The British ruled Zimbabwe, formerly known as Rhodesia, under direct rule for a period of 15 years, from 1965 to 1980. This was after the country’s white minority government declared independence unilaterally, in defiance of the British government.
The direct rule was imposed by the British government in an attempt to bring about a peaceful transition to majority rule in Zimbabwe. The British government appointed a governor, Sir Humphrey Gibbs, to rule the country. Gibbs was tasked with negotiating a settlement between the white minority government and the black majority.
The negotiations were difficult and protracted. The white minority government was reluctant to give up power, while the black majority was demanding majority rule. In 1979, the British government brokered a peace agreement between the two sides. This agreement led to the formation of a new government in Zimbabwe, led by Robert Mugabe.
The direct rule by the British was a controversial period in Zimbabwe’s history. Some people believe that it was necessary to bring about a peaceful transition to majority rule. Others believe that it was an unnecessary intervention that prolonged the conflict.
The British decided to use the system of Direct Rule in Zimbabwe because:
To acquire full control of the economy and to exploit the resources such as minerals and farmland for their own benefit
The British were primarily interested in exploiting the natural resources of Zimbabwe, such as its minerals and farmland. They believed that they could do this more effectively if they had direct control over the colony.
The British South Africa Company (BSAC), which was granted a royal charter to administer Rhodesia in 1889, was primarily interested in making a profit. The company’s administrators were more concerned with extracting minerals and other resources than they were with the welfare of the African population.
The British government also wanted to control the economy of Zimbabwe in order to ensure that it benefited the British Empire as a whole. The government believed that it could do this more effectively if it had direct control over the colony.
The traditional system of administration and indigenous political institutions such as the Indunas had been disrupted or destroyed during the British conquest of Zimbabwe
The British conquest of Zimbabwe was a brutal and destructive process. The British destroyed many of the traditional institutions of the African people, including the system of administration and the political institutions. This left a power vacuum that the British were eager to fill.
The British believed that they could not rely on the traditional chiefs to administer the colony. The chiefs had been weakened by the British conquest, and they were often seen as collaborators by the African people. The British also believed that they could not trust the chiefs to act in the best interests of the British Empire.
They wanted to ensure complete control over the African communities as a way of eliminating resistance
The British were concerned about the potential for resistance from the African population. They had seen how the Shona and Ndebele people had resisted the British conquest, and they were worried that they would continue to resist British rule.
The British believed that they could only achieve complete control over the African communities if they had direct rule. This would allow them to monitor the African population more closely and to suppress any potential resistance.
The British South Africa Company officials and the settlers who were familiar with the British system of administration helped to put in place the required administrative structures. There wasn’t the problem of lack of manpower
The BSAC had a number of experienced administrators who were familiar with the British system of administration. These administrators were able to help the British government to put in place the required administrative structures in Zimbabwe.
The BSAC also had a number of settlers who were willing to work for the British government. These settlers were familiar with the British way of life and were willing to help the British government to maintain control over the African population.
The British South Africa Company had enough funds to pay the administrators.
The BSAC was a wealthy company and had enough funds to pay the administrators who were needed to run the colony. This meant that the British government did not have to bear the cost of administration, which made direct rule more feasible.
The 1896-1897 Chimurenga uprising eroded British confidence in using traditional chiefs in the administration of the colony
The Chimurenga uprising was a major uprising against British rule in Zimbabwe. The uprising was led by the Shona and Ndebele people, and it was a major challenge to British authority.
The uprising led the British to lose confidence in the traditional chiefs. The chiefs had been unable to prevent the uprising, and they were seen as collaborators by the British. This led the British to decide that they could not rely on the traditional chiefs to administer the colony.
In conclusion, the British adopted direct rule in Zimbabwe for a number of reasons. These reasons included the desire to exploit the colony’s resources, the disruption of the traditional system of administration, the need to suppress resistance, and the availability of manpower and funds.