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Ian Smith (1919 – 2007)


Farmer and politician who served as Prime Minister of Rhodesia from 1964 to 1979.
Ian Smith
We had the highest standard of health and education and housing for our black people than any other country on the African continent. That was what Rhodesians did. I wonder if we shouldn't be given credit for doing that.
Smith quotes
Pushing people forward simply because of their colour, irrespective of merit, would be most unfortunate and would of course lead to disaster. It would mean that Rhodesia would then develop into a kind of banana republic where the country would in no time be bankrupt.
Smith
[Robert Mugabe] was a very clever bloke and he worked with me for as long as he thought it was going to help him. Once again, it was just to keep himself in power. I give that answer to all questions about Mugabe because that is all there is to it. Everything he has ever done is about keeping himself in power: Dictators and fascists all over the world think like that.




Smith Ian quotes
Today is not such a tremendous day for us Rhodesians. We made our decision to become a Republic quite a long while ago, and this is simply the process of formalizing it. Our Independence Day is the great day. Rhodesia did not want to seize independence from Britain. It was forced upon us.
Smith Ian
Africa is a continent which is subject to a great deal of friction and argument and change; that's [true] of the world generally but more so Africa than anywhere else. So because of that we live in hope, we think that the people in the end will say "We've had enough".
Ian Smith quotes
Ian Smith lived an exemplary family life and in private was a down-to-earth, modest man. Ian Smith was not corrupt nor was he a megalomaniac. However whilst Ian Smith acted in what he thought were the best interests of then Rhodesia he made some disastrous political decisions as Prime Minister which directly contributed to the trauma that Zimbabwe is suffering from today... The policies of his Rhodesia Front party radicalized black nationalists and directly spawned the violent and fascist rule of Zanu PF.
Ian Smith
So [things have] gradually and gradually [gotten] worse and worse until the country is absolutely on the rocks now, and the people are suffering. And this is our hope, because so many people are suffering, have been persecuted and have been told "Get into line, or else", and they know what 'or else' means.
Smith Ian quotes
Ian Smith was a formidable opponent, but he lacked any vision. We offered him much better terms at the Fearless and Tiger talks than anything he is going to get now. He held out too long, for too much, and is going to end up with nothing.
Smith
I would be dishonest if I did not state quite clearly that the proposals which were put to us in Pretoria do not represent what in our view would be the best solution to Rhodesia's problems.
Smith Ian
The roads that we are using today were all built by Smith. All the infrastructure is Smith’s. We never suffered the way we are suffering now because Smith took care of the economy that supported all people and they had enough to eat. When he left power the [British] pound was on a par with the Zimbabwean dollar, but President Mugabe has killed all that.
Ian Smith
To begin with, things [after Independence in 1980] went well because [Robert] Mugabe was no fool. He realised [that] it was important to maintain the economy and keep the country expanding. And in any case he was committed to do that by the Lancaster House Agreement which said that there could be no change in [the existing status] for at least seven years unless [he] could get 100% support [from] all the people. In no ways would he have been able to get the support of the white members of Parliament, and also the Matabeles. So we were satisfied that what we were doing was in keeping with the traditions and culture and what was expected of us, and Mugabe used to thank me for coming to see him, [giving] him the benefit of my advice and [telling] him what the white people were thinking. But he only did this for a while because he inherited the best economy in Africa. It was viable. And after two years he quickly changed his mind because he had a lot of money available. He had his [own] commanders in control because he had removed the white commanders who would have taken action against him if he had defied the Lancaster House Agreement before the seven-year [period]. He removed our commanders and put his commanders in so that he knew that he could defy this. And so he breached the Lancaster House Agreement.




Ian Smith quotes
Smith was being realistic-if you give people something before they are ready [for it] they are going to mess it up. And that has happened. If he had had the opportunity to work with the people [and] help bring them up, Zimbabwe would be a better place now. Smith did make it better during his government. There is no reason why he could not do that if he had been allowed to go on.
Ian Smith
Smith was misunderstood in a lot of ways. He is an African [and] understands the African mentality. It wasn't his problem what happened in Rhodesia. He came in [to power] in 1965 after Winston Field, so he was along the system that had been created. If you look at the development of Rhodesia, Smith contributed enormously [to] that. It didn't only benefit the whites, it benefited the blacks.
Smith quotes
To those who say derogatory things about colonialism, I would say colonialism is a wonderful thing. It spread civilization to Africa. Before it they had no written language, no wheel as we know it, no schools, no hospitals, not even normal clothing.
Smith Ian
Life's greatest lessons have come to me so late ... that a country can have political independence while its people are not free.
Smith Ian quotes
I am satisfied it has strengthened my hand tremendously. Nobody but a fool would disregard the kind of result we witnessed today.
Ian Smith
Let me say it again. I don't believe in black majority rule ever in Rhodesia, not in a thousand years. I repeat that I believe in blacks and whites working together. If one day it is white and the next day it is black, I believe we have failed and it will be a disaster for Rhodesia.
Ian Smith quotes
All the soul of man is resolution, which in valiant men falters never, until their last breath.
Ian Smith
What we believed in was responsible majority rule as opposed to irresponsible majority rule, and I stand by that. I think it's important that before you give a person a [right to] vote you ensure that his roots go down [and] that he's part of the whole structure of the country. So I stand by what I've said, and I think we can substantiate the fact that the things we did were to the benefit of the black people of our country more so than anybody else. And I challenge anybody to disagree with that.
Smith Ian
Smith had many fine qualities as a political leader. However, he was very much a creature of his background. His life revolved around the cricket team, the whites only school, the RAF, the country club and the company of other gentleman farmers. He never escaped from this or saw beyond it.


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