Zimbabwe Ruins
From JB Campbell

What follows is a note to a lady in the country formerly known as Rhodesia, which is experiencing the sheer hell of "majority rule." I was a member of the British South Africa Police in the early days of the Rhodesian war against terror. I refer to Jack Howman, whom I met on a business trip there in 1971, who was then Minister of Internal Affairs. UDI was the Unilateral Declaration of Independence (from the UK), though Rhodesia was never a colony of England, as was Zambia, Kenya, etc.
Support Unit was an anti-terror squad of the BSAP, made up of about 350 African constables and their sergeants and about 40 Whites as officers.
Joshua Nkomo led the Soviet-backed terror gang with his ZAPU political party. Robert Mugabe led the Chinese-backed terror gang with his ZANU party. Both were put in detention by Ian Smith's government in '65 or so and were released by order of Henry Kissinger in '75.
(Note - The lady in question is Zim resident Cathy Buckle whose weekly reports about her shattered country are regularly posted at -ed)
Cathy -
Why isn't this fiasco ever blamed on the guilty party - the one and only Ian Douglas Smith?
That treacherous old bastard is the reason for all the misery. He was not Right and he was not Honorable. He performed his role for Washington and London flawlessly. He pretended to be a great Rhodesian patriot - and maybe he was at first, in '65 when he declared UDI. But certainly by the time I got there in '71 he had sold out. Jack Howman himself told me that year, "Change has come to Rhodesia." "By change, sir, do you mean International Socialism?" Howman just looked at me.
But in January, '73 I went back and joined the BSAP and got into Support Unit. Then I saw what a liar Smith was. The farmers in the NE Border area got not one bit of help from Smith, and they were the only targets of the terror in Operation Hurricane. Smith could have given them some of the tons of captured weapons from the police armory - and God knows what the army had. But he didn't. He made the farmers BUY FN rifles and shotguns at R$450 per - which was a hell of a lot of money. The African tribesmen? Ha.
He could have supplied chain link fence for protection of the farmhouses against the RPG - something the more successful farmers had - but he didn't. He just let them stew in their own sweat.
But then I was sent to Vila Salazar, where the BSAP ran a secret prison camp for the ZAPU leadership. This is where Joshua Nkomo and his top boys were trained for ten years, with lessons in government, civics, political science, etc. They'd come into the police camp class room to take their exams! Ask Tony Seward, the member in charge of the VS police camp in the mid-'70s. When I saw that I yelped, "Hell, Tony - these guys are being groomed for leadership! This is the sell-out!" He shrugged and said, "I suppose you could say that."
I said, "No wonder this place is a secret! This couldn't be done by the Bureau of Prisons, obviously. We're all sworn to secrecy and now I see why."
When I finished my six week tour there I went up to Mt. Darwin and told my farmer friends what I had seen. They frankly didn't believe me. They hadn't heard of Joshua Nkomo in many years and had mostly forgotten about him. But the idea of his being trained to take over just didn't compute with them. Surely Smith was not capable of such deliberate treachery. But he was.
Mugabe of course got the same treatment in his camp in Mashonaland Province. The VS detention facility was like a holiday camp for Nkomo's boys. They sent their mail out uncensored (Josh was the postmaster), they got on the train for a weekend in Bulawayo periodically (walking around accompanied by a single, very intimidated constable), their families were brought in by train every few weeks. Then there was the Wilfred Brooks affair. Brooks had a great weekly paper called Property & Finance, which accused Smith of making secret deals with the US and UK for the eventual capitulation of Rhodesia. Brooks had documents proving this but when Smith sued him for defamation he used the Official Secrets Act to prevent Brooks from using his evidence. Brooks' son was killed by terrorists just as the trial was beginning but Smith ordered him into court anyway, and then got a R$35,000 or so judgment against him, which ruined Brooks and prevented any more accusations of treason against Smith.
Smith was a ruthless, treacherous sell-out. He declared a cease-fire in April, '74 and this allowed hundreds of new terrorists to sneak into Rhodesia after we had eliminated almost all of them. He would never allow us to attack the terrorist bases in Mozambique or Zambia, even though we knew where they all were. Later, of course, this policy changed when it was too late. But he deliberately allowed the war to take place in Rhodesia rather than in the enemy's homeground. And you really can't win that way, which we all knew. He played strictly by the enemy's rules.
Smith, with his vague and cryptic speeches, softened up the tough Rhodesian farmers and soldiers over the course of fifteen years of terrorism so that by 1979 he could say that black rule was inevitable and they meekly obeyed him.
Now, in the inevitable, nasty aftermath, no one has the courage to accuse this miserable son of a bitch with the truth: He was working for Washington and London the whole time.
J B Campbell RGSM Las Vegas
RGSM is the Rhodesia General Service Medal. -ed



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