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Monday, June 30, 2008

Mugabe attends AU summit in wake of fixed election.

HISTORY IN THE NEWS:

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Wherever Law ends, Tyranny begins. " -John Locke, 'Second Treatise of Government.'

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DEVOTED TO THE DEEP ORIGINS OF CONTEMPORARY EVENTS AROUND THE WORLD.

TAG: Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai is more than an nuisance to Robert Mugabe; Tsvangirai condemned Mugabe's massacre of 20,000 political opponents in Ndebeleland in 1983 and few of Tsvangirai's followers are likely to forget it
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IN THE NEWS:
AFTER WINNING A SINGLE-CANDIDATE SUNDAY VOTE CONFIRMING THE ONE-PARTY RULE OF ROBERT MUGABE'S ZANU-PF, THE LONG-TIME RULER OF ZIMBABWE HAS ARRIVED AT THE SHARM EL SHEIK SUMMIT OF THE AFRICAN UNION DEFYING UNIVERSAL CRITCISM. AFRICAN OBSERVERS HAVE DETERMINED THAT MUGABE'S ZIMBABWE VOTE WAS NEITHER FREE NOR FAIR. OPPOSITION LEADER MORGAN TSVANGIRAI WITHDREW FROM THE RACE DUE TO A WAVE OF VIOLENCE AND KILLING UNLEASHED BY MUGABE AGAINST HIS SUPPORTERS. UNITED NATIONS DEPUTY SECRETARY GENERAL, ASHA ROSE MIGIRIO, DECLARED MUGABE'S POWER GRAB A 'GRAVE CRISIS', SETTING A TERRIBLE PRESENCE FOR AFRICA'S YOUNG DEMOCRACIES. AU LEADERS, ALONG WITH TSVANGIRAI ARE URGING THAT NEW ELECTIONS OR POWER-SHARING BE NEGOTIATED.

REARVIEW MIRROR
:
*1200-1600- the empire of Mwene Mutapa flourishes; in the capital, Great Zimbabwe, a highly developed civilization of stone construction.

*1894- the region is named Rhodesia and administered by the British South Africa Company. The most fertile lands are given to the 5 per cent that make up the white population. The remainder is called the Tribal Trust Lands. Since the blacks cannot subsist on the poor soil of the TTLs, they are forced to become labour for the white farming population.
*1980 March- free elections supervised by the British: Robert Mugabe wins 63 per cent of the vote. Nkomo’s ZAPU receives 24 per cent.

*1982-1986- Mugabe launches a concerted campaign against resistance from about 500 of Joshua Nikomo's militia, ZIPRA, in Matabeleland. Mugabe's North Korea-trained Fifth Brigade is, like Mugabe himself, of the Shona tribe while ZIPRA is comprised of Ndebeles. 20,000 Ndebele are massacred.


gt_zim_walls.jpg (48080 bytes)
Great Zimbabwe (from- http://www.questconnect.org/africa_gr_zim.html

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: An empire built on gold wealth between the Zambesi and Limpopo rivers rose in Zimbabwe in the 13th century and flourished well into the fifteenth. At its zenith, 'Great Zimbabwe' was a civilization, known for its unique stone architecture. It was also rich from trade in gold and salt through the Swahili Arab ports to the countries of the Indian Ocean. In the late 16th century Zimbabwe held off the Portuguese in a lengthy war before Portuguese adventurers made their way inland, weakening and breaking up the country by establishing fiefdoms. By the 19th century, the Portuguese dominated the entire coast and most of the Zambesi river valley. In the late 19th century, the British South Africa Company penetrated the area with mining claims for the country's gold wealth. Throughout the 1890s, the native Matabele and Shona, (who would come into conflict as Robert Mugabe consolidated his power among the Shona) were subdued by force. Whites were given the best land; the blacks made do with the rest. By the interwar years of the 20th century, Southern Rhodesia, as it was then named, was an autonomous British colony. Repeated attempts were made to include Southern Rhodesia in a Central African Federation, but Prime Minister Ian Smith and his 'Segregationist Front' wanted to protect his own country with its special apartheid laws. Britain made full independence conditional on moves toward racial equality but Smith refused, declaring unilateral independence in 1965. Almost immediately a black resistance sprang up, led by Robert Mugabe's ZANU party and Joshua Nkomo's ZAPU-PF. The civil war lasted throughout the 1970s, with a black victory in 1979, the whites barely hanging on with a guarantee of 20% seats in parliament. In 1980, Mugabe was elected president and the country was re-named Zimbabwe. During a short, internecine war between the ZANU and ZAPU parties, Mugabe had 20,000 Matabele supporters of Nkomo murdered. Still, ZAPU and ZANU were joined as Mugabe's own party, the ZAPU-PF (Patriotic Front) in 1987. But a young ZANU follower of Mugabe. Morgan Tsvangirai dissented, speaking out against the Matebeleland massacre. Meanwhile, Mugabe wrought an economic miracle and reformed education and health care though most of the country's GNP still came from a small number of vast white-owned farms. In 1992, things began to turn sour with a devastating drought and gradually got worse with economic mismanagement. Mugabe, re-elected by force and fraud throughout the 1990s, blamed the country's economic problems on the white farming minority and after 1998, set in motion a program of expropriating the whites and giving the land to black farmers. The black political opposition, enduring beatings and arrests persisted under the courageous leadership of Morgan Tsvangirai and his party, the Movement For Democratic Change. In 2005, Mugabe attacked the opposition, which was rooted in the poor suburban shanty towns of Harare, by bulldozing all the housing, leaving thousands homeless. In May, 2006, inflation topped 1000%, Mugabe staying in power only by force. By 2007 he and his regime had become an international pariah and began to impose a foreign news blackout on Zimbabwe by banning many news organizations including the BBC.

IN A NUTSHELL: It seemed that the legacy of a four-century civilization was being reclaimed from Portuguese and British imperialism when, in 1980, Southern Rhodesia's first black government renamed the country Zimbabwe after the great, ancient stone capital. The dream of a progressive, black nation with an old history remained alive until 1992 when a severe drought began a process by which it all gradually turned into a nightmare. Instead of solving the country's growing economic problems, Prime Minister Mugabe, driven by paranoia and megalomania, descended into a search for scapegoats. Finding them among the white minority and Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC opposition, he has, by politicizing every conceivable problem, driven the country to the edge of starvation, rigged an election he realized he couldn't win, physically repressed the opposition, defied condemnation by the international community and had himself acclaimed president in a fake election.

Robert Mugabe
Mugabe.

THEN AND NOW: In the early 1990s, an alliance, however uneasy, between Mugab'e ruling ZANU-PF and a minority of large-scale white farmers, along with Mugabe's sound management of health, education and the economy, produced an economic miracle, making Zimbabwe a model democracy for other African countries to follow. Now the white farmers are gone, Mugabe has allowed the lands to fall to ruin by allotting them to war veterans who neglect them. He has gradually terrorized the opposition, effectively banned deomcracy and brought his country to the brink of starvation.

CONTENTS: SCROLL DOWN FOR:
DISTANT BACKGROUND TO THE EVENTS
RELEVANT DATES
RECENT BACKGROUND TO THE EVENTS
.PREVIOUS ENTRIES
REMOTE BACKGROUND TO THE EVENTS
LOCATION OF NOTE:
PROFILE:
CROSS-CENTURY SUMMARY
EYEWTNESS
PRESENT SITUATION
PLUS CA CHANGE
CURIOSITY
TIMELINE FOR THE HISTORY OF

DISTANT BACKGROUND TO THE EVENTS: In the 19th century before the arrival of the British, Zimbabwe consisted of Matabeleland and Mashonaland. In 1889, the British South Africa Company (BSAC) of Cecil Rhodes arrived to stake claims on the region's mineral wealth. A year later, in 1890, the BSAC sent in troops which, over the next decade, quelled rebellions by the tribes of the Matabele and Mashona. In 1894, the area was named Southern Rhodesia and administered by the BSAC. The best land was given to the white minority and the rest distributed among blacks who, as a consequence, remained in poverty. The system was locked in place by apartheid laws. By white referendum, Southern Rhodesia decided against joining South Africa, thus ending administration by the BSAC. Southern Rhodesia ratified its separate status in 1924. Over the next three decades there were attempts to integrate Southern Rhodesia with Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland in the Central African Federation. But Southern Rhodesia remained an autonomous British colony rich in gold and ground nuts. In the 1950s, Britain tried to get Southern Rhodesia to give up white rule but the country's Prime Minister, Ian Smith, refused. In 1963, the Central African Federation disintegrated as its members sought independence. That year, Smith declared Southern Rhodesia unilaterally independent in defiance of Britain's attempts to make independence conditional upon racial equality. International sanctions imposed on Rhodesia did little harm as they were disregarded by South Africa and Mozambique. Meanwhile black resistance to the Smith regime developed under Joshua Nkomo. Nkomo was arrested but upon his release from jail, he launched ZAPU's insurgency from inside Zambia and in 1976 made a difficult alliance with Robert Mugabe's Marxist ZANU party. Together , they were known as the 'patriotic Front' (PF). Full-scale civil war took place throughout the 1970s.
Joshua Nkomo
Photo of Joshua Nkomo
The PF had the support of the Chinese who supplied equipment and financing. In 1979, the civil war ended with the whites throughly on the defensive and the PF in the ascendant. More than 20,000 had died. On 21 December, 1979, the British brokered the Lancaster Agreement by which Southern Rhodesia's 1.2% white population was guaranteed 20% of seats in parliament.

RELEVANT DATES :

1200-1600 Mwene Mutapa flourishes; in the capital, Great Zimbabwe, a civilization of stone construction-

1600- Zimbabwe begins to disintegrate due to the establishment of fiefdoms by Portuguese adventurers and by the global devaluation of the price of gold due to large gold discoveries in the new world.

1889- agents of Cecil Rhodes’ British South Africa Company (BSAC) make a treaty with the Mdbele of Matabeleland to secure the exploitation of mineral wealth.

1894- the region is named Rhodesia and administered by the BSAC. The most fertile lands are given to the 5 per cent that make up the white population. The remainder is called the Tribal Trust Lands. Since the blacks cannot subsist on the poor soil of the TTLs, they are forced to become labour for the white farming population.

1924- Rhodesia attains independence as Southern Rhodesia.

1965- Ian Smith unilaterally forms his segregationist Rhodesia Front and declares South Rhodesian independence from Britain. He is elected Prime Minister.

1979- end of white rule. 20,000 dead in civil war.

21 December- a government of compromise is reached sponsored by the British at Lancaster House: however, the 1.2% white population is guaranteed 20% of the seats in parliament. The British undertake provisional rule until March elections.

1980 March- free elections supervised by the British: Robert Mugabe wins 63 per cent of the vote. Nkomo’s ZAPU receives 24 per cent.

18 April- a black-ruled Zimbabwe declares its independence.

-1980s- Mugabe’s balanced and moderate economic polices produce prosperity and peace despite a poor black majority and rich white landowning minority. However, there is a rift between Mugabe's ZAPU and Nukomo and his ZANU. Mugabe offers peace conditions but Nkomo refuses them.

1982-1986- Mugabe launches a concerted campaign against resistance from about 500 of Joshua Nikomo's militia, ZIPRA, in Matabeleland. Mugabe's North Korea-trained Fifth Brigade is, like Mugabe himself, of the Shona tribe while ZIPRA is comprised of Ndebeles.

1983- February- according to the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace, Mugabe's 5th brigade murdered more than 20,000 Nkomo followers in Matabelenad. Many were shot to death in a concentration camp at Antelope. The bodies were disposed of in mine shafts.

1984- ZANU-PF member Morgan Tsvangirai questions Mugabe's motives in launching the massacre at Antelope.

1999- Morgan Tsvangirai founds the MDC in opposition to Robert Mugabe.

2001- Morgan Tsvangirai condemns the 1983 Ndebeleland massacre.

2003- March- anti-government protests followed by beatings and police brutality.

-June Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition party, Movement for Democratic Change, (MDC), is arrested for treason.

2004- Oct. Tsvangirai is acquitted of treason for plotting to kill Mugabe- but another charge of treason remains.

2005- March – Mugabe’s Zanu-PF Party wins two-thirds in parliamentary polls; the opposition MDC says the polls were rigged.

-August- remaining treason charges against Tszangirai are dropped.

2007- March- Tsvangirai is beaten and hospitalized at an anti-government rally.

2008- March- presidential and primary elections. MorganTsvangirai wins 48% of the vote compared to 43% for Mugabe. It's agreed the final decision will come with a run-off vote.

April-May- delaying the run-off vote indefinitely, Mugabe launches a campaign of terror against Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change opposition. MDC members are harassed, threatened and about 85 are murdered.

-Tsvangiruai appeals for aid to the international community. Mugabe claims that all protest is rooted in western conspiracies to reassert colonialism in Zimbabwe and that Tsvangirai is their instrument.

June- Tsvangirai withdraws the MDC from opposition, declaring that his supporters would be murdered if they voted.

-Mugabe wins his one single-candidate election with 85% of the vote. Some abstain at risk to their lives.

RECENT BACKGROUND TO THE EVENTS: In 1980 Robert Mugabe was elected Prime Minister, the same year that the young Morgan Tsvangirai joined Mugabe's ZANU party. After black victory at the end of the civil war, Joshua Nkomo's party, ZAPU had come to represent only the core of the former rebel front dominated by Mugabe's ZANU. And in the 1980 elections, Nkomo's Ndebele tribal minority had won only 20 seats. It was Mugabe's support from the Shona majority that gave him and his ZANU a landslide victory.

On 18 April, 1981, Southern Rhodesia became independent, black-ruled, Zimbabwe. Meanwhile, Mugabe gave military support to Mozambique's Marxist government in its fight against the South-Africa-supported RENAMO rebel group but he had troubles at home. Though Nkomo was made Minister of Home Affairs, he still saw himself as the father of Zimbabwe independence. He was dismissed in 1981 and a rift developed between him and Prime Minister Mugabe. Mugabe offered Nkomo peace terms but Nkomo refused them. Between 1982 and1986 Mugabe launched a concerted campaign against resistance from 500 of Joshua Nikomo's militia, ZIPRA, of the Ndebele people in Matabeleland. Mugabe's North Korea-trained Fifth Brigade was, like Mugabe himself, of the Shona tribe. In February of 1983, according to the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace, Mugabe's 5th brigade murdered more than 20,000 of Nkomo's Ndebele followers in Matabeleland. Many were shot to death in a concentration camp at Antelope, the bodies disposed of in mine shafts. In 1984 Mugabe began to face tensions within his own party as ZANU-PF member Morgan Tsvangirai, though a Shona like Mugabe, questioned Mugabe's motives in launching the massacre at Antelope.

But the depredations were soon overshadowed. By 1987, Mugabe had brought about education and other reforms as well as an economic miracle, though the biggest and most productive farms were still owned by the small white minority. Racism ended, Mugabe promised reconciliation with the whites and guaranteed they would not be expropriated. That year, white political privileges ended with the rescinding of the Lancaster Agreement while the old ZANU and ZAPU parties were formally combined in Mugabe's ZANU-PF. Ominously for Mugabe, Morgan Tsvangirai rose in the party hierarchy and became chief of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) which he proceeded to distance from Mugabe and the ZANU-PF. Afterward, Tsvangirai survived several assassination attempts.

In the elections of 1990, whites still retained 20 per cent of the seats in parliament and there were two white cabinet ministers. Mugabe continued to bring the country to economic prosperity although it was still bought with cheap black labour and the large productive farms still run by the white minority.

By 1992, when devastating drought gripped the country, adding disaster to the country's inefficient state planning, the dream began its gradual turn into a nightmare. In the same year, compulsory purchase of white land deepened the national debt. Much expropriated land was left idle, growing nothing and food had to be imported. High interest and inflation discouraged investment. Austerity measures imposed by the World Bank led to decaying infrastructure. The specter of a ballooning national debt and food shortages caused Mugabe to turn on the white minority. In 1994, an expropriation law was passed with white farmers in mind while a brief war with the Congo increased Zimbabwe's national debt. Troubles were compounded by 50% unemployment.

Morgan Tsvangirai felt the country's ills were at heart constitutional and he founded the National Constitutional Assembly to work out a more democratic constitution. But by 1999 he felt the time was right to launch an opposition party and he inaugurated the Movement for Democratic change. The following year, he was instrumental in defeating Mugabe in a referendum on the current constitution.

In May of 2000, the Land Acquisition Law formally expropriated white farmers. In response, international aid dried up and the economy crashed. That year, Mugabe got himself re-elected through intimidation and electoral fraud. The following year Tsvangirai, of the newly founded MDC, publicly condemned Mugabe's massacre of the Ndebele at Antelope and elsewhere in Matebeleland.

Soon, flooding and crop failures exacerbated the economic collapse as did sanctions imposed by the international community. Throught 2003 and 2004, opposition protests were repressed with violence and Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the new MDC was arrested, tried and acquitted for treason only to endure further charges of treason and plotting to kill the Prime Minister.

Zimbabwe was expelled from the British Commonwealth. In 2005, Mugabe's ZANU-PF swept parliamentary polls in the face of opposition accusations of extensive vote-rigging. From May to July of that year, Mugabe, identifying the poor suburbs of Harare as opposition hotbeds, had all the shanty-towns bulldozed, expropiating 700,000 whom he deemed potential supporters of the MDC. In November, the ZNU-PF also swept elections in Mugabe's new, tailor-made Senate, successfully splitting the MDC on whether to participate in elections for the new body.

In May, 2006, inflation reached 1,000% as demonstrations against economic mismanagement were crushed, and union leaders jailed. The MDC's Morgan Tsvangirai was beaten and hospitalized after an opposition demonstration in March, 2007. In June, five men attempting to form a political party were jailed for plotting a coup. In the summer of 2007, South Africa brokered talks between Mugabe and Tsvangiriai and the two agreed to elections in March, 2008. In December Muagabe appeared at the European Union-Africa Summit where he was chastised for his human rights record; British P.M. Gordon Brown protested Mugabe's presence by boycotting the summit. Back in Zimbabwe Mugabe was ratified as leader of ZANU-PF for the upcoming elections.

With Tsvangirai leading in a tight election race against Mugabe in March, 2008, voters await a runoff. Throuhg April and may, however, the vote is delayed as Mugabe's party launches attacks on the MDC, killing at least 85. When Tsvangirai appealed to the world for aid, Mugabe, took the opportunity to accuse his opponent of being part of a colonial conspiracy agaisnt Zimbabwe. Tsvangirai now feared that his party members cold be harmed or killed and in June withdrew the MDC from the opposition. That cleared the way for Mugabe to clear 85% of the vote on June 28, though many voted for him in fear for their lives.

While a UN motion to place sanctions on Zimbabwe in July was vetoed by Russia and China, sanctions were imposed buy the US and the EU. A last ditch attempt at power-sharing between Mugabe and Tsvangirai in September was scuttled when disagreements arose over the allocation of cabinet posts. In December things looked bleak indeed when a cholera epidemic worsened under a broken health care system.

The New Year brought some relief as Zimbabwe allowed the use of foereign currencies in the face of overwhelming inflation. Things looked up a little more as Tsvangirai, after protracted negotiations, was sworn in as prime minister. By March, 2009, retail prices actually began to fall.
Despite the new agreement, between Mugabe and Tsvangirai, however, his MDC was still subject to violent persecution. But in recognition of the power-sharing agreement, the EU and the US gave their support but maintained targeted sanctions. The gradual warming brought the release of $400 million in aid from the IMF with the agreement of IMF member states. Bouyed by the reduction of tensions with the international community, Mugabe called for new raltions with the West.

PREVIOUS ENTRIES:

Zimbabwe's Mugabe teeters on the Edge of Electoral Defeat- 4/2/08

REMOTE BACKGROUND TO THE EVENTS. Inhabited since at least 18,000 B.C., the region of ancient Zimbabwe entered the Iron Age in 1000 BC though by 100 BC there was as yet no stone construction. A trading economy appeared after 1100 AD and ancient Zimbabwe's famous stone building began. The empire, then called, Mwene Mutapa, developed through the confederation of several Bantu peoples under a regime of the Shona tribe between the Zambesi and Limpopo rivers producing the civilization of Great Zimbabwe and its stone architecture of 1300. The chief source of wealth was the trade in gold and salt with the Muslim Swahili Indian Ocean ports and export to the Arab world. In the 15th century the empire spread northward beyond the middle Zambesi with the trade in cotton, salt and elephants. Further conquests took the empire eastward toward the coast. By 1470 Zimbabwe was the greatest power in central south Africa. The late 16th century saw a war of attrition with Portuguese adventurers which led to Zimbabwe's decline as the Portuguese carved out fiefdoms and exploited trade and deposits in gold. In the 17th century, Zimbabwe suffered further as new world discoveries caused a decline in gold prices and destructive farming practices depleted the soil. Zimbabwean trade routes were cut off as the Portuguese took the Swahili coastal cities. Old Zimbabwe was further effaced due to massive northward migrations of the Ngoni of Natal. By the 19th century what remained of Zimbabwe was called Mashonaland and Matabeleland.

LOCATION OF NOTE:
Matabeleland. Western Zimbabwe. In what is present day South Africa, the Ndebele, a tribe of the Zulu people and followers of Mzilikazi, General of the Zulu chief, Chaka, rose in rebellion. Mzilikaze led his Ndebele followers through a period of flight, displacement, invasion and absorption of other Zulus until 1837 when the main Zulu nation and the Boers together forced the Ndebele northward across the Limpopo river and into Matabeleland, which they effectively invaded, displacing the native Shona who in turn sought the protection of the British. Thus began the rivalry between the Matabele and the Shona. Mzilikaze's successor, Lobengula (1870-94) gave Matabeleland's mineral concessions, in 1888, to the British South Africa Company. But the Ndebele soon rose in rebellion against constraints placed on them by British settlers. King Lobengula's uprising was crushed by the British in 1894 and Lobengula died in hiding. Another Ndebele revolt was put down in 1897 and they finally settled into herding. In the same year, Cecil Rhodes, the prime mover of British colonization in what was soon to become Rhodesia, built a railroad from South Africa, across the Limpopo and through Bulawayo, the capital of Matabeleland and the site of the royal city of Lobengula, the seat of Matabeleland's last ruler. In the 1970s and 1980s, the Ndebeles formed the heart of Joshua Nkomo's ZAPU guerrilla resistance and political party. Antelope, in Matebeleland was the site of the 1983 massacre of 20,000 Ndebele ZAPU supporters, ordered by Robert Mugabe.

PROFILE: JOHSUA NKOMO (1917-1999) : Born in the traditional capital of Matabeleland which was also Southern Rhodesia's second city of Buluwayo, Nkomo was educated in South Africa where he became a member of the African National Congress (ANC). Back in Bulawayo, under the Ian Smith regime he began as a social worker, then served the Rhodesian Railways' African Employees' association as Secretary General and the Rhodesian branch of the ANC as chairman in 1951. He was ANC president from 1957 until the organization was banned in Rhodesia in 1959 when he was sent into exile. In 1960 he returned to found the ANC's successor, the National Democratic Party. When that too was banned, he founded the Zimbabwe African People's Union (ZAPU). Nkomo was imprisoned from 1962 to 1964 and from 1964 t0 1974. His moderate strategy caused a radical faction to break away, calling itself the Zimbabwe African national Union (ZANU) under Robert Mugabe. Upon Nkomo's release from jail, he launched ZAPU's insurgency from inside Zambia and in 1976 made a difficult alliance with Robert Mugabe's ZANU. Together , they were known as the 'patriotic Front' (PF). After black victory at the end of the civil war, Nkomo's ZAPU came to represent only its core, the Matabele minority in the 1980 elections when it won only 20 seats. It was Mugabe's support by the Shona majority that gave him and his ZANU a landslide victory. Though Nkomo was made Minister of Home Affairs, he saw himself as the father of Zimbabwe independence. He was dismissed in 1981 and a rift developed between him and Prime Minister Mugabe. After he went into exile, there was a healing in 1987 when Mugabe made him Minister for Local Affairs and Development. His ZAPU and Mugabe's ZANU were united as ZANU-PF in 1988 under Mugabe who made Nkomo vice-president of the party. Mugabe allowed him little power, but he remained an important representative for the significant Matabele minority.

CROSS-CENTURY SUMMARY:
Zimbabwe's age of medieval greatness ended with Portuguese and then British colonial domination. In the 1970s, an energetic and well-planned black resistance under Joshua Nkomo and Robert Mugabe put an end to a regime of British colonial apartheid. The considerable gains of black self-rule in the 1980s have since been squandered by the incompetence and paranoia of Prime Minister Robert Mugabe.

EYE-WITNESS: In July, 1893 the Matabele were expanding beyond Matabeleland into Mashonaland (land of the Shona people) and "it was evident from the attitude taken by the Matabele that nothing short of the authority which only superior force could command would settle the question. The Matabele were a proud and fearless race of warriors; the men of that generation had never come in conflict with Europeans and had never been defeated in their conflicts with native foes. (The British commander) Jameson's forces were slender, and Rhodes, on being consulted, urged him to "Read Luke fourteen, thirty-one." On obtaining a bible, Jameson read the words, "O what king, going to make war against another king sitteth not down first and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand?" ...and Jameson determined to risk and expedition with the forces at his command." The Encyclopedia Britannica, 11th edition, 1910.

PRESENT SITUATION: Mugabe, though fraudulently elected, remains president of Zimbabwe. Morgan Tsvangirai is appealing to the international community for intervention. Some nations, like the United States have imposed sanctions. There remains the possibility that those of the Zimbabwe opposition who haven't managed to flee will realize they have nothing to lose, will form a rebel resistance, possibly around the MDC, much as Mugabe and Nkomo had once mounted a guerrilla war against the Ian Smith regime.

PLUS CA CHANGE:
In the 1950s and 1960s, Prime Minister Ian Smith led an officially segregationist, apartheid regime, repressing and denying representation or economic progress to the black majority. Robert Mugabe, no less oppressive than was Smith against the black majority, is now repressing, with extreme brutality, all opposition from his own people.

CURIOSITY:
The rivalry between Zimbabwe's majority people, the Shona, and its minority Ndebele goes back to the 1890s when the Ndbele arrived from South Africa, displacing the Shona from Matabeleland.

TIMELINE FOR THE HISTORY OF ZIMBABWE:

Ancient Zimbabwe.

18,000 BC- wall paintings in caves in Matopos.

1000 BC- the Zimbabwe region enters the iron age.

300 AD- settlements in Zimbabwe indicate an iron-using people not yet building in stone.

Mwene Mupata.

-Mwene Mutapa founded by the Shona people, one of several Bantu confederations that arose after the 13th century.

-empire of Mwene Mutapa between the Zambezi and the Limpopo, on the Zimbabwean plateau and bounded by the Kalahari desert on the east and the Inyanga mountains to the east.

1100 AD- the appearance of trade and production for trade begin to produce a social structure. Stone building begins.

1200-1600 Mwene Mutapa flourishes; in the capital, Great Zimbabwe, a civilization of stone construction-

1250- the rise of the plateau kingship of the Shona.

The Zenith of Mwene Mutapa

-the empire flourishes through control of trade routes for gold and salt.

-gold reserves are exploited along with trade routes with the Islamic Swahili cities of the east coast. Mwenemutapa came to control the import of ideas and goods from the Arab world.

-there is more contact with Arabia and India than with the rest of Africa. However, Islam has little influence.

-monarchical and matrimonial traditions are the primary foundation of the Shona state.

1300- the building of the great stone complex of Great Zimbabwe.

Expansion of Mwene Mutapa

1425- Mutota, King of the Karanga leads the territorial expansion of Zimbabwe through conquest.

1430 (circa) Great Zimbabwe, the capital of the Mwene Mutapa Empire shifts northward due to military expansion, as the chief of the Rowzi, Nyarsimka Mutota conquers the middle Zambezi for its cotton, salt and elephants. He takes the name “Mwene Mutapa” or “Lord of the Conquered Peoples”.

1450 (circa) –conquests move eastward toward the coast, along Pungwe and Save rivers.

1470- Mutota’s son, King Mutope, completes Mutota’s conquests which make him the most powerful monarch in central south Africa.

1480- Zimbabwe weakened by internal rivalries.

Arrival of the Portuguese; decline of Zimbabwe.

1571-75- Zimbabwe successfully defended from Portuguese invasion.

1580- war with the Portuguese reaches destructive levels.

1600- Zimbabwe begins to disintegrate due to the establishment of fiefdoms by Portuguese adventurers and by the global devaluation of the price of gold due to large gold discoveries in the new world.

-the Portuguese, take control of the Swahili coastal cities, disrupting Zimbabwean trade routes and leaving the kingdom weaker and isolated in the interior.

-soil depleted due to destructive farming practices.

1830s- Zimbabwe overrun by the northward migration of Zulus and of the Ngoni of Natal. Zulus of the Ndebele tribe settle in Matabeleland.

-before the British arrive, Zimbabwe consists of Mashonaland and Matabeleland.

The British

1889- agents of Cecil Rhodes’ British South Africa Company (BSAC) make a treaty with the Mdbele of Matabeleland to secure the exploitation of mineral wealth.

1890- Cecil Rhodes’ British South Africa Company sends troops to take Southern Rhodesia.

1891- the region is declared a British protectorate.

1890s- -British are faced with uprisings by the Matabele and Mashina tribes.

Rhodesia an Apartheid State

1894- the region is named Rhodesia and administered by the BSAC. The most fertile lands are given to the 5 per cent that make up the white population. The remainder is called the Tribal Trust Lands. Since the blacks cannot subsist on the poor soil of the TTLs, they are forced to become labour for the white farming population.

-apartheid policies follow upon extreme inequality.

1894-1903- the Shona and Matabele are subdued by force.

1923- Rhodesia decides through white referendum against joining South Africa. BSAC administration ends.

An Independent Southern Rhodesia

1924- Rhodesia attains independence as Southern Rhodesia.

1936- the Setters’ Commission.

Commissions for a Rhodesian Federation.

1927-29- Hilton Young Commission on the possible federation of the two Rhodesias and Nyasaland.

1948-9- The Bledislow Commission on the possible federation of the two Rhodesias and Nyasaland (Malawi).

1951- two commissions on the possible federation of the two Rhodesias and Nyasaland.

1953- an overly-complex constitution is produced as Southern Rhodesia becomes part of the Central African Federation with Nyasaland and Northern Rhodesia.

Unsuccessful Attempts at racial Equality.

-Southern Rhodesia's white minority refuses to give up its rule over 6 million blacks.

-British unsuccessfully try to negotiate political rights for the black population.

-white South Africa, Southern Rhodesia and Portugal form an alliance.

Ian Smith Declares Unilateral Independence.

1963- Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland withdraw from the federation as they move toward independence.

1965- Ian Smith unilaterally forms his segregationist Rhodesia Front and declares South Rhodesian independence from Britain. He is elected Prime Minister.

-Britain refuses to grant independence unless blacks are given a share in the government. Smith makes a ‘Unilateral Declaration of Independence.’

-sanctions imposed on Southern Rhodesia by Britain and the United Nations are ignored by South Africa and Mozambique and do little harm.

Resistance Mounted by ZAPU and ZANU.

-black resistance movements emerge: Joshua Nyere’s Zimbabwean African People’s Union (ZAPU) and Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe African National Union. (ZANU).

November- Nyere persuades the OAU to support the principle of using force against white rule in Rhodesia.

Zimbabwean Civil War.

-ZAPU and ZANU carry on guerrilla wars against forces of the Smith government.

1976- peace negotiations between the rebel movements and the government collapse. Violence intensifies.

-ZAPU AND ZANU submerge their rivalry and unite as the Patriotic Front (PF).

1978- the PF refuses a power sharing deal which whites would dominate.

End of White Rule

1979- end of white rule. 20,000 dead in civil war.

-Abel Muzorewa elected Prime Minister.

The Lancaster Agreement.

21 December- a government of compromise is reached sponsored by the British at Lancaster House: however, the 1.2% white population is guaranteed 20% of the seats in parliament. The British undertake provisional rule until March elections.

1980 March- free elections supervised by the British: Robert Mugabe winds 63 per cent of the vote. Nkomo’s ZAPU receives 24 per cent.

-guerrilla warfare (which has claimed 30,000 lives) supported by China along with international pressure forces the white leadership to step down.

Triumph of Black Rule

18 April- a black-ruled Zimbabwe declares its independence.

-1980s- Mugabe’s balanced and moderate economic polices produce prosperity and peace despite a poor black majority and rich white landowning minority. However, there is a rift between Mugabe's ZAPU and Nukomo and his ZANU. Mugabe offers peace conditions but Nkomo refuses them.

The Shona-Ndebele Conflict.

1982-1986- Mugabe launches a concerted campaign against resistance from about 500 of Joshua Nikomo's militia, ZIPRA, in Matabeleland. Mugabe's North Korea-trained Fifth Brigade is, like Mugabe himself, of the Shona tribe while ZIPRA is comprised of Ndebeles.

1983- February- according to the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace, Mugabe's 5th brigade murdered more than 20,000 Nkomo followers in Matabelenad. Many were shot to death in a concentration camp at Antelope. The bodies were disposed of in mine shafts.

1984- ZANU-PF member Morgan Tsvangirai questions Mugabe's motives in launching the massacre at Antelope.

1987- ZANU and ZAPU make peace, merging as the ZANU-PF. The white parliamentary advantage in the Lancaster Agreement is rescinded.

1989- Morgan Tsvangirai becomes chief of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) which he proceeds to distance from Mugabe and the ZANU-PF. Afterward, Tsvangirai will survive several assassination attempts.

1990- elections: despite the readjustment of parliament, whites retain almost 20 per cent of the seats as ZANU-PF members. There are also two white ministers.

Rise and Fall of Mugabe's Economic Miracle.

-Mugabe begins to apply universal health care and education.

-Zimbabwe shows high economic performance. However it is guaranteed by cheap black labour. The fertile white land remains the bedrock of the economy, producing six times the yield per head of black farms. 4,000 white farmers cultivate 30 per cent of the fertile land, producing 40 per cent of exports and employing 65 per cent of the black labour pool.

1992- food shortages. National debt growing.

Expropriation of White Farmers.

1994- High Court passes an expropriation law.

1997- 11,000 Zimbabwean troops become involved in a war with the Congo- further increasing the national debt.

-unemployment rises to 50%.

1998- to solve the debt crisis, Mugabe licenses militant bands of blacks to seize farms owned by whites.

1999- Morgan Tsvangirai founds the MDC in opposition to Robert Mugabe.

2000- May- Land Acquisition Law expropriates white farmers.

-hundreds of white farmers are evicted by government order. Police stand by while white farms are subjected to violence and looting.

-international aid is stopped in response to the expropriations. The economy begins to crash.

-the High Court rules that expropriated white farmers must have their lands returned. But the ruling is largely ignored.

-Morgan Tsvangirai leads the defeat of Mugabe's attempted referendum to confirm the country's present constitution.

Mugabe Re-elected by Fraud.

-Mugabe gets himself elected through intimidation, violence and electoral fraud.

April- government blames famine and increasing food shortages on drought.

June- government gives white farmers 45 days to leave their land under the Land Acquisition Law of May.

2001- Morgan Tsvangirai condemns the 1983 Ndebeleland massacre.

August 2002 becomes the legal deadline for the expropriation of all remaining white farms.

Severe Economic Crisis.

-flooding and crop failures compounded by the expropriations threaten half the population with starvation.

September- Commonwealth fails to agree on sanctions against Zimbabwe.

November- Government declares land expropriations finished.

Repression of the Morgan Tsvangirai and the Opposition

2003- March- anti-government protests followed by beatings and police brutality.

-June Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition party, Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) is arrested for treason.

-December- Zimbabwe expelled from the Commonwealth.

2004- Oct. Tsvangirai is acquitted of treason charge of plotting to kill Mugabe- but another charge of treason remains.

Rigged 2005 Parliamentary Elections.

2005- March – Mugabe’s Zanu-PF Party wins two-thirds in parliamentary polls; the opposition MDC says the polls were rigged.

Mugabe's Attack on the Shanty Towns.

-May-July- in Mugabe’s ‘renewal’ project, shanty-towns around capital are pulled down, expropriating about 700,000.

-August- remaining treason charges against Tszangirai are dropped.

The Zanu-PNF Senate.

-November- the Zanu-PF party wins overwhelming majority in elections to the newly-created senate. The MDC splits over participation in the elections.

2006- May- inflation exceeds 1,000%.

September- riot police pre-empt demonstrations against the government’s handling of the economy. Union leaders are jailed and allegedly tortured.

-December- Zanu-PF party agrees to move elections from 2008 to 2010, extending Mugabe’s rule.

2007- March- Tsvangirai is beaten and hospitalized at an anti-government rally.

May- warnings of power cuts as electricity is redirected to agriculture.

June- five men charged with plotting a coup. Their defense counsel says they were only forming a political party.

ZANU-PMF and MDC hold talks in South Africa.

-summer- ruling Zanu-PMF party and MDC party hold preliminary talks in South Africa.

December- EU-Africa Summit attended by President Mugabe. He is taken to task for his human rights record. British PM Gordon Brown boycotts the summit because of Mugabe's presence.

-Mugabe is endorsed as the ZANU-PMF candidate for the March elections.

2008- March- presidential and primary elections. MorganTsvangirai wins 48% of the vote compared to 43% for Mugabe. It's agreed the final decision will come with a run-off vote.

April-May- delaying the run-off vote indefinitely, Mugabe launches a campaign of terror against Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change opposition. MDC members are harassed, threatened and about 85 are murdered.

-Tsvangiruai appeals for aid to the international community. Mugabe claims that all protest is rooted in western conspiracies to reassert colonialism in Zimbabwe and that Tsvangirai is their instrument.

June- Tsvangirai withdraws the MDV from opposition, declaring that his supporters would be murdered if they voted.

June 29- Mugabe runs as sole presidential candidate declaring victory with 85% of the vote.
Many vote in fear, knowing that even an abstention could lead to death.

-UN motion to impose sanctions is vetoed by China and Russia.

July- The US anbd the EU strenthen sanctions on Zimbabwe.

Sept.- Mugabe and Tsvangirai begin power sharing agreement which stalls over the allocation of cabinet positions.

December- Cholera epidemic worsens with breakdown of health care system.

2009- January- foreign currencies allowed by government in order to stop hyperinflation.

February- after lenthy neotiations with Mugabe, Tsvangirai is sworn in as Prime Minister.

March- retail prices fall for the first time in years.

June- beginning of review of Constitution.

-Tsvangirai touring Europe and US to obtain financial support.

September- pwer sharing arrangement has been in place one year and Tsvangirai's MDC is still frustrated, reporting violence and persecution of the movement.

-delegations arrive from EU and and US in a gradual warming of relations but maintain targeted sanctions.

-$400 million provided by IMF as part of agreement for aid with member states.

-October- Mugabe calls for a new start in relations with the West.
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