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Thread: Creating the Zimbabwe National Army

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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Mar 2006

    Default Creating the Zimbabwe National Army

    A 2014 PhD dissertation from Texas A&M found tonight, the full title is The 'New Model Armies of Africa: The British Military Advisory and Training Team and the creation of the Zimbabwe National Army. It could fit in other threads, notably on creating / working with partner armies for FID.

    It looks good, even if I only read one section on the pre-1980 historical context for BMATT's deployment. Well it is 365 pgs.

    In the 1980's UK officialdom, including the Army, frequently cited the BMATT as a success story; history now different and of course the ZNA emerged as ZANU-PF's army, not the nation's IMHO.

    The Abstract:
    The British Army provided military assistance missions for friendly nations throughout the 20th century. The majority deployed to Africa during the decolonization process. By 1980 London had thirty-five years of institutional knowledge on how to train armies in newly independent nations. Most notably in Kenya and Zambia, where the transition to independence was fraught with racial and economic difficulties. In 1979, after the conclusion of the Lancaster House Conference the British government was called upon to provide newly independent Zimbabwe with military training assistance. The British Military Advisory and Training Team helped combine three former belligerent armies into the Zimbabwe National Army. London intended to create a military force that reflected Britain’s own army and maintained a distance from domestic politics while serving as a bastion for Western military values and interests. While the British had both Kenya and Zambia to draw from as models, policymakers in London overestimated the cache of British power in a changing world. Rather than facilitating an effective transition to representative government in Zimbabwe, the British enabled the creation of a one-party state under Robert Mugabe. The fundamental misunderstanding on the part of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Ministry of Defence as to the expectations of developing nations and military assistance handicapped British policy goals in Southern Africa for the next two decades.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 12-26-2018 at 06:59 PM. Reason: 5,691v today

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