Some years ago I met a Ugandan who was driving an illegal taxi in Manchester (UK). We got chatting about African politics and Uganda as he drove me home, and he suddenly said something that has stuck with me over the years. He said that "It was wrong of the whites to leave so early, we weren't ready".
When I asked what he meant, he said that there should have been "a longer run up to independence in Uganda, with more skilled Africans trained into the Judiciary, Civil Service, Police and Military". He went on to expand on this, he was obviously keen to get things off his chest, and said that "The interim government should have been five years or more, with the first two elections, supervised whilst still under British overall control, to ensure the rules were stuck to".
He then added "But most of all, the police should have remained under British control, and we should have been told we didn't need an army as the British Army was staying to "protect" Uganda, not that we needed an army, or protecting from any one except our own army".
I forget which "African strong man" was in charge of Uganda at the time, it could have been Idi Amin, or Milton Obotoe, or one of the others, but his charge was that they had all squandered and stolen the resources that had been there upon independence, and let down the hopes of a nation.
His basic argument was that with no native military, and the police supervised by the UK, democracy would have stuck from the start, and the constitution obeyed by all parties. And, that by not wasting money on unneeded Armies; money would have been spent on education, medicine and infrastructure.
In reality this wasn't practicable, especially given the "anti-colonial" sentiments in both Africa and the West at the time. But when you look at the mess that the vast majority of African nations got into after independence, maybe he had a point for all of the new states and not just Uganda.
I haven't thought about this conversation for some years, and I am afraid that like many I have just written the whole continent off as a "basket case", with Zimbabwe just being the latest example, but I wonder how it would have all turned out "if only.." Britain and France had come up with a joint "plan" for correcting inappropriate borders (those that split tribes), and insisting on acting as military guarantors of the constitution for each newly independent state?
It's too late now, and asking for any white military force to go in and correct an abhorrent African regime is just whistling into the wind. There is still an "Anti colonial" lobby on the left wing of the UK, who would bring down the New Labour regime if Blair tried to use military force, so even if he has thought about it, he has not dared risked it.
I am afraid that you are stuck with the 'old boys club' aka the "African Union" or the "UN", aka the 'Chinese oil exploration authority', for any hope in Zimbabwe. In reality this means that nothing will happen, and until and unless South Africa feels threatened, nothing will be allowed to happen. With the news that Mugabe intends to run for election until he dies, that is the only hope you have, that he dies of old age.
It will be a very long time, if ever, before Zimbabwe fully recovers from the damage. All the farm infrastructure has been destroyed, the farmers dispersed, and capital goods (tractors etc) gone, and livestock diseased or eaten. Even just repairing the fences will cost millions.
Your country has effectively been destroyed, and will never regain the chances lost, because even if Mugabe's regime collapses, all the squatters, veterans, activists etc will still be there, and no one will be able to control them. It would need a military government just to protect people let alone enforce the courts orders.
I am sorry to be pessimistic, but I suspect that when Mugabe's party lose power, they will revert back to guerrilla violence to get it back, and this brings us back to "if only ."
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