Send in the clowns – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 30th January 2021 PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 02 February 2021 12:02

When the Titanic was sinking and the lifeboats were being launched the ship’s captain sought first to protect the most vulnerable people: ‘women and children first’, he ordered.

 

When the UK began its Covid-19 vaccine inoculations two months ago it had already worked out its priority cases. People in care homes and those over 80 years old were top of the list along with front-line health workers most exposed to infection, to be followed by people over 70 and so on.

 

Some may ask: what use is someone taking up space in a care home or, for that matter, anyone over 80? Surely we should give the vaccine to important people? Well that is the choice made by President Mnangagwa’s regime: government ministers are to be vaccinated first, followed by MPs, top government officials and the military then front-line health workers.

 

Among the priority cases presumably is the Defence Minister Oppah Muchinguri who has embarrassed  the government by accusing our all-weather friend China of being responsible for the outbreak. She is a notorious loudmouth; last year she welcomed the spread of the virus in the US saying it was God’s punishment for imposing sanctions on Zimbabwe. (See: https://www.voanews.com/africa/zimbabwe-minister-accuses-china-manufacturing-covid-19.)

 

Muchinguri, who is also head of the cabinet taskforce on Covid-19, has however said she herself will not take any vaccine that is not developed in Zimbabwe. She may have a bit of wait as laboratories in Zimbabwe seem to be preoccupied with issuing fake Covid-19 test results bought by hopeful travellers. (See: https://www.timeslive.co.za/news/africa/2021-01-28-probe-into-fake-covid-19-test-result-claims-launched-in-zimbabwe/.)

 

Another priority case is the government’s information chief Nick Mangwana, who recently described doctors as ‘medical assassins’ – perhaps unwise if he is to bare his naked arm to one of them . . .

 

MDC Alliance Treasurer David Coltart said he was not surprised by the government’s priorities: ‘Cabinet ministers will get the Covid-19 vaccine first in Zimbabwe. No mention of the elderly or vulnerable. No mention of teachers so that children can get back to school. If true it doesn’t surprise me. Zanu PF are only interested in self-preservation.’ (See: https://www.thezimbabwean.co/2021/01/anger-over-govt-plan-to-only-give-vaccine-to-ministers-soldiers-mps-and-top-officials/.)

 

But the main question is when the third world will actually get vaccines in any quantity. The European Union is already freaking out over its failure to vaccinate enough of its own population because of a shortage of supplies.

 

The next few months will be a rocky time on the pandemic front but new vaccines are being approved and production is being rapidly scaled up. The Zimbabwean government will not get all supplies for nothing. It will have to find the money to buy some. Perhaps it should follow the advice of the former American state department official, Todd Moss, who says Zimbabwe should stop spending millions of dollars hiring public relations firms and lobbyists to try to change US policy. ‘It’s a complete waste of money and so I don’t expect to see those approaches bearing any fruits under the Biden administration.’ (See: https://www.newsday.co.zw/2021/01/us-sanctions-to-stay/.)

 

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.

 

Notices:

  • 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
 
Zimbabwean seeks refuge back home – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 23rd January 2021 PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 25 January 2021 18:09

https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/50867549582/sizes/m/

 

A young Zimbabwean woman who says her family ‘fled’ to the UK in 1996 has gone back to Zimbabwe, where she says she will be better off.

 

In a scathing attack on the British government, published in the UK’s Guardian newspaper, Michelle Kambasha a 28-year-old ‘publicist’, says Zimbabwe’s cautious handling of the pandemic has made it feel safer than Britain. ‘It’s no secret that England’s response to the coronavirus pandemic has been at best lacklustre and at worst fatal’, she said. In contrast, ‘many African countries, scarred by previous pandemics, realised quickly that there was very little room for error, and did what they needed to do . . . . governments like Zimbabwe’s did as much as they could.’

 

Ms Kambasha described the British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, as incompetent. ‘I felt no schadenfreude, but as I sat on my flight to the relative safety of an African country, I considered whether there were some lessons in humility to learn among an elite that projected such confidence in its ability to mount a “world-beating” response to the virus.’ (See: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/jan/18/family-fled-zimbabwe-covid-safer-england-government-pandemic.)

 

The Vigil disagrees and thinks the UK can indeed boast a ‘world-beating response to the virus’. Here are some facts: first vaccine announced in Germany 9th November; first country to approve the vaccine UK 2nd December; first country to get supplies UK 4th December; first country to begin vaccinations UK 8th December.

 

Within 6 weeks of vaccinations beginning the UK this week reached its target of 2 million vaccinations a week, bringing  total vaccinations so far to more than 6 million – many more than any other country in Europe. Prime Minister Johnson, competent or not, can be proud of these facts at least.

 

As far as competency goes, Ms Kambasha falls short herself. Despite saying her family had ‘fled’ Zimbabwe, she admits a few paragraphs later ‘My family moved to England as economic immigrants wanting to make a better life for their children . . . England offered education, amenities, healthcare and a stable government’.

 

They obviously did well because she goes on the say: ‘Ten years ago, we began going back to Zimbabwe every other Christmas.’ She tells of staying at a lodge just three hours outside Harare. ‘Our temperatures were checked every day and all staff and visitors, without exception, wore PPE (personal protective equipment) to ensure our safety.’

 

Ms Kambasha was happy going on a game drive. Perhaps now that she is living back in Zimbabwe she might like to show some humility herself and go to Chitungwiza to meet some ordinary people struggling to survive amid the rapidly worsening Covid-19 pandemic which has carried off 2 cabinet ministers in 48 hours.

 

The suffering people of Zimbabwe could do with a publicist (See: https://www.voanews.com/covid-19-pandemic/zimbabweans-blame-government-covid-19-deaths-officials).

 

Other Points:

  • This week the UK’s National Health Service sent out letters inviting more people to book their free vaccine injections for Covid-19. The letters were not only in English but in Arabic, Bengali, Spanish, Farsi, Gujerati, Hindi, Kurdish, Nepali, Punjabi, Polish, Romanian, Somali, Albanian, Tagalog, Urdu and Chinese. The UK has already donated £548 million to the World Health Organisation which is to provide vaccines to 92 developing countries. The UK has offered 3 million vaccines to Zimbabwe. Zimbabweans in the UK will have contributed to the cost of this through their taxes.
  • 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/72157718011034607. Our virtual Vigil activists today were Deborah Harry, Shylette Chipangura and Dudzai Mukondorongwe who all kindly contributed to Vigil funds.

 

Notices:

  • 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

 
Zimbabwe’s contradictions – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 16th January 2021 PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 17 January 2021 13:18

https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/50844380781/sizes/m/

 

Zanu PF’s attitude has always been do as we say not as we do. Freshly returned to lockdown Zimbabwe from medical treatment in China, Vice President and Health Minister Chiwenga dismissed suggestions that Covid-19 is out of control even though it’s reckoned that a person is dying in Zimbabwe every hour from the disease.

 

Against all evidence, he said that public health facilities were not yet strained and accused social media of propagating lies that there were not enough hospital beds. He insisted that there were enough beds to accommodate serious cases, maintaining that 85% of people affected were in ‘self-isolation’!

 

‘However, if the need arises in future, my ministry may consider options of increasing facilities currently designated for Covid-19 or designate more hospitals to take in patients’.

 

Despite a surge in serious cases, Chiwenga indicated that he was taking a cautious approach to vaccinating people against the virus.

 

Medical experts have expressed fears that the country is ill-prepared for the new wave of infections, with supplies of medical oxygen running out and a dire shortage of intensive care facilities. Doctors for Human Rights said the country only had 30 intensive care beds (see: https://www.newsday.co.zw/2021/01/covid-19-under-control-chiwenga/).

 

Another Zanu PF us against them attitude is shown by the release on bail of Mining Federation president Henrietta Rushwaya, a party stalwart, who was arrested at Harare airport trying to smuggle 6 kilograms of gold worth US$330,000 to Dubai (see: https://www.newsday.co.zw/2021/01/rushwaya-granted-bail-2/).

 

Rushwaya had contacts at the heart of Zanu PF but opponents of the regime are routinely refused bail even when facing flimsy charges.

 

Rushwaya was a strong candidate for our fraud of the week but the award goes to Florence Chimbumu, a top manager of the Zimbabwe Council for Higher Education. Her qualification for the job turned out to be a single O Level pass but she had produced a forged certificate showing 5 passes, as well as diplomas in accounts and secretarial studies and a higher national diploma in office management.

 

Great Zimbabwe University says it has withdrawn the Bachelor of Science Honours degree (Politics and Public Administration) conferred on Chimbumu. In addition she loses the perks of being a boss of the country’s quality regulator of degree and diploma programmes, including a private security guard, an all-terrain Toyota Hillux double-cab vehicle, school fees and international holiday allowances – not to mention a domestic worker’s allowance, medical cover for her, her husband and three children, clothing and entertainment allowances etc (see: https://www.thezimbabwemail.com/education/ex-zimche-boss-stripped-of-degree/).

 

Under Zanu PF you can go a long way with one O Level.

 

Other Points:

  • The lockdown has been a great disaster for many people living at subsistence level. ‘Commanding the closure of the economy without the necessary supporting economic reliefs, medical and social measures is suicidal, said Fadzayi Mahere, spokesperson for the MDC Alliance (see: https://www.theafricareport.com/57779/zimbabwe-lockdown-amid-covid-surge-has-no-support-for-people/).
  • 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/72157717923010683. Our virtual Vigil activists today were Deborah Harry and Benjamin Molife who both kindly contributed to Vigil funds.

 

Notices:

  • 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

 
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