The two faces of Zimbabwe – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 6th July 2019 PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 09 July 2019 16:12

Zanu PF popped the champagne to celebrate Zimbabwe’s promotion by the World Bank from a lower income country to a lower middle economy. Apparently we now have an average annual income of $1,790.

The champagne went flat when it dawned on people that the World Bank might be assuming that we were all soon to be millionaires like in the days of the last Zim dollar. Or, more likely, the World Bank was not factoring in the vast disparity in income between the Zanu PF elite and the ordinary people living on an income far less that $1,790.

This ‘private opulence and public squalor’ was illustrated in the boastful display of wealth by Zanu PF MP Justice Mayor Wadyajena, who reportedly paid $420,000 for a Lamborghini, which he presumably is stupid enough to use on the pot-holed roads of Zimbabwe.

Anyway, it was business as normal for Finance Minister Ncube and Central Bank governor Mangudya who flew off to China in the hope of getting a financial bailout to ease the liquidity crisis, no doubt assuring the Chinese that we would soon start clearing our long overdue debts to them.

The problem is that the Chinese are not amused by the difficulties experienced by one of its investors in Zimbabwe, Sunny Yi Feng Tiles which has ploughed $50 million into its Norton factory which exports 70% of its tiles to SADC countries. The company says it has decided to abandon plans to expand because of persistent harassment and demands for bribes by politicians and government officials. It had been thinking of investing $1.2 billion in Zimbabwe but might now look to Zambia, Angola or Mozambique.

The new Chair of the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission, Loice Matanda-Moyo, says unbridled corruption is a major cause of the country’s economic crisis. She said she wanted the commission to deal with high profile members of society who had been putting up resistance.

The Vigil wishes Ms Matanda-Moyo luck. Apart from the big players, she won’t have far to look for corruption cases, given the suspension of the Masvingo Provincial Hospital Superintendent and his entire management committee in a scandal over the alleged direction of critical drugs to private pharmacies for resale in foreign currency (see: http://www.newsdzezimbabwe.co.uk/2019/07/entire-hosp-management-suspended-over.html). 

Other points

  • On a lovely sunny day London was crowded for Gay Pride day. Many people signed our petition.
  • Thanks to those who came early to help set up the front table today and put up the banners: Miriam Gasho, Beaulah Gore, Deborah Harry, Dambudzo Marimira, Margaret Munenge, Lucia Mungwari, Collen Mupazviriho, Hazvinei Saili and Ephraim Tapa. Thanks to Margaret, Lucia and Miriam for looking after the front table, to Hazvinei, Beaulah and Bridget Mupotsa for handing out flyers, to Margaret and Beaulah for drumming and to Deborah for photos.
  • For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website. 

FOR THE RECORD: 17 signed the register. 

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • ROHR general members’ meeting. Saturday 13th July from 11.30 am. Venue: Royal Festival Hall, South Bank Centre, Belvedere Road SE1 8XX. Contact: Ephraim Tapa 07940793090, Patricia Masamba 07708116625.
  • ROHR sponsored walk. Saturday 27th July. Contact: Esther Munyira 07492058109, Sipho Ndlovu 07400566013, Patricia Masamba and Farai Muroiwa 07365431776. More information as plans progress.
  • 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
 
‘Return to normalcy’ – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 29th June 2019 PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 30 June 2019 17:59

‘Nation embraces Zim dollar . . . Country has returned to normalcy, President says’. This was a headline in the Chronicle. Sadly there is an element of truth in this. What we face is indeed ‘normalcy’ under Zanu PF.

MDC Vice President Tendai Biti was finance minister during the four years of the abnormal Government of National Unity when the economy was turned around. He says: ‘Zimbabwe is in crisis. But to expect the ruling ZANU PF government to resolve this is improbable at best. It is, more likely, impossible.

‘Today nearly four out of every five Zimbabweans just about survives in absolute poverty. On average, Zimbabweans are poorer now than they were at independence in 1980. Informal employment is at 95%, which is why the civil service has more than doubled over the last ten years to 600,000 employees – this is the only place the government can create jobs.

‘Whole communities today live on less than 35 cents per person per day. In practice, this pays for a small dollop of maize, four leaves of vegetables, and a cap of cooking fat. We have a term for this, Tsaona, which means living by “accident”. But the crisis Zimbabwe faces is no accident. This is a man-made calamity. Over the last 39 years of independence, ZANU PF has presided over the disintegration of the productive sector of the economy. Driven by sheer incompetence, greed, and the need for regime survival, the party has completely destroyed a once thriving economy.’ 

Biti said industries closed and infrastructure was not maintained. ‘Thirdly, the backbone of Zimbabwe’s economy was ripped out when the farming sector was politically redistributed through ill-planned and badly-executed land reform exercises, aimed not at the empowerment of citizens but the enrichment of elites. Fourthly, to paper over these deep problems and continue to make profits for the elites, monetary policy became a tool for further enrichment, resulting in Zimbabwe’s inflation reaching 500 billion percent.

‘In today’s Zimbabwe, the elites prosper, in spite of the misery, and because of mal-governance. They use their preferential access to dollars to arbitrage against other local, artificial digital currencies. Furthermore, they have created cartels that are able to entirely control the import and distribution of fuel coming into the country. Meanwhile, the military and other favoured clients are offered mining concessions that are then parcelled out opaquely to friends, local and foreign. Finally, the government’s agricultural scheme, appropriately named “command agriculture”, amounts to a $4 billion private piggy bank used to finance everything from private vehicles to dowries. ZANU PF cannot realistically be expected to reform a system that it not only profits from but on which its rule depends.’

Biti said the MDC is ready to play a part in Zimbabwe’s recovery and those interested in the plight of the Zimbabwean people should urge the government to the negotiating table. He said: ‘A failure to do so will be measured in a loss of hope and a grave humanitarian crisis which can only be met by increased state repression.’ (See: https://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/zanu-pf-needs-the-opposition-to-fix-the-zimbabwes-crisis/).

Other points

  • President Mnangagwa says he is to appoint a commission of inquiry to examine allegations by Zanu PF’s youth wing of of corruption by senior party members, including ministers. The Vigil expects the usual cover up.
  • The government has refused to uphold the rule of law in the case of the illegal seizure by police twelve years ago of a farm in the Bubi district of Matabeleland North in spite of a court order. The deadlock has blocked an initiative supported by the local community to develop a conservancy aimed at encouraging tourism.
  • Things are getting so bad that the lucky few who have jobs are opting to stay overnight at their work places to save the cost of going home. The Vigil has seen a letter to the board chair of the POSB Bank in Harare about the situation (see: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10157228543753704&set=a.10150307778113704&type=3&theater).
  • After the Vigil activists attended a fundraising dinner for our sister organisation the Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe. See the pictures on Flickr.
  • Thanks to those who came early to help set up the front table today and put up the banners: Gertrude Mudede, Tsitsi Nyirongo, Hazvinei Saili, Ephraim Tapa and Bridget Zhakata. Thanks to Tsitsi and Bridget for looking after the front table, to Hazvinei, Beaulah Gore, Marvellous Chinguwa and Bianca Mpawaenda for handing out flyers, to Mary, Fungisai Mupandira and Getrude for drumming, to Isabell Gwatidzo for selling raffle tickets for ROHR fundraising and to Bianca for photos.
  • For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website. 

 

FOR THE RECORD: 24 signed the register. 

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • ROHR general members’ meeting. Saturday 6th July from 11.30 am. Venue: Royal Festival Hall, South Bank Centre, Belvedere Road SE1 8XX. Contact: Ephraim Tapa 07940793090, Patricia Masamba 07708116625.
  • ROHR sponsored walk. Saturday 27th July. Contact: Esther Munyira 07492058109, Sipho Ndlovu 07400566013, Patricia Masamba and Farai Muroiwa 07365431776. More information as plans progress.
  • 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:
 
Zanu PF’s denial propaganda – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 22nd June 2019 PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 23 June 2019 13:35

https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/48109680708/sizes/m/

Former South African president Thabo Mbeki has urged Mnangagwa to invite a neutral mediator to preside over the talks with the opposition in Zimbabwe. Why has the government media not reported this?

The persistent distortion of the truth by the Herald, Chronicle and ZBC must be changed if we are ever to have anything like an honest debate in Zimbabwe.

At issue is an interview Mbeki gave to the SABC. The Herald makes out that he entirely supported Mnangagwa’s position on talks with other parties. Nowhere in their version is there a hint of any criticism of Mnangagwa (see: https://www.herald.co.zw/mbeki-speaks-on-zim-dialogue/).

But looking at other reports of the interview it is clear that the Herald totally ignored Mbeki’s comment about a neutral mediator: ‘They (MDC) agree in principle to that get-together, but (say) let it be convened by somebody else. So, I’m saying that I hope that’s going to happen, it’s something that should happen.’ (See for instance: https://news.pindula.co.zw/2019/06/17/mbeki-backs-chamisa-tells-ed-its-not-enough-to-win-an-election/).

Unpalatable to government media was Mbeki’s implicit criticism of Mnangagwa for continuing the charade of talks without the MDC. Mbeki, who helped to establish the government of national unity, knows full well that Chamisa is ready for talks under a neutral convenor and Mbeki accepts that this is the way forward. 

As he says: ‘For us who are trying to develop our countries, you need maximum unity in order to address a number of national challenges. So it can’t be enough to say, ‘I won elections and that’s it’. I’m saying an initiative such as has been taken in Zimbabwe is correct, and I hope Zimbabweans will indeed be able to come together including the MDC. The MDC must be part of that process. It’s important that as a continent we deal with this matter in that way.’

Even Zanu PF is not united behind Mnangagwa’s hard line. Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda says stability can only be guaranteed if another government of national unity is established. Speaking at the funeral of Morgan Tsvangirai’s eldest daughter he said: ‘We enjoyed serenity of politics during the GNU. That spirit must come back. It must come back.’ He appealed to political leaders ‘to find each other for the good of the nation’ (see: https://www.newzimbabwe.com/mudenda-pleads-for-gnu-calls-on-ed-and-chamisa-to-find-each-other/).

Other points

  • The Chinese man who is alleged to have assaulted a Mashonaland West traditional leader Chief Chivero when he visited his company has apparently been deported. Zimbabweans like Zambians are increasingly unhappy at the ways of Chinese management of local enterprises. The situation in Tanzania has gone further with President Magufuli suspending plans for what would have been East Africa’s largest port. He said: ‘The conditions set by the investors amount to selling Tanzania to China.’ (See: https://www.constructionkenya.com/3128/bagamoyo-port-construction/.)
  • The local authority responsible for the Zimbabwe Embassy area has made it much more attractive by installing large plant containers with flowers around the four maple trees where we gather for the Vigil.
  • Thanks to those who came early to help set up the front table today and put up the banners: Happy Chazuza, Beaulah Gore, Isabell Gwatidzo, Jonathan Kariwo, Alice Majola, Rosemary Maponga, Lucia Mudzimu, Tapiwa Muskwe, Mary Muteyerwa, Tsitsi Nyirongo, Hazvinei Saili, Ephraim Tapa and Bridget Zhakata. Thanks to Rosemary, Tsitsi and Dambudzo for looking after the front table, to Hazvinei, Alice and Bridget for handing out flyers, to Mary and Margaret for drumming and to Jonathan for photos.
  • For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website.

FOR THE RECORD: 29 signed the register.

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • ROHR fundraising dinner. Saturday 29th June from 6 pm till late. Venue: Zazas, 108 Whitechapel Road, London E1 1JE. Contact: Esther Munyira 07492058109, Fungisai Mupandira 07468504393, Sipho Ndlovu 07400566013, Patricia Masamba 07708116625, Simbarashe Jingo 07787870888, Pamela Chirimuta 07762737339, Sikhumbuzule Sibanda 07912210225, and Farai Muroiwa 07365431776.
  • ROHR general members’ meeting. Saturday 6th July from 11.30 am. Venue: Royal Festival Hall, South Bank Centre, Belvedere Road SE1 8XX. Contact: Ephraim Tapa 07940793090, Patricia Masamba 07708116625.
  • ROHR sponsored walk. Saturday 27th July. Contact: Esther Munyira 07492058109, Sipho Ndlovu 07400566013, Patricia Masamba and Farai Muroiwa 07365431776. More information as plans progress.
  • 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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