"If yesterday I fought as an enemy, today you have become a friend. If yesterday you hated me, today you cannot avoid the love that binds you to me, and me to you."
With these words, Robert Mugabe sought to reassure white and black alike on the eve of his swearing-in as prime minister of the newly independent and internationally recognized state of Zimbabwe, exactly 30 years ago. The new nation replaced Rhodesia a former colony of Great Britain whose independence was never recognized because the country was unfairly ruled by a white minority.
Though it started with words of hope 30 years ago, Robert Mugabe's iron-fisted rule has subjected Zimbabwe to a reign of terror directed toward all of his people, both white and black.
- In 2005, Mugabe ordered a raid conducted on what the government termed "illegal shelters" in Harare, resulting in 10,000 urban poor being left homeless from "Operation Drive Out the Rubbish." The authorities themselves had moved the poor inhabitants to the area in 1992, telling them not to build permanent homes and that their new homes were temporary, leading the inhabitants to build their own temporary shelters out of cardboard and wood. The UK's Telegraph noted that Mugabe's "latest palace", in the style of a pagoda, was located a mile from the destroyed shelters. The UN released a report stating that the actions of Mugabe resulted in the loss of home or livelihood for more than 700,000 Zimbabweans and negatively affected 2.4 million more.
- Veteran human rights activist and author Judith Todd, daughter of former South Rhodesia prime minister Garfield Todd, said in an interview published Monday that she was raped by a Zimbabwean army officer after criticising President Robert Mugabe's regime.Speaking to the Daily Telegraph from South Africa -- she now lives in Cape Town -- Todd said the assault occurred the day after she told the then army commander and another senior officer that an army brigade was killing civilians in Matabeleland, southern Zimbabwe."It was rape. I was in a complete state of terror," she told the newspaper, following the publication of her memoir, "Through the Darkness: A Life in Zimbabwe" in which she named the man.
- In the rape camps of Zimbabwe, young girls are horrifically abused—often to punish Mugabe's political opponents. . . . Mugabe has stationed two officers from his feared Central Intelligence Organisation in every village; merely talking to a murungu, or white man, can lead to interrogation or beatings. Christina Lamb, Sunday Telegraph, London, August 25, 2002
Mugabe has turned one of Africa's most productive economies into a shambles. A country whose currency once beat the British pound now boasts a runaway inflation rate. The people of Zimbabwe are starving, and a land that once exported beef and grain now has a population desperately in need of food and humanitarian aid.
One can go on for weeks about what a horror Mugabe has been to his people. But this the anniversary of its birth, the real question is how could such a horrible man get ELECTED to run Zimbabwe in the first place. The answer is easy, three words: James Earl Carter. Zimbabwe is another causality of the foreign policy of the Peanut President, the worst US President in my lifetime.
In 1978 Ian Smith, the prime minister of white-ruled Rhodesia reached an agreement with black moderate leaders for a transition government. Under this plan, termed the "internal settlement," whites, who represented about 4% of the population, would be reserved 28 out of 100 parliamentary seats as well as control over certain government ministries. Still grossly unfair but certainly a strong movement toward change.
In April of 1979, the first fully democratic election in Zimbabwe history's occurred. Of the eligible black voters, 64% participated, braving the threat of terrorist attacks by Mr. Mugabe's Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front party, which managed to kill 10 people. Prior to the election, Mr. Mugabe had issued a death list with 50 individuals he named as "traitors, fellow-travelers, and puppets of the Ian Smith regime, opportunistic running-dogs and other capitalist vultures." Nevertheless, Bishop Abel Muzorewa of the United Methodist Church emerged victorious and became prime minister of Zimbabwe-Rhodesia, as the new country was called.
But Jimmy Carter didn't like Bishop Muzorewa and because Mugabe's party was not included in the election (he preferred to continue fighting against the government) refused to recognize the new government.
Mr. [UN Ambassador Andrew] Young referred to Mr. Muzorewa, one of the very few democratically elected leaders on the African continent, as the head of a "neo-fascist" government. Mr. Carter refused to meet Mr. Muzorewa when the newly elected leader visited Washington to seek support from our country, nor did he lift sanctions that America had placed on Rhodesia as punishment for the colony's unilateral declaration of independence from the British Empire in 1965.
Mugabe wanted the government to himself, he told everyone who would listen that he would turn the country into a single party, Marxist state. The Carter administration knew this but refused to admit it in public. In public the said that Mugabe was just the sweetest of guys. In 1978, Ambassador Andrew Young described Robert Mugabe in an interview with the Times of London.
"Does Mr. Mugabe strike you as a violent man?" the Times reporter asked. "Not at all, he's a very gentle man," Young replied. "In fact, one of the ironies of the whole struggle is that I can't imagine Joshua Nkomo, or Robert Mugabe, ever pulling the trigger on a gun to kill anyone. I doubt that they ever have."
Andrew Young knew better. During the 1970s, as Mugabe competed with his sometime ally and former mentor Joshua Nkomo for primacy in the "liberation" movement in Rhodesia, he proudly identified himself as a Maoist and proved himself one of the most ruthless terrorist leaders. His Chinese-sponsored ZANU-PF guerrillas, operating out of the neighboring communist regimes in Mozambique, Zambia, and Angola, terrorized black villages, and tortured and killed opponents.
Mr. Mugabe already had pulled the trigger on many innocent people, though. And not long after taking power in 1980, he killed about 25,000 people belonging to a minority tribe, the Ndebele. In spite of this, in 1989, Mr. Carter launched his "Project Africa" in Zimbabwe, a program aimed at helping African countries maintain food sustainability.
Since Mr. Carter was thrown out of office by the American people in 1980, he has spent his post-presidential years lecturing others on morality. Especially the democratic nation of Israel. Over the past 30 years Mr. Mugabe has escaped being a target of Mr. Carter's frequent hectoring. Mugabe's tyranny along with Islamist Iran and the creation of the Taliban and al Qaeda represents the true legacy of the peanut president.