Country of the World Zimbabwe or Rhodesia

About the country Zimbabwe or Rhodesia, its location, size, population, leaders and rulers.

NATIONS AND THEIR RULERS

ZIMBABWE (RHODESIA)

NITTY-GRITTY

Lay of the Land: Landlocked Zimbabwe in southern Africa shares one of the wonders of the world, the magnificent Victoria Falls, with its northern neighbor, Zambia. It also shares one of the world's largest man-made lakes, Lake Kariba, with Zambia. Both of these phenomena are located on the Zambesi River, Zimbabwe's natural border with Zambia. To the south, another important river, the Limpopo, forms Zimbabwe's frontier with the Republic of South Africa.

Size: 150,820 sq. mi. (390,624 sq. km.).

Population: 6.7 million.

Who Rules: Under the government established by the white rebels, Rhodesia has a bicameral legislature. In the House of Assemblies, 50 seats are allocated to Europeans and 16 to Africans. The upper house, the Senate, consists of 10 Europeans, 10 African chiefs, and 3 members appointed by the president (one of whom must be of mixed race). Since the white-dominated government of Rhodesia seized power illegally, technically Great Britain is still the recognized ruler of Rhodesia.

Who REALLY Rules: British rule is a figment of the imagination. The white minority is still clinging to power, but its days are numbered. Among the whites, the Rhodesian Front gained all the parliamentary seats in the 1977 election, and it, with the support of a handful of African stooges, continues to call the cards.

Since Prime Minister Ian Smith's white supremacist government issued a unilateral declaration of independence from Great Britain in November, 1965. Rhodesia has been increasingly isolated diplomatically and besieged by black nationalist guerrillas.

Smith, attempting to salvage as much white privilege as possible, began in early 1977 to attempt to locate African politicians willing to participate in a multiracial government. In March, 1978, after three months of negotiations. Smith reached an agreement with three moderate black Rhodesian leaders (Bishop Abel Muzorewa, Chief Jeremiah Chirau, and Reverend Ndabaningi Sithole) to form a new multiracial government. The accord calls for the formation of an interim government headed by Smith and the three black leaders. This interim government will draw up a constitution for the new state of Zimbabwe and hold national elections based on universal suffrage. By retaining control of Rhodesia's army, Smith hopes that the whites can maintain their position as the nation's actual rulers, even though they submit to black majority government. Less than a week after it was signed, the U.N. rejected the agreement.

The Marxist black nationalist Patriotic Front immediately condemned the Smith formula and intensified its guerrilla activities in Rhodesia. Black guerrilla forces are now being supplied with Soviet arms and trained by Cuban advisers at bases in neighboring Zambia and Mozambique. The increasing effectiveness and numbers of the Patriotic Front guerrillas has resulted in higher white Rhodesian casualties and in the progressive demoralization of the white population, causing nearly 17,000 whites to abandon the country in 1977--the highest number in more than 10 years. In April, 1978, Patriotic Front leaders Joshua Nkomo and Robert Mugabe reconfirmed their intention never to compromise with the Smith government and called for the complete defeat of the white Rhodesian army and the arrest and trial of Smith as a war criminal.

Hundreds of thousands of Africans have been uprooted from their rural homesteads and incarcerated in "protected villages"--actually similar to concentration camps. No one is allowed to leave or enter without close scrutiny. Women often have to leave their small children early in the morning to tend their distant fields and can't return to them until dark. Anyone delayed in returning is liable to be shot for breaking the curfew. Hundreds of men, women, and children have been killed for breaking curfew rules.

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