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By unknown | Apr 08, 2008 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Martin Meredith provides what I think is the best record of the struggle for Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe's heroism, his tyranny and how he crushed his enemies.

Martin Meredith provides what I think is the best record of the struggle for Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe's heroism, his tyranny and how he crushed his enemies.

These include Joshua Nkomo and his Zapu party, the independent press and MDC, and how his government sponsored farm attacks and invasion and destroyed the country's economy.

Meredith takes us on the journey of when Mugabe was a young hot-blooded freedom fighter, supported and educated by missionaries.

With the help of a priest who was sympathetic to the liberation cause, he fled the country to Mozambique with Rhodesian security in hot pursuit.

Mugabe was forced into negotiating Zimbabwe's freedom at Lancaster House by then president of Zambia Kenneth Kaunda, Tanzania's Julius Nyerere and Samora Machel of Mozambique.

They threatened to end their support if Mugabe and Nkomo failed to negotiate with Ian Smith.

We are also told about the Chimurenga - the liberation struggle undertaken by Zanu-PF, Zapu and their military wings - the Lancaster House talks, compromises and the final liberation of Zimbabwe.

Mugabe became president promising reconciliation with whites. He even appointed a former minister in Ian Smith's cabinet, David Smith, and farmer Dennis Norman, a former president of the Rhodesian Commercial Farmers Union, as ministers of agriculture.

Whites were generally impressed by Mugabe and started hero worshiping him.

Mugabe's tyranny emerged when he deliberately initiated a split with his comrade-in-arms Joshua Nkomo. Within a year or two after independence he accused Nkomo of plotting to overthrow him.

He told Nkomo in 1982 that his security forces had found arms caches on Zapu farms. Yet it was known and accepted that both Zipra, Zapu's military wing, and Zanla, Zanu-PF's military wing, had weapons caches.

The anti-dissidents, or gukurahundi, were Mugabe's ploy to crush Zapu and remove it from government so as to form a one-party state.

It was a sad turn of events when the North Korean-trained 5th Brigade went on a killing spree in Matebeleland.

The reign of terror was politically led by Mugabe's close allies Edgar Tekere and Enos Nkala, then police minister, himself a Ndebele who stoked up violence against the Ndebeles.

Mugabe called Nkomo a "sellout" and a "cobra in the house", and demoted him - and finally fired him from his cabinet.

The merger of Nkomo's Zapu with Zanu-PF to form one party, Zanu-PF, was in fact Nkomo's compromise because he wanted peace or to avoid conflict with Mugabe.

Mugabe never stopped. His security forces detained all opponents, tortured them and locked them up at will.

Judges were told to toe the line or resign. Chief Justice Gugbay was forced to step down while other judges resigned out of fear because they were being harassed by Zanu-PF officials.

The land invasion and attacks on white farmers started in 2000. War veterans led Zanu-PF supporters in daylight invasions on white farms throughout the country at the instruction of some cabinet ministers.

Farmers were attacked and their land and homesteads forcibly taken. One cabinet minister even ordered the Geldenhuys family off their farm.

When the farmers reported to the police they were arrested and accused of provoking the black invaders. Some police officers used official vans to ferry loot from the white farms.

Then entered Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the Movement for Democratic Change. He became a thorn in Mugabe's side.

The MDC defeated many Zanu-PF politicians and took several constituencies in elections. He was to be dealt with severely, and since then MDC supporters have been persecuted.

If you want a vivid understanding of Mugabe's rule and how he destroyed the economy of his own country, this is the book for you.


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