Peter Tatchell's speech at the Zimbabwe Vigil's 15th anniversary PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 01 November 2017 22:12
To all Zimbabwe Vigil activists, supporters and friends

We are pleased to be able to share with you Peter Tatchell's speech made at the Zimbabwe Vigil's 15th anniversary on Saturday 14th October outside the the Zimbabwe Embassy in London (http://bit.ly/2zRnDSJ). Our thanks to Peter for his support and encouragement over the years.
 
Forward to the Past – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 28th October 2017 PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 29 October 2017 15:40

A Vigil emissary just returned from a clandestine visit home reports finding a fantasy world in Zimbabwe where the government pretends that all is well while sending agents to scour the streets to buy up the remaining dollars.

It’s not so much Back to the Future as Forward to the Past, with inflation expert Professor Steve Hanke of John Hopkins University in the United States saying Zimbabwe is again experiencing hyperinflation, returning to the dark days which culminated in the economic collapse of 2008. 

In a report published this week he estimates the current rate of inflation at 348%. The market price for a real US dollar is 70% more than the government’s bond notes (see: http://sites.krieger.jhu.edu/iae/files/2017/10/Zimbabwe%E2%80%99s-Hyperinflates-Again-Hanke-Bostrom-Cover-Page-Paper.pdf).

Professor Hanke said: ‘Zimbabwe, welcome back to the record books! You have once again entered the inglorious world of hyperinflation. It is a world of economic chaos, wrenching poverty and death.’

Our activist found a feeling of hopelessness wherever he went – in Harare, Bulawayo, Masvingo . . . ‘You look everywhere; you don’t see any hope’, he said. ‘People have lost faith in democracy under Zanu PF. Eighty percent say the elections won’t change anything. They focus on bread and butter issues, feeding the family.’

He continued: ‘The election is a non-event. There is a perception that opposition leaders are involved in business deals with Zanu PF and, anyway, people who do not support Zanu PF face all sorts of hurdles in registering to vote while Zanu PF has already registered its own people.’

‘The international community is happy. They have a good excuse for doing nothing. One foreign official told me that, for a conflict situation, Zimbabwe was peaceful, exuding normality. We like it here.’

Our emissary said those hoping for change must rely on a Eureka moment. The Vigil thinks this may well come with a total collapse of the economy.

No problem there. 

Other points

  • Comments on the Vigil’s 15th anniversary this month: Ben Freeth: You are all heroes! What an amazing record of tireless activity in speaking truth to power. Peter Tatchell: Congratulations! 15 years. What an astonishing achievement. Tony Reeler: You guys are exceptional. Wilf and Trish Mbanga of the Zimbabwean: Congratulations to you all! We salute your endurance and commitment.
  • For Sky News coverage of last week at the Vigil check: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kowV_LivfOA.
  • Thanks to those who arrived early to help set up: Mavis Chisvo, Jonathan Kariwo, Ndodana Maphosa, Roseline Mukucha, Alfredy Mukuvare, Eunice Mupandawana, Tonderai Musanhu, Shepherd Nyamandi, Tsitsi Nyirongo, Cecilliah Phiri, Elleriah Saili, Pearl Shambare and Knowledge Sibanda. Thanks to Roseline, Pearl, Mavis and Josephine for looking after the front table, to Patricia Nyamunda and Bianca Monica Mpawaenda for handing out flyers and selling wristbands and to Jonathan, Alfredy, Shepherd, Tonderai, Knowledge and Ndodana for putting up the banners.

 For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website. The facebook page for our sister organisation Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) (https://www.facebook.com/ROHR-Zimbabwe-Restoration-of-Human-Rights-301811392835) has been hijacked by destructive elements from a group calling itself ZHRO. Please be advised that any postings on this page are not posted by ROHR.

FOR THE RECORD: 37 signed the register.

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • ROHR National Executive meeting. Saturday 4th November from 11 am. Venue: The Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX.
  • ROHR Central London branch meeting. Saturday 18th November from 11.30 am – 1.30 pm. Venue: Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX. Contact: Daisy Fabian 07708653640, Maxmus Savanhu 07397809056, Sipho Ndlovu 07400566013.
  • 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 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.
  •  Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 11th November from 10 am to 1 pm outside the Swaziland High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.
  • The Vigil’s book ‘Zimbabwe Emergency’ is based on our weekly diaries. It records how events in Zimbabwe have unfolded over the past 15 years 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 for £10. All proceeds will go to the Vigil and our sister organisation the Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe's work in Zimbabwe. The book is also available on Amazon.
  • Zimbabwe Action Forum meets regularly after the Vigil to discuss ways to help those back in Zimbabwe to fight oppression and achieve true democracy.
  • Zimbabwe Yes We Can Movement holds meetings in London as the political face of ROHR and the Vigil.
  • Zimbabwe Vigil Highlights 2016 can be viewed on this link: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/843-zimbabwe-vigil-highlights-2016. Links to previous years’ highlights are listed on 2016 Highlights page.
  • 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
 
Mugabe’s brief success – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 21st October 2017 PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 22 October 2017 18:57

https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/37581303460/sizes/m/

The little-known Presidential Travel Committee (PTC) includes some of the most creative minds in Zanu PF. Apart from top presidential aides, its members include senior officials from the Reserve Bank and the Finance, Health, Foreign and Psychomotor ministries, as well, of course, as the Central Intelligence Organisation. 

The committee is in almost permanent session, alert to be convened at a moment’s notice when plans have to be changed suddenly. Then it’s a matter of brainstorming all night. One source told the Vigil: ‘Sometimes we don’t know from minute to minute where we are going or how we are to get there. But thankfully money is no problem.’

Such a moment occurred last week when Mugabe decided against going to the Russian city of Sochi for a youth meeting at which he was to be honoured for ‘fighting imperialism’. It was not because he is 93 years old that dissuaded him from going to the youth festival. It was because he discovered no one else would be there except kids. Grace could go instead.

It just shows how slickly the PTC operates that it was immediately able to discover from the UN website that an equally obscure meeting was being held at the same time – this one in South America, where there was every likelihood of some grownups being present.

The PTC certainly struck gold – even if only briefly. The occasion was a World Health Organisation conference in Montevideo, capital of Uruguay (population 3.5 million) called to discuss non-communicable diseases. Official Uruguayan sources said 22 health ministers were to be there, along with officials from other countries (see: http://www.plenglish.com/index.php?o=rn&id=19553&SEO=world-health-conference-in-uruguay-to-be-attended-by-94-countries).

It was enough for Mugabe to fly there with 80 or so flunkies in Air Zimbabwe’s remaining Boeing 767.

Overawed to have an actual president at the meeting to shake hands with host president Tabaré Vázquez, the new WHO boss, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who was apparently installed to reform the organisation, had the inspired idea of making Mugabe an honorary regional health ambassador.

Corks popped among the PTC members, conveniently all there on the trip. The honorary post is a non-event but the dopey WHO boss. who seems to be unaware of what is going on in Zimbabwe, unfortunately made laudatory comments on health provision in Zimbabwe – currently reliant on donor-funding. The remarks were immediately derided by people around the world who knew that Zimbabwe’s hospitals are broke and lack medicines.

With one of the three Air Zimbabwe Boeings out of commission the two Boeings needed to take the delegations to Russia and Uruguay seem to have meant that a third aircraft had to be chartered to take Grace Mugabe to China where, for unknown reasons, she wanted to stop over on her way to Sochi (see: https://www.newsday.co.zw/2017/10/mugabe-grace-bleed-zimbabwe-dry/).

Poor bankrupt Air Zimbabwe. and poor bankrupt Zimbabwe, where Mugabe’s air travel expenses far exceed all expenditure on health care, And poor WHO, which immediately faced threats from irate members to withhold their contributions.

The only bright spot for the WHO is that Grace didn’t go with her husband to Uruguay. Otherwise she might have been made honorary WHO ambassador for young female victims of violence by extension cords . . .

Other points

  • Sky News was at the Vigil to film Mugabe (played by Fungayi Mabhunu in our mask) opening a bottle of champagne to celebrate his brief appointment. They interviewed Fungayi and Daizy Fabian about their reaction to the appointment. Another of our activists Salani Mutseyami was interviewed for an article in the Daily Telegraph (see: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/10/20/zimbabwean-activists-condemn-absurdworld-health-organization/).
  • We were saddened to hear that our friend and fellow activist Yvonne Bonde had passed away. Thanks to Isabell Gwatidzo who made a collection for her. We are in contact with Yvonne’s family about how the money should be used.
  • Thanks to those who came early to help set up: Abigail Chidavayenzi, Tawanda Chitate, Daizy Fabian, Isabell Gwatidzo, Josephine Jombe, Jonathan Kariwo, Jane Katsonga, Sikhanyisiwe Kaziboni, Fungayi Mabhunu, Junior Madzimure, Alice Majola, Chido Makawa, Heather Makawa Chitate, David Makuyana, Theodora Mandishaya, Patricia Masamba, Nyarai Masvosva, Gladys Meck, Margaret Munenge, Patience Muyeye, Alberta Njenje, Tsitsi Nyirongo, Maxmus Savanhu and Sekai Seremwe. Thanks to Josephine, Patience, Patricia Masamba and Rumbidzayi Sambana for looking after the front table and to Daizy, Maxmus, Jonathan, Fungayi and Gladys for putting up the banners.

 For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website. The facebook page for our sister organisation Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) (https://www.facebook.com/ROHR-Zimbabwe-Restoration-of-Human-Rights-301811392835) has been hijacked by destructive elements from a group calling itself ZHRO. Please be advised that any postings on this page are not posted by ROHR.

FOR THE RECORD: 52 signed the register.

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 28th October from 10 am to 1 pm outside the Swaziland High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.
  • ROHR National Executive meeting. Saturday 4th November from 11 am. Venue: The Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX
  • ROHR Central London branch meeting. Saturday 18th November from 11.30 am – 1.30 pm. Venue: Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX. Contact: Daisy Fabian 07708653640, Maxmus Savanhu 07397809056, Sipho Ndlovu 07400566013.
  • 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 over the past 15 years 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 for £10. All proceeds will go to the Vigil and our sister organisation the Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe's work in Zimbabwe. The book is also available on Amazon.
  • Zimbabwe Action Forum meets regularly after the Vigil to discuss ways to help those back in Zimbabwe to fight oppression and achieve true democracy.
  • Zimbabwe Yes We Can Movement holds meetings in London as the political face of ROHR and the Vigil.
  • Zimbabwe Vigil Highlights 2016 can be viewed on this link: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/843-zimbabwe-vigil-highlights-2016. Links to previous years’ highlights are listed on 2016 Highlights page.
  • Facebook pages:
 
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Zimbabwe Vigil Highlights of 2010
Zimbabwe Vigil Highlights of 2009
Zimbabwe Vigil Highlights of 2008
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