Friday, November 30, 2007

Ian Smith Was Right?

Well, sure, but I didn't think you could say such things. But here, sure enough, a Brit actually says it.

It was easy to mock Ian Smith, but he was right - both about the betrayals and about the quality of most African politicians.

He has particular resonance this week, as heads of the Commonwealth convene in Uganda, a country with an interesting democratic history.

However ponderous, however humourless and unsophisticated he was, Smith had run a successful emerging African country and, although the whites were the main beneficiaries, there was increasing prosperity among the black population.

Above all there was a sound, intelligently managed economy, free from the post-colonial blight of corruption.

Today, Zimbabwe is a failed state with a non-functioning economy, a once-flourishing agricultural sector now moribund, and a population on the brink of starvation. According to a UN Development Programme index, life expectancy there today is one of the lowest in the world. So much for liberation.

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