The bee stings – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 27th October 2018 PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 29 October 2018 07:07

https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/30656828397/sizes/m
MDC anniversary rally in Harare

As the MDC marked its 19th anniversary, Nelson Chamisa accused President Mnangagwa of backtracking on a promise to form an inclusive government. And he warned that this was the only way to unite the country and win international goodwill.

Chamisa insisted he didn’t want another government of national unity but a transitional authority which would return the country to legitimacy and enable it to get an emergency rescue package to kick-start the economy. He said: ‘The economy is always the mirror through which we see the real national situation and you have seen how it is behaving. There is deep seated dislocation, a deficit of leadership, governance, trust and confidence’ (see: https://www.newsday.co.zw/2018/10/mnangagwa-cornered-chamisa/).

His comments came against a backdrop of chaos in the finance ministry and at the Reserve Bank, where four top officials have been suspended following allegations that they were feeding the currency black market. The allegations were made by newly-appointed chair of the finance ministry trouble-shooting task force William Mutumanje, widely known as Acie Lumumba, who was immediately fired.

Acie said the four officials worked with someone known as the ‘queen bee’ who had links with the fuel industry and was trying to ‘capture the state’. Acie said they were manipulating the currency market, and, relieved of his post, he was now free to disclose secrets about ‘what’s really going on’ (see: https://www.news24.com/Africa/Zimbabwe/controversial-activist-fired-after-exposing-rot-at-zim-central-bank-20181025).

The worried diaspora at the Vigil were given the latest news from the ground by a Zimbabwean charity worker visiting London.. She said her work with the desperately poor saw no immediate prospect of improvement. ‘The poor are taking the brunt of the political mismanagement in the country’, she said  

Other points

  • Thanks to those who put up the banners, looked after the front table, handed out flyers and cleared up at the end: Joanathan Kariwo, Linda Dodzo, Casper Nyamakura, Ephraim Tapa, Grace Nyaumwe and Lawrence Mbamarwo.
  • 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: 11 signed the register.

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • ROHR Central London branch meeting. Saturday 17th November from 11.30 am – 1.30 pm. Venue: Royal Festival Hall. Contact: Daizy 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 from 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.
  • Facebook pages:
 
Cynicism reigns – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 20th October 2018 PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 21 October 2018 14:16

https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/31579355658/sizes/m/
Happymore Chidziva MP addresses Vigil and MDC activists 

‘Electric car causes stir in fuel-starved Zimbabwe’ read the headline today on News 24. We can understand why the sight prompted interest given the return of long queues for fuel.

But then reality kicked in. What about the difficulty recharging the car when electricity supplies are so erratic? Perhaps that was why the car was seen on the back of a recovery vehicle, thought the cynics. At least it wasn’t another $3 million Bugati seen being unloaded at Robert Mugabe International a few weeks ago. 

Cynicism now reigns in Zimbabwe. Few now trust what they are told by the authorities. Even Zanu PF is increasingly rejecting the fantasy world bequeathed by ‘son of God’ Mugabe.

Deputy Information Minister Energy Mutode recognizes the problem: ‘This is an economy that is dealing with a legacy of . . . Mugabe. We are now in a new dispensation . . . so there are a number of economic issues we need to correct . . . Zimbabwe very much needs to access multi-lateral funding for its debt and if that doesn’t happen we will be in crisis.’ (See: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/oct/19/zimbabwe-needs-aid-to-prevent-further-crisis-warns-ruling-party.)

Everyone experiences this on the streets. The value of bond notes has collapsed, as the Vigil predicted it would when they were introduced two years ago. Our diary of 26th November 2016 noted ‘because Zimbabweans have lived through this asset stripping before, they know exactly what to expect. Savings will be wiped out by rapidly depreciating Mickey Mouse money for the benefit of the elite which will externalize all remaining US dollars in the country’.

Now we hear that people suspected of externalizing funds are not being taken to court because the national prosecution authority does not yet have a substantive Prosecutor-General in office. A lawyer commented: ‘Economic crime is rife in Zimbabwe but there is no political will to deal with it (see: https://bulawayo24.com/index-id-news-sc-national-byo-147681.html).

The new Finance Minister Ncube realizes what’s happened and has announced the scrapping of the vaunted farm mechanization programme introduced by Mugabe in 2007. It was, he said, ‘riddled with corruption.’ A number of unnamed members of the political elite were said to have given themselves irrigation equipment, brand new tractors, combine harvesters and other farming materials. The loans were never paid back and the government had to write off more that $200 million. Mr Ncube’s decision came despite the government’s farming policy being championed by Vice President Chiwenga who said Zimbabwe could again become Africa’s bread basket.

This Zimbabwean delusion is scrutinised in an article by Michelle D Gavin, senior fellow for Africa Studies at the US Council on Foreign Relations. She says: ‘State media trumpets headlines about breakthroughs with the international financial institutions or new investments from abroad, but closer inspection tends to reveal far less than meets the eye. When creditors agree to a payment plan to clear longstanding debts, it doesn’t mean that new loans are coming, or even that arrears will actually get cleared. When start-up hedge funds commit to try to raise capital for unspecified projects in the future, it doesn’t mean that an influx of dollars has been secured. In their quest to paint a picture of a new dawn, Zimbabwean officials keep overselling small and preliminary steps, undermining their own credibility’ (see: https://www.cfr.org/blog/zimbabwes-falling-expectations).

The failure of the government to follow up on its promises, for instance in implementing the electoral reforms required by the constitution, has not gone unnoticed abroad. Those international electoral observers that matter were less than enthusiastic about the elections and even the others were shocked by the army’s shootings in Harare. The upshot is that Zimbabwe is not seen as ‘open for business’. A touted investment conference has been postponed for a year and prospects of being invited to rejoin the Commonwealth have dimmed according to Sue Onslow, Deputy Director of the Institute of Commonwealth Studies.

People have been disillusioned by the Mugabe fantasies: now they are increasing becoming cynical about the promises of the Mnangagwa regime. 

Other points

  • The Vigil drew its biggest attendance for some time, boosted by MDC members who came to support MDC MP for Highfield Happymore Chidziva, who is MDC National Youth Chair. Mr Chidziva said the Vigil’s weekly protest outside the Embassy was very important and our message was getting through.
  • Thanks to those who came early to help set up the table and put up the banners: Shylette Chipangura, Daizy Fabian, Hellena Gusinyu, Deborah Harry, Josephine Jombe, Joshua Kahari, Junior Madzimure, Chido Makawa, Heather Makawa, Rosemary Maponga, Patricia Masamba, Joyce Mbairatsunga, Getrude Mudede, Nicodimus Muganhu, Margaret Munenge, Esther Munyira, Sipho Ndlovu, Molly Ngavaimbe, Pearl Shambare, Alice Shimika, Minienhle Sibanda, Ephraim Tapa and Sharon Zimuto. Thanks also to Josephine and Pearl for looking after the front table and to Heather and Pearl for handing out flyers.
  • A special thank you to Rose Maponga and Nyarai Masvosva for bringing sadza and stew to fundraise for the Vigil.
  • 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: 43 signed the register but there were many more than that present.

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

 
Zimbabwe Ambassador at Vigil – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 13th October 2018 PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 14 October 2018 19:14

Pictures
Gift Kunjona, Chief Ndiweni, Ben Freeth, Archbishop John Sentamu, Kate Hoey                             https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/44490086814/sizes/m/    
Zimbabwean Ambassador Christian Katsande with Vigil activist
https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/31422910858/sizes/m/
Zimbabwe Vigil’s 16th anniversary
https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/45297080521/sizes/m/ 

 

The Vigil marked its 16th anniversary and – to our surprise – we were joined by the new Ambassador Christian M Katsande and his deputy. He invited us to have a meeting with him and we are happy to accept the invitation. This is the first time in 16 years that the Embassy has chosen to engage with us. The Ambassador bought a copy of the Vigil book ‘Zimbabwe Emergency’ for which we gave him a receipt at his request.

Zimbabwe House has been an unfriendly place for years. It is closed on Saturdays when the Vigil protests but when we  tried to communicate with them during the week it has always gone into panic mode, calling the police (right next door) to get us out of the building.

We want to ask them why things haven’t changed in Zimbabwe in the 16 years we have been protesting outside the Embassy. The Vigil believes that the problem is Zanu PF’s controlling mindset. Despite the ousting of Mugabe by Mnangagwa, this hasn’t changed. It’s got worse. Even as the economy collapses Zanu PF refuses to accept responsibility, now blaming the situation on enemies spreading panic and confusion. Stop the money dealers, they say, stop the vendors (see: https://www.iol.co.za/news/africa/zanu-pf-appeals-to-government-to-allow-imports-17419832). These ‘enemy agents’ have replaced ‘sanctions’ as the cause of the country’s troubles.

The EU report on the elections reinforces the view from Harare North that the UK has backed the wrong horse in Mnangagwa and his Zanu PF-lite (https://www.newsday.co.zw/2018/10/zim-election-results-murky-eu/). The UK will probably facilitate a financial bail out for Zimbabwe but we at the Vigil have little confidence that even a big loan will end our problems. Ten months into the new regime and how many of the corrupt Zanu PF elite are in jail? How many bankrupt parastatals have been reformed? Meanwhile, the economist Godfrey Kanyenze, a former board member of the reserve bank, says the Mnangagwa regime has already run up a debt of over $4.5 billion since last November (see: http://www.mikecampbellfoundationresources.com/page/debt-rises-dramatically).

Other points

  • After the visit of the Ambassador those at the Vigil were asked what we should require from the Embassy. It was suggested that we should challenge the Embassy on the reported co-operation with the Home Office to facilitate deportation of Zimbabweans back home. We should also make the case for the diaspora vote.
  • A Zimbabwean passer-by who appeared to be involved with an EU project on wild life in Zimbabwe talked to one of our key activists. He asked what were we achieving by our protest and suggested that if he came back to Zimbabwe he would ensure he got a farm!        
  • Chief Felix Ndiweni says one of Zimbabwe’s problems is that traditional leaders have been politicised by Zanu PF. Chief Ndiweni had worked in the UK for 34 years before going home to Matabeleland to succeed his father who had been chief for 71 years. He came back to London to address a meeting on Zimbabwe at the Royal Geographical Society on Tuesday. He told the meeting, arranged by the Mike Campbell Foundation, that the youth were angry and needed to be taken seriously. Another speaker at the meeting was MDC Alliance politician Gift Kunjona, who has been imprisoned 44 times for his political activism. He spoke about Zanu PF impunity.  The human rights activist Ben Freeth said he had no doubt that the July elections were rigged and was sad at the muted response by the then UK Ambassador Catriona Laing. Prayers for Zimbabwe were led by the Archbishop of York John Sentamu, who famously cut up his clerical collar on TV in protest at Mugabe. He spoke of a need for justice in Zimbabwe.
  • Vigil activists attending the Mike Campbell event were: Bianca Mpawaenda. Chido Makawa, Daizy Fabian, Ephraim Tapa, Esther Munyira, Faith Ndhlovu,Heather Makawa, Josephine Jombe, Margaret Munenge, Michelle Makoni, Netsayi Makarichi, Nyarai Masvosva, Patience Muyeye, Patricia Masamba, Rose Benton and Rosemary Maponga.
  • Congratulations to Patricia Masamba who has been made a Vigil co-ordinator because of her commitment to the Vigil. She is one of the team who ensures the Vigil keeps running by bringing the Vigil table, banners, posters and other paraphernalia to the Embassy on a Saturday.
  • Thanks to those who came early to help set up the table and put up the banners: Linda Dodzo, Miriam Gasho, Joyce Mbairatsunga, Tapiwa Muskwe, Minienhle Sibanda and Ephraim Tapa. Thanks also to Minienhle, Linda, Miriam and Joyce for looking after the front table and handing out flyers and to Minienhle and Grace Nyaume for taking extra 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: 13 signed the register.

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

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