I have always held IDS close – and consider him a hero. I am saddened by his death, and I know that he is now with his beloved Janet.

“The cause of his death is unknown but he had been ill for some time at a residential home in South Africa.

He illegally declared independence from Britain in 1965 and his white minority government led the country for 14 years amid international scorn and sanctions.

Following a bitter bush war with black nationalists, his government was overthrown by Robert Mugabe in 1979, leading to the creation of Zimbabwe.

Speaking to the BBC in 1998 about his assumption of power, Mr Smith was adamant it was justified.

“There was good reason for what we did. We set up a committee of top civil servants and ministers on three different occasions to look at this and every time they came back and said we had no option.

“Had we not resorted to this the country would have degenerated into chaos and confusion,” he said.

Years of civil war followed the declaration of independence. Mr Smith denied this was caused by the actions of his regime.

“The civil war was caused by people who left our country and were brainwashed in Russia, in China.

“They were power hungry people who wanted to take their country over immediately and were not prepared to wait for the evolutionary process.”


Rest well, good sir…