Countryaah, the economic and political situation
deteriorated drastically during the year. A series of
strikes were carried out against tax and price increases.
The strikes were given increasingly clear political tone,
especially after a 67% increase in fuel prices in November.
Discontent with the economic conditions increased after
Zimbabwe's military intervention in the Congo-Kinshasa war,
where 6,000 soldiers were sent to the government of Kabila.
The effort was reported to cost SEK 8 million. a day; this
was in a situation where the currency lost more than 60% in
value in a year, inflation was 45%, unemployment 40% and
growth slowed. Unions and employers were united in the
demands for an end to corruption and state waste. They also
demanded a public account of the costs of the war effort,
which was decided without debate in Parliament and which
they claimed was done to protect the private business
interests of individual government members in
Congo-Kinshasa. The government's response to the protests
was a six-month-long strike ban.
The economic situation was made more difficult by the
International Monetary Fund's (IMF) decision in November to
freeze the continued payment of a loan of $ 176 million
agreed in June. The IMF was concerned by the government's
decision to confiscate 841 farms owned by whites and to
distribute land to blacks, despite the government's promised
land expropriation on a much smaller scale and slower pace.
Former President Canaan Banana was found guilty of
homosexual abuse in November and placed under house arrest
after staying hidden abroad for a few weeks. The verdict
falls in 1999.
Negotiations and armed struggle
Just as in neighboring countries, African nationalist
movements emerged in the 1950s with the goal of
self-government. At this time, Joshua Nkomo was the unifying
front figure. But it quickly became apparent that the
European minority was not prepared for negotiations and
there was little support to be gained for the nationalist
movement in Britain. With the 1961 Rhodesian Front election
victory, the negotiating path was finally closed. At the
same time, there was a division within the nationalist
movement, and from 1964 Joshua Nkomo headed the Zimbabwe
African People's Union (ZAPU), while Ndabaningi Sithole led
the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) with Robert
Mugabe as a close associate. Movements were later banned and
most leaders spent long periods in jail.
After 1965, it became clear that only armed liberation
struggles could ensure independence and democracy. During
the 1960s, therefore, a number of scattered guerrilla
actions followed. The Smith regime had built up a strong
police and military apparatus, and received significant
assistance from South Africa to defeat the guerrillas. From
Britain several attempts were made to negotiate, and in 1972
a compromise was approached which went a long way towards
securing the privileges of Europeans. However, the proposal
fell after extensive African mobilization against it, and
with its opportunities to work legally, Bishop Abel Muzorewa
and his African National Council played an important role in
In 1972-73, a new offensive was launched in the
liberation struggle, while at the same time strengthening
political mobilization inland. It was ZANU in particular,
which increased its business with support in liberated areas
in Mozambique. Joining the liberation movements was also
linked to the Smith regime further tightening the land laws
and launching a terrorist policy in the countryside. With
Mozambique's independence in 1975, the liberation struggle
entered a new phase. The white minority regime became even
more isolated and militarily pressured, while worsening
economic problems as Mozambique joined the sanctions and
closed the border.
In the autumn of 1975, several summits were held at the
initiative of South Africa and Zambia, but they did not
produce any results. A new British-North American
negotiation was launched in 1976 with the aim of saving as
many of the white positions of power as possible, and
preparations were made for a new colonialist solution.
However, up until the Geneva Conference in the fall of 1976,
ZAPU and ZANU joined forces in the Patriotic Front, which
then gained the overall support of the "frontline states" -
Mozambique, Tanzania, Angola, Zambia and Botswana.
As it turned out that the Smith regime would not agree to
any kind of transition to a real majority rule this time,
the guerrilla struggle was further intensified. Increasingly
rural areas were liberated by ZANU, while ZAPU opened
several new fronts - initially with the support of Zambia.
With the aim of splitting the liberation struggle and
avoiding a radical upheaval, Ian Smith began negotiations
with Bishop Abel Muzorewa, Ndabaningi Sithole and Tribal
Chief Jeremiah Chirau in the fall of 1977. This resulted in
a so-called "internal solution" in the spring of 1978,
followed by a well-directed election that made Muzorewa the
"prime minister" the following year.