‘Poor, bankrupt, miserable country’ – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 26th January 2019 PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 27 January 2019 15:40

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This description by British minister Alan Duncan was spot on. He was speaking on his way to the UN to discuss Venezuela. But he could equally well have been talking about Zimbabwe.

Venezuela was seen by the UN to be the more pressing problem. 20 years ago it was one of the richest countries in Latin America with perhaps the largest oil reserves in the world. All was set fair until a socialist ideologue came to power. Inflation exceeded one million per cent last year. A tenth of the people have fled the country in the last four years. Food is scarce, leaving half of children malnourished. What medicine you can get must be paid for in US dollars.

Sound familiar? But here the paths diverge. In Venezuela hundred of thousands of demonstrators took to the streets and the opposition leader declared himself President, immediately supported by neighbouring Colombia and the continental giants Brazil and Argentina, as well as the United States (and the UK).

In Zimbabwe, when the people took to the streets  the government launched a campaign of intimidation, beating and torturing civilians including women and children as young as nine. But there has been no criticism from neighbouring giant South Africa. On the contrary, President Ramaphosa chose to throw in his lot with Zanu PF, appealing at the Davos summit for sanctions against Zimbabwe to be lifted because the country was ‘on the right path’. If this is the right path then Zimbabwe is doomed.

The Vigil thinks that Zimbabwe is on the wrong path and fears it has been joined on it by South Africa. The irony of ironies is that even the South African demagogue Julius Malema has condemned the Zimbabwean repression.

We think it’s a pity that Ramaphosa turned down Mnangagwa’s recent plea for a billion dollar loan to bail out Zimbabwe. Ramaphosa, reportedly himself a billionaire, claims South Africa does not have the money. But he would have found sympathetic governments ready to back a loan in return for talks on a power-sharing deal necessary if Zimbabwe is ever to regain investor confidence and stop being a ‘poor, bankrupt, miserable country’.

Other points

  • After realising the gravity of the situation rather late, the British media has given saturation coverage to Zimbabwe (see for instance: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/995-who-really-calls-the-shots-in-bloody-zimbabwe-crackdown).
  • Vigil activists have been receiving heartbreaking messages from their families and friends on what’sapp. Sent from a friend on 26/01/2019. ‘The above picture is my nephew. Shot five bullets in the tummy in our family house in Harare this morning This is the fourth member of the family dead this week. Two were in a combi that was shot by the army and overturned when they were trying to escape from the city to Domboshava. Another was shot by army whilst he was escaping to South Africa where he was at University.’ We were also sent a picture of a young man with very swollen lips and the following message: ‘24/01/2019. This guy is my brother and he is in Chikurubi prison. He did nothing but he was watching people demonstrating peacefully and the soldiers and police assaulted him badly. They burned his back and he has wounds all over his back. We are trying to find ways to help him get lawyers and his treatment. He is unwell at the moment. We sent painkillers but they were confiscated for verification. He said pain is too much especially headache.’
  • It was good to be joined by Claire Freeth of the Mike Campbell Foundation and Sunit Bagree of ACTSA.
  • Thanks to those who came early to help set up the table and put up the banners: Josephine Jombe, Thomas Mahasoh, Rosemary Maponga, Charles Mararirakwenda, Patricia Masamba, Lucia Mungwari, Esther Munyira, Patience Muyeye, Bigboy Sibanda and Ephraim Tapa. Thanks to Patience and Josephine for looking after the front table and to Bigboy, Thomas, Lucia and Netsayi Makarichi for handing out flyers.
  • 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: 26 signed the register.

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • ROHR Central London branch meeting. Saturday 16th February 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.
  • Facebook pages:
 
Zanu PF goes mad – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 19th January 2019 PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 27 January 2019 15:41

https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/46753130702/sizes/c/

‘Whom the gods would destroy they first make mad’, goes the old adage. It seems to be coming true in our new ‘reformed’ Zimbabwe so warmly welcomed last year by the UK government. The UK is not smiling now as reports come in of brutal repression of widespread discontent.

The Zimbabwean security services seem to have gone mad if we can believe accounts talking of eyes being gouged out and fingers chopped off, doors being smashed in and whole families beaten, road blocks . . . (see: https://citizen.co.za/news/news-africa/2066480/reports-of-terror-torture-after-second-zim-internet-shutdown/).

And it is not only the army and police who are crazy if you read the paranoid allegations by Zanu PF that a ‘superpower’ – apparently the United States – is behind the unrest (see: http://www.newsdzezimbabwe.co.uk/2019/01/2m-for-protest-leaders-zbc.html).

The sad truth is that there is now little interest in Zimbabwe in the outside world. After a week of dramatic developments in Zimbabwe the UK Times today devoted only one paragraph to the situation – and that was on page 46 and rather ill-informed.

The UK Foreign Office told us this week they were too busy to have a meeting with us to discuss the perilous situation. So we tried to draw attention to the crisis at a Vigil outside the Embassy today attended by about 200 Zimbabweans from all over the country. The main theme was Zimbabwe ‘open not for business but for repression’.

Despite the clampdown on communications, here are some of the reports the Vigil has received in the last couple of days. The first is from human rights campaigner Ben Freeth who attended the opening of the phony trial of Pastor Evan Mawarire (see: https://media.wix.com/ugd/02876c_92a44a219cce4c84bc3c70c29298c952.pdf).

Veteran observer Cathy Buckle speaks in her latest letter of life as seen from a smaller town (see: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/990-zimbabwe-the-silencing-of-our-voices).

Another report is from someone who wishes to remain anonymous. He says Zanu PF knows what it’s doing: total terror. ‘After all, you cannot be the cure when in fact you are the problem’ (see: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/991-life-beyond-survival-coping-mechanisms).

Other points

  • It was good to be joined by old friends now dispersed around the country: Patson Muzuwa, Dumi Tutani, Peter Tatchell and Christopher Maphosa.umi Tutani, Peter Tatchell and Christopher Maphosa.
  • Thanks to those who helped out today: Ephraim Tapa and Taiwa Muskwe for putting up the banners, Patience Muyeye (who arrived at 10 am), Josephine Jombe and Fungisai Mupandira for looking after the front table, Patience, Josephine and Rosemary Maponga for selling flags and Rosemary, Bigboy Sibanda, Blessing Goronga, Edmore Pedzisai, Deborah Harry, Bianca Mpawaenda, Chido Makawa and Tawanda Chitate for handing out flyers. Thanks to Jonathan Kariwo, Patience and Heather Makawa for 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: about 200 attended the Vigil.

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • ROHR Central London branch meeting. Saturday 16th February 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.
  • 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
 
London Protest at Zimbabwe Repression PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 19 January 2019 23:04

Zimbabwe Vigil press release – 17th January 2019

London Protest at Zimbabwe Repression

Britain has condemned the brutal repression of anti-government protesters in Zimbabwe and called for restraint by security forces.

The Minister for Africa Harriett Baldwin said the use of live ammunition was ‘deeply concerning and disproportionate’. She added that the Zimbabwean government must learn lessons from the post-election violence last year and implement the recommendations of the subsequent commission of inquiry.

Zimbabwean exiles are to demonstrate outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London on Saturday, 19th January, in protest at the violence during a three-day work stayaway following an announcement by President Mnangagwa last weekend that fuel prices were being more than doubled.

Details of the widespread violence have leaked out despite internet and social media accounts being blocked. Zimbabwe’s largest telecommunications company Econet told customers it had shut off internet access at the government’s request.

Amnesty International said eight civilians are believed to have been shot dead in clashes with the security forces and a doctors’ group said it had treated 68 people for gunshot wounds and many others for injuries from beatings.

The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights said hundreds of people had been arrested, including Pastor Evan Mawarire, leader of the #ThisFlag movement, who was accused of inciting violence.

The MDC said Zanu PF supporters had thrown petrol bombs at its Harare headquarters. In Bulawayo the Mthwakazi Republic Party said that its secretary was in a critical condition after being shot in the head in front of his children after accusing security officials of heavy-handedness in the protests.

For his part, President Mnangagwa, who is continuing another tour overseas trying to raise money, said: ‘What we have witnessed is violence and vandalism instead of peaceful protests’.

Africa Minister Baldwin expressed her concern to the Zimbabwean Ambassador and said Britain would continue to put pressure on Zimbabwe to uphold the rule of law and human rights.

Zimbabwe Vigil activists will be outside the Embassy from 12 noon to 6 pm in solidarity with victims of violence and to draw attention to the worsening situation in Zimbabwe.

For more information: Ephraim Tapa 07940793090, Rose Benton 07970996003 and Patricia Masamba 07708116625.

 
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