BRIEF HISTORY 1890 – PRESENT
1. In 1890, British imperialist and colonizer Cecil Rhodes (1890 – 1902)1 and his British South Africa Company (BSAC) conquered a large portion of Southern Africa and had the region named after himself. Northern Rhodesia (modern Zambia) and Southern Rhodesia (modern Zimbabwe) came under British control.
In 1923, after a referendum which rejected union with South Africa, the country became a self-governing colony. In an attempt to pre-empt black majority rule the white-controlled Rhodesian parliament made an independent Declaration of Independence in 1965, leading to a 15 year guerrilla war. After the Lancaster House agreement in 1979 the country returned briefly to direct British rule, and elections were held in 1980.
Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) won a majority (57 out of 80) of seats available to blacks (20 seats had been reserved for a separate white election) in the new parliament, and its leader, Robert Mugabe, became Prime Minister. ZANU used its majority gradually to amend the constitution, introducing, for example, an executive presidency to which Mugabe was elected in 1987.
This distortion of the history of Zimbabwe has had an enduring legacy. The colonial era (1890 - 1980) had a destructive impact on the daily lives of native Zimbabweans. Not only was their heritage stolen, but the best farmland and resources were also taken by British colonists.
2. The United Kingdom has a role to play in ensuring that the values and standards of the United Nations are upheld around the globe. As a member of the United Nations Security Council, the EU and as the leader of the Commonwealth the UK has a great deal of power and influence on the international stage. The issues surrounding Zimbabwe and its Prime Minister Robert Mugabe are of concern to the UK because of many historical links. This paper will investigate the courses of action open to the United Kingdom in dealing with this situation.
3. The UK directs its interests overseas guided by its foreign policy; this policy is documented by the Strategic International Priorities (SIP)2. These SIPs guide the UK in how it conducts its business on the international stage and gives the guidelines for what the UK as a country seeks to secure. SIP ten states that UK foreign policy seeks to promote “sustainable development and poverty reduction underpinned by human rights, democracy, good governance and protection of the environment”.
4. The troubles that Zimbabwe faces come from within, they do not face an external threat from another nation but mismanagement of the country and its resources has resulted in a number of issues that have massively affected the capability of the country to sustain itself:
a. Land Reform Program. The forced reallocation of white owned farms to the black population has resulted in a massive drop in the food production. The country can no longed feed its population with the quantity of food that it produces. This has a two fold effect on the country, primarily the country has to import food or rely on aid to feed its population and secondly the economy of the country suffers as any surplus food cannot be exported. The continued downward trend in food production will result in an increase of the country’s population being dependant upon aid from foreign country’s and Non Government Organisations (NGO) in order to survive. This spiral into the country’s reliance upon outside aid can result in a dependency culture if it continues for a prolonged period. The dependency culture is brought about due to the food being made available with no effort on the farmers behalf, this results in a lack of motivation to produce, this in turn results in the farming skills being lost and eventually the knowledge for farming being lost entirely.