The Rudd Concession: A big fraud


THE colonial story goes that the British arch imperialist, Cecil John Rhodes struck an agreement called the ‘Rudd Concession’ with the late Ndebele King Lobengula which gave the British authority to colonise Zimbabwe.
The story further says that King Lobengula gave authority to the British to colonise the whole of Zimbabwe because he Lobengula was the paramount ruler of the whole country and the British colonial authorities recognised him as such.
It is the aim of this article to show that the so-called Rudd Concession was a complete fraud.
That in fact, the British colonial authorities knew that King Lobengula was not the paramount ruler of Zimbabwe.
And so once they set out to physically occupy and colonise Zimbabwe, they totally ignored the Rudd Concession and went on to enter into new, but fraudulent concessions with the various Shona chiefs who really mattered in the areas they wanted to settle.
To start with let us look at the Rudd Concession itself.
In public, the British colonial authorities said they had secured an agreement with King Lobengula wherein they were given a blank cheque to colonise Zimbabwe. However, this pronouncement by the British was meant to ward off their fellow European colonial competitors from colonising Zimbabwe for after all, Zimbabwe was then a married woman to the colonial British master courtesy of the Rudd Concession!
A closer look at the Rudd Concession will show that it was a mere fraudulent document.
For example, King Lobengula never ever discussed nor negotiated a single term in the fraudulent Rudd Concession with the British.
Not once.
The Rudd Concession was a pure figment of imagination of the British colonial mind without any truth in fact.
Picture this.
An agreement to give away a whole country as rich as Zimbabwe is, is reached without the person said to have the authority to give away the country ever taking part in the negotiations from start to finish.
Furthermore, a document arising out of the so-called agreement is taken by Cecil John Rhodes to his British government to enable him to get authority to colonise Zimbabwe, but that document hasn’t the main signatory’s signature!
Yes, the document that enabled Rhodes to get the royal charter, has no Lobengula signature.
Not even the silly ‘X’ signature.
On top of this, Lobengula never got a steamboat as promised in the Rudd Concession etc.
Now if you want a fraudulent document here you have it in the form of the Rudd Concession.
And to show that the Rudd Concession was crafted purely for window dressing purposes, once the British colonial forces set out to colonise Zimbabwe, they decided to enter into other fraudulent concessions with various Shona chiefs. Below we describe some of the fraudulent Concessions that were made up and down our country by the British.
When the English Pioneer settlers reached Runde River on August 1 1890, Chief Chivi at the time barred them from crossing into his country resulting in their leader Colonel Pennefather asking the man who was leading them F.C Selous to negotiate a fraudulent concession with the chief.
“On August 3, the day the column reached the Runde River, Colquhoun wrote to the BSA company’s secretary at Kimberly the question of Chibi’s independence (from Lobengula) has been raised by Selous, and Pennefather intends to execute a treaty with him.”
Yes, indeed a concession was finally reached between the British and Chief Chivi, but that concession was kept very secret.
When the pioneers reached Chivhu, Dr Starr Jameson who was Cecil John Rhodes’ representative on the Pioneer Column, in the company of F.C. Selous and one A Colguhn left the rest of the so-called Pioneers on their way to Harare and went to King Mutasa entered into concession which sounded exactly like the Rudd Concession.
“Colguhn concluded a treaty with Chief Mutasa which gave all the mineral and agricultural rights in Manicaland to the BSA company.
“In exchange, the company undertakes to provide Mutasa with protection from the Portuguese and an annual payment in gold of a hundred pounds.”
While still in Manicaland, we come to the concession which Dr Jameson went to make with Chief Ngungunyana of Gaza in the Chipinge area.
It was at the beginning of 1891.
“Jameson took two companions with him: Moodie a miner and Doyle the interpreter.
“For this concession, Ngungunyana was to be offered a thousand rifles, twenty thousand rounds of ammunition and £500 a year.”
The fraudulent concession was obtained, but the terms of the concession were never met.
Don’t forget these concessions were drawn up simply to fool the African.
We leave Manicaland and go to Mashonaland East.
F.C. Selous once again comes to the fore.
Selous tells us the story of the concession he struck with Chief Mtoko by way of a report he produced after his journey to Mtoko.
Here are the highlights.
“To his honour the Administrator of Mashonaland.
“Sir, I have the honour to report that on December 19 1890, I left Fort Salisbury in order to conclude the negotiations opened with Mutoko paramount Chief of the Mabudja during the previous month to get a mineral concession from him in favour of the British South Africa Company and at the same time to obtain his signature to a treaty of alliance with the British in Mashonaland.
“I travelled with a wagon and was accompanied by Mr. W. l. Armstrong.
“After arriving in the area, I held many meetings with large numbers of the elders to whom I had to explain the purport of my mission.
“I then met Mutoko and interviewed him.”
Selous then went on to say that he convinced Mutoko to sign a concession with him.
“He (Mutoko) then placed his hand on mine while I wrote his name and made the ‘X’ as his hand was too old and shaky to actually handle the pen site and Kalimazondo then made crosses as witnesses for Mutoko with Mr Armstrong and William Hokogazi did the same on behalf of the company and the treaty between Mutoko and the British South Africa company was concluded.”
It is also important to note that F.C. Selous had earlier on before the English occupied Zimbabwe, made a concession in Mazowe District, in Mashonaland central province with Chief Mapondera.
That concession was meant to try and keep the Portuguese out of Zimbabwe, you see.
The British wrote many fraudulent concessions with various Zimbabwe chiefs and the Rudd Concession was not the only one.
From the above it is quite clear that the Rudd Concession was a fraudulent document which was never used by the British once they entered Zimbabwe. Other fraudulent concessions were crafted which were like the Rudd Concession and were meant to give the wrong impression that the British were gentlemen who played by the rules yet in reality, they were meant to lull the local people into sleep and when they woke up, their country was gone.


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