Mugabe worse than Smith – author

JOHANNESBURG – A Zimbabwean writer and academic this week said President Robert Mugabe was worse than Ian Smith.

Launching his book, “When a State Turns Against Its Citizens; Institutionalized Violence and Political Culture”, in Johannesburg, Zimbabwean academic and writer, Lloyd Sachikonye, even gave a plus to the Smith regime for allowing the dawn of a new era in Zimbabwe after the historic 1980 elections, something that Mugabe refused to do when he lost to Morgan Tsvangirai in 2008.

“The main problem we have had is that when everyone was focussed on attaining independence, no one paid attention to the need for a proper transformation that would have changed the system of governance in the new country, which the ruling elite have manipulated to suppress the will of the people and all other personal freedoms”

The University of Zimbabwe lecturer said that Mugabe built a wall around himself by appointing to key security positions people that fought in Zanu (PF)’s military wing – ZANLA during the liberation struggle.

“These people have been close to one another since the war of liberation and to them, the state and the party (Zanu PF) are seen as one.”

Sachikonye’s book details Zimbabwe’s pre and post independence political violence, specialising in institutionalised violence sanctioned by the state.

The 104-page book traces the roots of Zimbabwe’s contemporary violence to the actions of the Rhodesian armed forces, and the inter-party conflicts that occurred during the liberation war.

However, much of the author’s focus is the period since 2000, which has seen state-sponsored violence erupting in election campaigns and throughout the programme of fast-track land reform.

This is the period when – fearing for his lack of popularity against a then newly-formed MDC, President Robert Mugabe launched a tirade against Zimbabweans by first expropriating productive land owned by mainly white commercial farmers, whom he accused of sponsoring the new party. – The Zimbabwean