‘After hope has departed . . .’ – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 1st August 2020 PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 02 August 2020 18:36

https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/50176829523/sizes/z/

 

With police and soldiers patrolling the streets and the government warning that any demonstrations would be regarded as insurrection, the protests against corruption and poverty planned for 31st July passed comparatively quietly.

 

Perhaps this says more about the situation than anything else – except for the arrest of the novelist Tsitsi Dangarembga who, along with another protester, was bundled into a police lorry for carrying anti-government placards.

 

Dangarembga said the day before that the demonstrations were necessary because of the situation the country was in: ‘Every sector is disintegrating. Health, education, the economy. I am concerned for my safety. It would be naïve not to be because we have a very repressive regime.’

 

Her latest novel ‘This Mournable Body’ has been nominated for the highly-rated Booker Prize, whose organisers said: It ‘channels the hope and potential of one young girl and a fledgling nation to lead us on a journey to where lives go after hope has departed’. (See: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-53587651?intlink_from_url=https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/topics/cdnpj5jvgzgt/booker-prize&link_location=live-reporting-story).

 

The prominent journalist Hopewell Chin’ono, who was arrested earlier, said in a letter from prison that he refused to be part of the ‘stay positive’ brigade. ‘That nonsense of being asked to stay positive when there is nothing to be positive about is what made this country the absolute Shit Hole it is today!’ he wrote.

 

‘We have no clean running water, no electric power, no jobs, no money, no political will to Reform from Emmerson Mnangagwa, no fuel, we have CORRUPTION galore, no health care, nepotism and mismanagement of State institutions continues, looting of State and national resources also continues unabated, fraud by the political elites remains standard.

 

‘I have chosen to be on the right side of history . . . to be with the people . . . when I could have been with the tormentors making millions like what the Regime Associates do daily . . . I know the price for speaking against a gangster State, but more importantly, I also know the huge price for keeping quiet.’ (See: https://zwnews.com/hopewell-chinonos-letter-from-prison-full-text/).

 

Other Points:

  • Zanu PF’s spokesman Patrick Chinamasa called the United States Ambassador a ‘thug’ and accused him of funding the opposition protests with the aim of overthrowing the government (see: https://apnews.com/adf94a220f153e1ba8b1163d20a1b5fa).
  • With medical staff on strike because of bad pay and poor working conditions, seven babies were stillborn in a single night at the main hospital in Harare. Only one of the eight mothers in the ward left with her baby alive.
  • The leading MDC MP Tendai Biti has dismissed as a fraud the government’s offer of US $3.5 billion to compensate white farmers thrown off their land. He asked where the money would come from and said it was probable the West would be asked to finance it.
  • The MDC in the UK held a well-attended protest outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London on 31st July in sympathy with the protests in Zimbabwe. Vigil activists attended. For photos check: https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/albums/72157715321482308.
  • Because of the coronavirus we can no longer physically meet outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London, so we have a virtual Vigil while the lockdown continues. We ask our activists to put on Vigil / ROHR / Zimbabwe regalia and take a photo of themselves holding an appropriate poster reflecting our protest against human rights abuses in Zimbabwe. The photos are uploaded on our Flickr site (see: https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/albums/72157715321715876). Our virtual Vigil activists today were Chido Makawa, Simbarashe Jingo and Cynthia Chibanda who all kindly contributed to Vigil funds.

 

Events and Notices:

  • ROHR’s Fundraising Walk for Freedom. Saturday 29th August . A 20 mile walk starting at Redbridge Station at 9 am and finishing at the Zimbabwe Embassy in London. For more information, contact: Esther Munyira 07492058107, Rangarirai Chivaviro 07378429599 and Benjamin Molife 07490909900.
  • The Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) is the Vigil’s partner organization based in Zimbabwe. ROHR grew out of the need for the Vigil to have an organization on the ground in Zimbabwe which reflected the Vigil’s mission statement in a practical way. ROHR in the UK actively fundraises through membership subscriptions, events, sales etc to support the activities of ROHR in Zimbabwe. Please note that the official website of ROHR Zimbabwe is http://www.rohrzimbabwe.org/. Any other website claiming to be the official website of ROHR in no way represents us.
  • The Vigil’s book ‘Zimbabwe Emergency’ is based on our weekly diaries. It records how events in Zimbabwe have unfolded as seen by the diaspora in the UK. It chronicles the economic disintegration, violence, growing oppression and political manoeuvring – and the tragic human cost involved. It is available at the Vigil. All proceeds go to the Vigil and our sister organisation the Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe's work in Zimbabwe. The book is also available from Amazon.
  • Facebook pages:

         Vigil: https://www.facebook.com/zimbabwevigil

         ROHR: https://www.facebook.com/Restoration-of-Human-Rights-ROHR-Zimbabwe-International-370825706588551/

         ZAF: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Zimbabwe-Action-Forum-ZAF/490257051027515

 
All signs bad – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 25th July 2020 PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 26 July 2020 15:55

The arrest of prominent journalist Hopewell Chin’ono and the political leader Jacob Ngarivhume has received wide international coverage, exposing the desperation of the Mnangagwa regime as Zimbabwe faces collapse.

 

They were taken into custody on Monday but only appeared in court on Friday, when they were accused of incitement to public violence for supporting proposed demonstrations against corruption and poverty planned for 31 July. Both men were denied bail pending trial next month.

 

Observers noted the irony that most violence at opposition protests has been meted out by the police or army not the demonstrators.

 

Human rights lawyer Doug Coltart, who is representing Chin’ono, said: ‘We disagree with the magistrate’s ruling and his findings. He did not engage in particular with the evidence laid before him by the investigating officer who admitted there was nothing in the tweets that formed the basis of the charge to incite violence. We will be appealing against the ruling.’ (See: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jul/24/zimbabwean-journalist-calls-for-fight-against-corruption-to-continue.)

 

Before being taken back to prison Chin’ono, who had written articles exposing corruption, said: ‘Basically, this means journalism has been criminalised. The struggle against corruption should continue. People should not stop, they should carry on.’

 

Amnesty International agreed, saying the arrests were ‘designed to intimidate and send a chilling message to journalists, whistleblowers and activists who draw attention to matters of public interest in Zimbabwe’.

 

The United Nations also expressed concern that the coronavirus pandemic was being used as a pretext to clampdown on fundamental human rights. It said: ‘Merely calling for a peaceful protest or participating in a peaceful protest are an exercise of recognised human rights.’

 

Following the arrest of the two men, a number of other human rights activists have gone into hiding, including Job Sikhala, Deputy National Chair of the MDC Alliance. He said his family were under 24-hour surveillance by security agents (see: https://www.thezimbabwemail.com/main/zimbabwe-protest-organisers-goes-into-hiding/).

 

Despite everything, the government maintains that the economy will soon improve. However, according to Fitch’s economic research agency, Zimbabwe is the riskiest country in the southern African region (see: https://bulawayo24.com/index-id-news-sc-national-byo-189322.html).

 

Other Points:

  • We were very sorry to hear that ROHR Co-ordinator Jonathan Kariwoh’s mother had passed away. Our condolences to Jonathan at this time, made more difficult because it is so hard for families to grieve together during the pandemic.
  • Because of the coronavirus we can no longer physically meet outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London, so we have a virtual Vigil while the lockdown continues. We ask our activists to put on Vigil / ROHR / Zimbabwe regalia and take a photo of themselves holding an appropriate poster reflecting our protest against human rights abuses in Zimbabwe. The photos are uploaded on our Flickr site.
  • For Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website.

 

Events and Notices:

  • ROHR’s Fundraising Walk for Freedom. Saturday 29th August . A 20 mile walk starting at Redbridge Station at 9 am and finishing at the Zimbabwe Embassy in London. For more information, contact: Esther Munyira 07492058107, Rangarirai Chivaviro 07378429599 and Benjamin Molife 07490909900.
  • The Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) is the Vigil’s partner organization based in Zimbabwe. ROHR grew out of the need for the Vigil to have an organization on the ground in Zimbabwe which reflected the Vigil’s mission statement in a practical way. ROHR in the UK actively fundraises through membership subscriptions, events, sales etc to support the activities of ROHR in Zimbabwe. Please note that the official website of ROHR Zimbabwe is http://www.rohrzimbabwe.org/. Any other website claiming to be the official website of ROHR in no way represents us.
  • The Vigil’s book ‘Zimbabwe Emergency’ is based on our weekly diaries. It records how events in Zimbabwe have unfolded as seen by the diaspora in the UK. It chronicles the economic disintegration, violence, growing oppression and political manoeuvring – and the tragic human cost involved. It is available at the Vigil. All proceeds go to the Vigil and our sister organisation the Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe's work in Zimbabwe. The book is also available from Amazon.
  • Facebook pages:
 
Khupe exposed – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 18th July 2020 PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 19 July 2020 14:08

https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/50128215608/sizes/m/

 

The extent to which the so-called MDC leader Thokozani Khupe has sold out to Zanu PF is exposed in documents seen by Zimlive.

 

Khupe and 20 other fringe candidates altogether gained less than 5% of the vote in the 2018 presidential election, which the military-controlled electoral commission claimed was won by Mnangagwa with 50.67% of the vote, ahead of Nelson Chamisa with 44.39%.

 

Although she personally gained only 45,000 votes in the election, Zanu PF have gone to great lengths to portray her as the legitimate MDC leader in succession to the late Morgan Tsvangirai, diverting state funding to her minority MDC faction.

 

Zimlive says she was due to lead a delegation to the United States in March from the Zanu PF-created Political Actors’ Forum (POLAD), which has been boycotted by Chamisa. The trip was cancelled because of the coronavirus outbreak.

 

The Zimlive documents show how a public relations firm hired by the government to improve its image in Washington lobbied American officials and lawmakers on Khupe’s behalf.

 

The firm described the POLAD team as ‘a truly diverse and representative delegation comprised of 17 of the political parties of Zimbabwe. As such, it represents the vast majority of Zimbabwe’s citizens as well as the vast majority of opposition parties, including leaders who put their lives on the line fighting for the ouster of the former tyrannical president Robert Mugabe.’

 

The documents include letters from Khupe to Tibor Nagy the top US diplomat for Africa in which she gave full backing to Mnangagwa’s regime, claiming it was ‘a new day in Zimbabwe’. She insisted that POLAD represented ‘a majority of Zimbabweans electorally’.

 

Zimlive says Khupe was intent on taking up Zanu PF”s sanctions grievance with US officials, ‘letting slip’ in one of her letters that Zanu PF officials were angry that they were unable to open bank accounts in the US and other countries (see: https://www.zimlive.com/2020/07/16/lobbying-firm-paid-by-zimbabwe-does-khupes-bidding-in-washington/).

 

The extent to which Zanu PF has corrupted civil society is shown by the abject attitude of Jimayi Muduvuri, described by the Herald as ‘patron’ of the Zimbabwe Amalgamated Council of Churches. He condemned demonstrations planned by the opposition for 31st July saying that they ignored the threat posed by Covid-19 and claimed that opposition demonstrations often ended in violence. Muduvuri did not criticize the planned anti-sanctions demonstration by Zanu PF planned for the same day (see:https://www.herald.co.zw/just-in-churches-condemn-demos/).

 

Other Points:

 

Events and Notices:

  • ROHR’s Fundraising Walk for Freedom. Saturday 29th August . A 20 mile walk starting at Redbridge Station at 9 am and finishing at the Zimbabwe Embassy in London. For more information, contact: Esther Munyira 07492058107, Rangarirai Chivaviro 07378429599 and Benjamin Molife 07490909900.
  • The Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) is the Vigil’s partner organization based in Zimbabwe. ROHR grew out of the need for the Vigil to have an organization on the ground in Zimbabwe which reflected the Vigil’s mission statement in a practical way. ROHR in the UK actively fundraises through membership subscriptions, events, sales etc to support the activities of ROHR in Zimbabwe. Please note that the official website of ROHR Zimbabwe is http://www.rohrzimbabwe.org/. Any other website claiming to be the official website of ROHR in no way represents us.
  • The Vigil’s book ‘Zimbabwe Emergency’ is based on our weekly diaries. It records how events in Zimbabwe have unfolded as seen by the diaspora in the UK. It chronicles the economic disintegration, violence, growing oppression and political manoeuvring – and the tragic human cost involved. It is available at the Vigil. All proceeds go to the Vigil and our sister organisation the Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe's work in Zimbabwe. The book is also available from Amazon.
  • Facebook pages:

 

 
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