Embassy Vigil resumes – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 31st July 2021 PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 01 August 2021 17:48

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Today was the Vigil’s first meeting outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in more than sixteen months because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Vigil Co-ordinator Ephraim Tapa says there was a unique sense of excitement and positive energy from those who attended. Activists enjoyed catching up with one another while they helped set up, man the table in turns, hand out flyers and sing.

 

Ephraim went on to say: ‘We were encouraged by passers-by who stopped to sign our petitions and show interest in our campaign. Activists shared their sad experiences and frustration around the pandemic, as well as expressing their relief to be back at the Embassy to at least do something about the sad human rights situation in Zimbabwe.’

 

Comments from the activists:

  • Deborah Harry – it’s great to be back to play our part in the fight for freedom as those at home cannot do so without putting their lives in danger.
  • Casper Nyamakura – echoed Deborah’s sentiments and added that the absence of the Vigil protest voice could easily be misconstrued as to suggest  the Zimbabwe crisis was over.
  • Jonathan Kariwo – encouraged members to ensure regular attendance if the Vigil and ROHR were to remain relevant.
  • Richard Munyama, Philip Maponga and others – vowed to scale up the campaign to rid Zimbabwe of its corrupt and cruel rulers. ‘A lot more needs to be done’, they agreed.

 

Ephraim concluded: ‘There was general agreement that the Vigil and ROHR should only stand in solidarity with its activists and asylum seekers as their lives would be in danger if returned to Zimbabwe. It was also agreed to mount the Vigil outside the Zimbabwe Embassy fortnightly while we monitor the Covid situation. Members would be free to participate virtually on the Saturdays the Vigil did not meet outside the  Embassy.’

 

Thanks to those who met today: Mercy Bayipayi, Farayi Chikowore, Blessing Harry, Deborah Harry, Jonathan Kariwo, Philip Maponga, Richard Munyama, Casper Nyamakura and Ephraim Tapa. For photos of today’s Vigil, check: https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/albums/72157719625749311.

 

Other Points:

  • Another report, this time by Afrobarometer, said three-quarters of Zimbabweans would prefer a national dialogue embracing all stakeholders rather than President Mnangagwa’s Political Actors’ Dialogue, which the main MDC party of Nelson Chamisa has refused to join.
  • HARARE provincial development co-ordinator Tafadzwa Muguti has banned all non-governmental organisations  and private voluntary organisations which defied a directive to report to him. He said the government would unleash law enforcement officers against those that defied the ban. (See: https://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/govt-bans-defiant-ngos/.)
  • The virtual Vigil also ran today. This was started because of the Covid-19 restrictions and 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: https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/albums/72157719625749311. Our virtual Vigil activist today was Dambudzo Marimira  who kindly contributed to Vigil funds.
  • For all Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website.

 

Notices:

  • The next Zimbabwe Vigil. Saturday 14th August from 2 – 5 pm outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London.
  • The Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) is the Vigil’s partner organisation based in Zimbabwe. ROHR grew out of the need for the Vigil to have an organisation 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
 
Disquiet over deportations – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 24th July 2021 PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 25 July 2021 14:33

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Even after discounting the more questionable assertions by campaigners, disquieting questions remain about the deportation of 14 Zimbabweans from the UK last Wednesday.

 

The UK Home Secretary Priti Patel – haunted by her failure to curb illegal immigration – said the deportees had all been jailed for offences such as murder, rape, sexual abuse of children and robbery. It is difficult to challenge her decision in these cases (see: https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/51334235813/sizes/l/).

 

Patel said they had all been given the opportunity to raise asylum and human rights claims and that they were not at risk on return to Zimbabwe. Here the Home Secretary is on less secure grounds. She referred to ‘country of origin information’: this is an assessment of the situation by the Foreign Office which some people, including the Vigil, dispute in the case of Zimbabwe.

 

One prospective deportee succeeded in getting a last-minute High Court order preventing his removal. In his case the judge decided that anyone subjected to face to face interviews with Zimbabwean officials before being sent back could be at risk on return. These contentious interviews with Zimbabwean Embassy officials have been a matter of concern to Zimbabwean refugees for some time – reflected in the judge’s decision (see: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/zimbabwe-deportation-removal-home-office-uk-b1886446.html).

 

We understand that no one can be deported from the UK unless their country of origin will accept them and that it is quite legitimate for the UK Embassy in Harare to have talks about this with the Zimbabwean government. But we are disturbed by suggestions that not only blatant criminals will be sent back but also others.

 

Whatever the Foreign Office thinks, the Vigil does not believe that Zimbabwe is a safe place and we support the 75 British parliamentarians who signed a letter drafted by the All-Party Group on Zimbabwe raising concerns about what they say is a deteriorating political and human rights situation there. In a letter to the Home Secretary they wrote: ‘The Zimbabwe government is systematically oppressing its political opponents, denying freedom of speech and committing gross human rights violations.’ (See: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2021/jul/22/legal-bids-mean-uk-deportation-flight-to-zimbabwe-takes-off-just-one-third-full.)

 

In Zimbabwe, a spokesman for the Foreign Affairs ministry, Livit Mugejo, said the deportees were welcome home and would receive help with reintegration (see: https://www.herald.co.zw/uk-deports-zimbabwean-ex-convicts/.)

 

Other Points:

  • GOOD NEWS! After not meeting since 14th March 2020 because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the actual Vigil is starting up again. We hope to see many fellow activists outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London on Saturday 31st July from 2 – 5 pm.  We have missed each other – it will be wonderful to catch up with everyone. It is still to be decided how often we will meet and on the Saturdays we don’t meet physically we will continue the virtual Vigil. This was started because of the Covid-19 restrictions and 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: https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/albums/72157719599006147. Our virtual Vigil activists today were Dambudzo Marimira and Grace Munyanyi who both kindly contributed to Vigil funds.
  • The UK has blocked the assets here of the Zimbabwean businessman Kudakwashe Tagwireyi, a close ally of President Mnangagwa. a government statement said he had also been banned from travelling here as part of Britain’s global anti-corruption sanctions targeting ‘corrupt individuals who have lined their own pockets through misappropriation, with their greed causing untold damage to the countries and communities they exploit’. (See: https://apnews.com/article/africa-health-zimbabwe-coronavirus-pandemic-harare-e8d528348b009be9d904b293f76143b7.)
  • For Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website.

 

Notices:

  • The first Vigil since lockdown started. Saturday 31st July from 2 – 5 pm outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London.
  • The Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) is the Vigil’s partner organisation based in Zimbabwe. ROHR grew out of the need for the Vigil to have an organisation 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

 
Mandela’s dream becomes nightmare – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 17th July 2021 PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 18 July 2021 15:01

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After decades of crony capitalism and misrule by the ANC, South Africa appeared last week to be sliding into anarchy. The poor were plundering what they could and pointing the finger at their leaders, who have stolen much more, says the distinguished South African journalist R W Johnson in an article in the London Times.

 

More than two hundred people died and many more were injured in a week of looting and destruction in the country’s economic heartland of Gauteng (including Johannesburg and Pretoria) and KwaZulu-Natal (which includes the country’s two biggest ports, Durban and Richards Bay).

 

Hundreds of shopping malls, supermarkets, warehouses and factories were burnt down, with the police reluctant to intervene. Armed vigilantes are guarding many suburbs. The situation quietened only when the government deployed 25,000 troops.

 

Johnson says this huge failure can only be blamed on the African National Congress, which has been in power for 27 years. ‘The party is deeply corrupt, its ministers inept and incompetent, and many of its policies are damaging the economy. The party is riven by factionalism with President Ramaphosa’s moderates opposed by the former president Jacob Zuma’s left-wing kleptocrats.

 

‘The explosion of violence followed the jailing of Zuma for his flagrant contempt of court, after he had refused to co-operate with the inquiry into the looting of the state under his presidency. Nobody seriously doubts that Zuma stole millions, probably billions, of rands and he still faces charges of racketeering, money-laundering and sundry other crimes. But Zuma, still supported by his Zulu followers, threatened to make the country ungovernable if the government dared to jail him.

 

‘The rioting began as Zuma’s followers, urged on by his children and, doubtless, by Zuma himself, sought to fulfil this threat. Former members of the state security services who played such a key role in his presidency helped plan the sabotage campaign — they are now on the run. Zuma has always had strong connections into criminal networks via his relatives in the taxi industry, and these have clearly been active too.

 

‘The campaign began with the hijacking and burning of lorries. The police, scared and ineffective, watched but did nothing. Next came the looting and burning of a few shops. Again the police did nothing. Word spread that you could go “shopping without money”, creating huge excitement among the ranks of the millions of poor and unemployed Zulus who inhabit the townships and squatter camps around Durban and Pietermaritzburg. From there word spread quickly into every small town of the province.

 

‘Most of the looters were unconcerned about Zuma’s fate: they simply realised that opportunity was staring them in the face. They flocked to the shopping malls and began to loot them. Quickly the spree spread to Johannesburg, home to many more Zulus, though many others joined in. Most of the looters were poor, on foot and took away their loot in supermarket trolleys, but some arrived in cars, sometimes very expensive cars. Some even came with vast trailers to haul away freezers, fridges and cookers. Huge queues of cars swamped the freeways, all heading for the malls, and other forms of criminality blossomed — protection rackets, attacks on and thefts from other motorists, anything that offered a quick buck.’

 

Far from improving the situation of black South Africans, the ANC has made the country the most unequal in the world, with the governing elite far richer than the apartheid government, the unemployed and poor being largely ignored. Youth unemployment is about 70%.

 

You can read Johnson’s full article on this link: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/1153-orgy-of-looting-and-corruption-has-destroyed-mandelas-dream. We also draw your attention to Cathy Buckle’s latest article giving a Zimbabwean perspective on the South African crisis (see: https://www.thezimbabwean.co/2021/07/oh-south-africa/).

 

Other Points:

  • Because of the coronavirus we can no longer physically meet outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London, so we have a virtual Vigil while the restrictions continue. 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: https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/albums/72157719556160879. Our virtual Vigil activists today were Jacob Mandipira and Margaret Manenge who both kindly contributed to Vigil funds.
  • For Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website.

 

Notices:

  • The Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) is the Vigil’s partner organisation based in Zimbabwe. ROHR grew out of the need for the Vigil to have an organisation 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

 
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