via ‘Smith’s Rhodesia was better’ – Sunday Mail — Nehanda Radio by Gift Kugara OCTOBER 8, 2013
Zimbabweans on Sunday woke up to a shocking admission by the state weekly newspaper, The Sunday Mail, that the colonial government of Ian Smith had fared better at managing the economy that the ZANU PF government which has been in power since independence.
The Sunday Mail is widely regarded as a ZANU PF mouthpiece. It has been the chief propaganda platform for ZANU PF, the party led by President Robert Mugabe and has ruled Zimbabwe for 33 years.
In Sunday’s refreshingly honest editorial, The Sunday Mail wrote comparing the post-independence and the Rhodesian governments, “The racist Rhodesian regime had its many blemishes but you have to acknowledge its ability to identify quick win economic solutions.”
The implication is that the ZANU PF government has not shown the same capacity over its 33-year rule.
Observers have said this direct attack on Robert Mugabe’s government which is made worse by comparing it unfavourably to their traditional punch-bag, the colonial government, is unprecedented.
“It is unthinkable that of all papers, The Sunday Mail would acknowledge and give credit to the colonial government and in the process attack ZANU PF by showing that the latter has fared worse”, said a commentator who wished to remain anonymous.
In the same editorial, The Sunday Mail castigated Robert Mugabe’s 33-year rule with brutal honesty regarding its poor record of policy implementation.
Commenting on the widespread power outages that have left domestic and industrial users without electricity for up to 15 hours per day, The Sunday Mail criticised Robert Mugabe’s government for failing to take pre-emptive measures to address the power deficit.
“Zimbabwe’s power deficit is not a new challenge”, wrote The Sunday Mail. It went further, “In the 1980s and 90s , the nation should have taken significant measures to address the power deficit. How we failed to do this is mind-numbing.”
This confirms criticisms that have been levelled against Robert Mugabe’s rule over the years, an observer noted. “Finally, we have a state newspaper that is rabidly pro-ZANU PF, admitting failure.”
The paper went on to describe Mugabe’s government record of policy implementation as “dismal”, further cementing criticism of the opposition MDC formations.
“There were all manner of high-sounding blueprints and well-articulated strategy documents, but all the plans came to naught because policy-makers and bureaucrats are good at policy formulation but dismal at implementation”
Mugabe was recently retained as President of Zimbabwe in controversial circumstances, for the seventh term since he was first elected as Prime Minister of newly independent Zimbabwe in 1980.
The MDC led by Morgan Tsvangirai, former Prime Minister in the Inclusive Government, has refused to acknowledge the results, arguing that the electoral process was manipulated in ZANU PF’s favour.
Although SADC and the AU have said the elections were peaceful, they have stopped short of describing them to be “fair”. The US, EU and other Western countries have not endorsed the results, further isolating and frustrating the Mugabe regime which is desperate for Western acknowledgement.
Throughout the campaign, Tsvangirai and the MDC argued that Mugabe and ZANU PF had failed dismally at managing the economy, which has shrunk drastically from a strong and diverse economy inherited from colonial Rhodesia at independence in 1980.
Julius Nyerere, Founding Father of Tanzania and strong supporter of Zimbabwe’s liberation efforts in the 1970s, is said to have told Mugabe at independence that he had inherited a jewel economy and that he should not destroy it. Nyerere’s words seem to have gone unheeded.
Facing serious economic challenges under Mugabe’s rule, ordinary Zimbabweans have often been heard to say, it was better under Smith, much to Mugabe and ZANU PF’s chagrin.
Although the recent election was supposed to usher a new era of hope, Zimbabwe is going through a period of gloom and uncertainty, with local and international confidence at its lowest levels.