Zimbabwe. According to Countryaah, the capital of Zimbabwe is Harare. 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 this phase.
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.