US demands justice for abducted – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 6th June 2020 PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 07 June 2020 17:36

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Home Affairs Minister Kazembe Kazembe says the abduction and torture of three young opposition women blamed on government agents didn’t happen. It was all an invention by the MDC, western embassies, churches, doctors and lawyers.

 

The minister maintained that the government ‘does not permit any of its institutions and agencies to use torture, forced disappearance or abductions’. Such methods, he said, were ‘extrapolated from foreign environments for the benefit of regime change sponsors’.

 

Kazembe alleged that the chairman of the Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights, Fortune Nyamande, and his secretary, Norman Matara, were not resident in the country but had come back specifically to ‘fake’ the abduction. He said there had been consistent contamination of the entire chain of evidence by MDC leaders, activists and officials of foreign embassies who had gained access ahead of the investigating authorities.

 

Kazembe said examination of the women by government doctors had not shown any injuries matching the women’s accounts which, he said, showed ‘signs of coaching’. He claimed that before they were taken to hospital they went to MDC leader Chamisa’s private offices, adding: ‘the famed abduction was a desperate attempt to qualify for a US 10-month scholarship’.

 

His allegations were dismissed by the MDC’s deputy spokesman, Clifford Hlatshwayo, who said: ‘Zanu PF is behaving like a terrorist organisation. They are very cruel and think people are objects they can abuse, torture and rape. We are all God’s people and time will come when all this will end. The time is now.’ (See: https://www.newsday.co.zw/2020/06/chamisa-diplomats-stage-managed-abductions-govt/).

 

Kazembe’s remarks came after a week of bruising exchanges between the Zanu PF government and the United States over the killing of an Afro-American by police in Minneapolis. The American ambassador, Brian Nichols (himself black), pointed out in a statement after meeting Foreign Minister Moyo that the policeman had already been charged with murder but people were wondering when abducted Zimbabweans would get justice.

 

‘I again urged Zimbabwe’s government to end state-sponsored violence against peaceful protesters, civil society, labour leaders and members of the opposition in Zimbabwe, and to hold accountable those responsible for human rights abuses . . . Peaceful protesters Joana Mamombe, Cecilia Chimbiri and Netsai Marova were arrested, abducted, assaulted and left for dead. To those who deny America’s right to speak out on their fate, let me remind you, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere . . . Whatever affects one directly, affects us all indirectly.”’  (See: https://twitter.com/usembassyharare/status/1267450903512129536).

 

Other points

  • The arrest of MDC leaders for trying to enter their own headquarters is further evidence that Zimbabwe is back to the 2008 collapse scenario. As Siphosame Malunga puts it in an article in the Africa Report: ‘Hollowed out and looted, the state can no longer look after its own soldiers and police, and their families; let alone address the spectre of mass starvation and a public health emergency haunting over half of Zimbabwe’s 16 million people.’ (See: https://www.theafricareport.com/29111/zimbabwes-critical-choice-state-collapse-or-people-powered-change/).
  • Zimbabwean economist Christopher Mugaga, who is chief executive of the National Chamber of Commerce, says he expects to see inflation, put at nearly 700% in March, shoot up to 1,800% by the end of the year. He believes that the country will re-dollarise by then (see: https://bulawayo24.com/news/national/186612).
  • We are sad to report the passing away of Vigil activist Eletha Mpofu from stomach cancer on Friday. Our condolences go to her family. Also in our thoughts is Vigil activist Kevin Wheeldon who was admitted to hospital with coronavirus about a week ago. We were pleased to receive a message from him that he was getting better.

  • Because of the coronavirus we can no longer physically meet outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London, so we have a virtual Vigil while the lockdown continues. 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 (see: https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/albums/72157714609971221). Our virtual Vigil activists today were Mavis Harrison, Patricia Masamba and Esther Munyira who all 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 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
 
From tragedy to farce – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 30th May 2020 PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 31 May 2020 17:04

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Foreign Minister Moyo says the abduction of MDC activists was ‘stage managed’. If so this drama must have been directed by Zanu PF – only they could turn a tragedy into a farce.

 

Three young women arrested after attending a peaceful demonstration in Harare and then mysteriously driven through the night to Bindura to be tortured and sexually abused in holes in the ground: that’s tragic.

 

A few days later the traumatised trio are charged with breaking lockdown regulations and demonstrating against hunger at a bizarre court hearing held at their hospital bedside surrounded by security agents: that’s farce.

 

Only totally formulaic Zanu PF could come up with such a predictable circus. Only Zanu PF could scrape the barrel for such a variety of unlikely excuses to obscure the obvious: that state agents were to blame – as they have been for countless victims before and after the Vigil’s friend Itai Dazmara was abducted five years ago.

 

The first Zanu PF excuse was the story that the victims were in fact prostitutes and were beaten up when they asked to be paid in foreign currency. Ten out of ten for imagination, but perhaps a little too theatrical?

 

Then there was the claim that they had beaten themselves up (or asked their husbands or party comrades to do it). No marks for this one: too melodramatic, as the hospital doctors stitching them together could attest.

 

Former Mugabe fan, British citizen now government information flunkey, Nick Mangwana offered a different script: it was all the work of Mugabe followers. Who knows – perhaps Grace herself? Well, the show needs a proper villain surely?

 

No? Perhaps you prefer General Moyo’s scenario: a piece of stage-managed theatre organised by a ‘third force’ was responsible designed to soil the image of the government. This sounds a reliable standby. Maybe Joshua Nkomo’s lot or Rhodesian Front relics or Blair’s mob? We all know they are lurking somewhere ready to grab the limelight when our defences are down.

 

But of course the buck stops with impresario Mnangagwa, who dismissed the incident as ‘cheap atrocity propaganda’ unworthy of the stage. He was supported by former all-weather actor and now stand-in Zanu PF spokesman Patrick Chinamasa, who complained that the three women were refusing to co-operate with the police.

 

The onus was on them to prove they were abducted, Chinamasa declared. Beating his chest, he declaimed ‘We find it abhorrent that to date neither the three lady complainants nor their family members or their friends have made a formal report to the police, suggesting that they don’t want the truth to come out’.

 

An MDC spokesperson Gladys Hlatshwayo dismissed Zanu PF statements on the abductions: ‘The three were abducted at a police station by people who purported to be police officers. How can one even be able to talk to the same people who abducted her and put them through such a situation? How can the police investigate themselves? This is why we are calling for an independent investigation into the abductions,’ she said

.

Ms Hlatshwayo suggested the situation had moved from farce to fiasco: ‘The police have failed to investigate the August 1, 2018 shooting where seven people were shot dead in broad daylight by armed soldiers. Even after a commission led by (former) South African President Kgalema Motlanthe, they have failed to arrest just one person for the killings; 49 abductions since January 2019, not a single arrest.’ (See: https://www.newsday.co.zw/2020/05/mdc-a-activists-charged-at-hospital-hearing/.)

 

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 lockdown continues. 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 (see: https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/albums/72157714525735123). Our virtual Vigil activists today were Deborah Harry, Shylette Chipangura, Esther Munyira and Molly Ngavaimbe who all 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 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
 
Dolly Parton and the gun rape – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 23rd May 2020 PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 24 May 2020 12:20

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Human rights lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa, in an open letter to President Mnangagwa, has passionately condemned the abduction and sexual abuse of three young MDC women leaders which has once again turned the eyes of the world on Zimbabwe.

 

Mtetwa said the victims were clearly targeted ‘in the most despicable of ways’ to dissuade young women from engaging in politics outside the ruling party. Addressing General Valerio Sibanda as head of the defence forces, she said that if soldiers were involved he was as responsible ‘as if you held that gun that was used to simulate sexual intercourse’.

 

Turning to Police Commissioner General Matanga, she said the women had been stopped at a roadblock manned by uniformed police and taken to the central police station where they were released to unknown third parties, ‘The buck stops with you on how arrested persons were unlawfully removed from your premises by abductors and torturers’.

 

Taunting the State Security Minister, Owen Ncube, Mtetwa said scornfully that if his agents were not involved he should at least look as if he cared. ‘You can even resort to a few fall guys, who will take the can and be pardoned thereafter as has happened many times before.’ (See: https://www.newzimbabwe.com/beatrice-mtetwas-open-letter-to-president-emmerson-mnangagwa/).

 

Mtetwa’s scepticism about justice in Zimbabwe seems to have been borne out by the reaction of Justice Minister, Ziyambi Ziyambi who, when questioned in Parliament, said the three women had broken the law by taking part in a demonstration and violating the lockdown rules and were wanted by the police for questioning. He added that they seemed very happy in hospital (see: https://bulawayo24.com/index-id-news-sc-national-byo-185781.html).

 

One of the women is quoted by the Zimbabwe Mail as saying: ‘They ordered us to sing a song, saying that we are going to stop leading demonstrations. Whenever we stopped they would beat us under the feet and on our legs. We were put in shallow holes in the middle of nowhere. They gave me the nickname Dolly Parton as they took turns sucking my breasts. They forced us to drink our urine and then stripped me,” she said of her ordeal in between sobs. ‘I thought they were going to rape me. They then shoved a gun into my private parts.’ (See: https://www.thezimbabwemail.com/main/eu-us-lobbies-for-mnangagwa-opposition-talks/.)

 

Subsequently a senior official of the Artuz teachers’ union, Moreblessing Nyambara, said she had been beaten up by suspected state security agents in Domboshava over a video she posted on social media protesting at the abduction of the three MDC women (see: https://www.newsday.co.zw/2020/05/artuz-leader-tortured-over-video-of-mdc-abductees/).

 

Western Heads of Mission in Zimbabwe have issued a statement insisting that Zimbabwe meet its international human rights obligations. They demanded a swift, thorough and credible investigation into the abduction and torture of the MDC women and urged a constructive dialogue between government and opposition (see: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/local-statement-on-human-rights-situation-in-zimbabwe).

 

Other points

·       The authorities have stamped down on a free feeding charity used by hundreds of hungry children and desperate adults in the Harare township of Chitungwiza. It was run by a lawyer Samantha Murozoki from her home but she has now been ordered to stop because the project did not ‘meet minimum requirements for a feeding kitchen’.

·       Some good news: ROHR’s Mtoko Irrigation Project in aid of women living with HIV/AIDS in rural Zimbabwe has had its first harvest. Well done to the Mtoko women and to all our Vigil activists who contributed to the fundraising for this project. For photos see: https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/albums/72157714435421202.

·       Prisons in Zimbabwe are short of Zanu PF inmates so former police chief Augustine Chihuri would be a welcome addition. But somehow we doubt it will result from the Prosecutor-General’s High Court application for an order compelling Chihuri to explain what happened to US$ 32 million he is said to have diverted for his own use (see: https://www.thezimbabwemail.com/zimbabwe/ex-zimbabwe-police-chief-accused-of-embezzling-32m-of-public-funds/).

·       Everyone knows that if you are Zanu PF you can get away with anything. Particularly if you are Mnangagwa’s son Tarirai. He is accused of threatening to shoot a Zesa employee sent to record the electricity meter reading at his farm in Norton, west of Harare. Tarirai apparently fired into the air and said his farm was ‘State House and protected place’ (see: https://www.thezimbabwemail.com/zimbabwe/mnangagwas-son-in-gunning-totting-storm/).

·       This abuse of the state by the elite is increasingly recognised by the international community as a major problem. The EU’s Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Timo Olkkonen, said budgetary support for Zimbabwe’s bankrupt government was not under consideration, citing ‘massive misuse’ of public funds (https://www.theindependent.co.zw/2020/05/15/eu-refuses-to-fund-corrupt-zim-admin/).

·       Because of the coronavirus we can no longer physically meet outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London, so we have started a virtual Vigil. We asked 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.

·       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 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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Zimbabwe Vigil Highlights of 2010
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