implies strongly that black representation in parliament was less than 1%, which was not the case. He could have mentioned that the stated goal of the 1969 constitution was not majority rule, but "parity between the races"—hence Smith saying the constitution meant there would not be majority rule—but he doesn't (again one ponders how well he researched this part). Long story short: have a look instead for Martin Meredith's 'Our Votes, Our Guns', which covers the subject far better. Hope this helps. 

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The author confuses South Africa with Rhodesia, I don't ever recall Afrikaans signs on Gwelo Hospital walls or Govt Buildings. Mugabe and the demise of Rhodesia will stand forever as a sign of failure of British politics and underhanded dealings from the USA, UK and South Africa.

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About the author (2004)

Having lived in the former Southern Rhodesia, Andrew Norman has had first-hand insight into the circumstances that have led to Zimbabwe’s present plight. Norman now lives in Dorset, England.

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