Betrayed supremecist was embittered to the end (22 November 2007) PDF Print E-mail

 

The Editor 
The Cape Times 
P.O. Box 11 
Cape Town 
8000

22 November 2007

Dear Sir

In response to the Cape Times article on the late Ian Smith “Betrayed supremecist was embittered to the end” (21/11/07), please allow me to correct some inaccuracies. It is neither fair nor honest to portray Ian Smith as a “white supremist”. His policy was “Responsible Government” with a “qualified franchise.” The vote in Rhodesia was not limited to whites, but was a qualified franchise, which required either educational qualification or property ownership.

The fact that the Soviet backed ZAPU and Red Chinese backed ZANU terrorist groups murdered black candidates, officials and voters to intimidate the black citizens of Rhodesia to withdraw from the electoral process, resulted in an increasingly white government. However, that was not the policy of Ian Smith who was seeking to move the country to a position where 50% of the parliament would be made up of black members.

As someone who knew Ian Smith well and met him regularly over the last 20 years, I was surprised to see the Cape Times article describe him as “embittered and disillusioned to the end.” Ian Smith was most certainly not embittered nor disillusioned! He had a very positive attitude, stayed in Zimbabwe even through the horrific farm invasions and lawless upheavals caused by Mugabe’s dictatorship, and continually worked for the good of the country. He regularly spoke with great hope and vision for the future.

Whether one agreed with Ian Smith’s policies or not, one could only admire his courage, tenacity and his integrity. Also, it should be noted that no one starved in Rhodesia. Life under Ian Smith in Rhodesia, even in war time, never degenerated to anything close to how bad it has become in peace time in Zimbabwe.

The national suicide under Mugabe would seem to vindicate much of what Ian Smith stood for, and over four million Zimbabweans have voted with their feet by fleeing Mugabe’s dictatorial rule.

In your article you mention Ian Smith’s “supporters – white Rhodesians…” To be fair one should also mention that he was immensely popular with many black Rhodesians as well. There were times in Zimbabwe when Ian Smith would be lifted up on the shoulders of black shoppers in downtown Harare and cheered enthusiastically. Many black Zimbabweans went to him for advice on how to free the country from Mugabe’s dictatorship. I have seen signs in black townships in Zimbabwe declaring: “FREE ZIMBABWE – BRING BACK SMITH!”

Yours sincerely

Dr Peter Hammond

Frontline Fellowship

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