African Union hypocrisy – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 13th April 2019 PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 13 April 2019 20:40

The African Union’s condemnation of the military coup in Sudan exposes the hypocrisy of the organization. The chair of the AU Commission said it was not the appropriate response to the challenges facing Sudan and the aspirations of its people. The fact is that the overthrow of President Omar al-Bashir was a result of a growing popular uprising in Sudan.

The AU claims to promote the human rights of the African people but here it has positioned itself in support of yet another clapped-out military dictator. For the past decade Bashir has been a fugitive from the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity, notably the genocide of people in the Darfur region. An estimated 300,000 people died in the ethnic conflict there between mainly Christian southerners who are agriculturalists and more nomadic livestock herders of Arab descent.

A few years ago when Bashir was in South Africa for a conference, the South African government secretly flew him out of the country in the face of legal proceedings there to arrest him and send him for trial.

The reality is that the AU is a club of those in power, designed to prevent real change rather than promote it. Although it claims to be against military coups it quickly accepted the military takeover in Zimbabwe when it became clear that the same people remained in charge. No doubt it will come to the same decision in Sudan, where a militarily led transitional government is set to be in power for the next two years.

Whether the people will accept this must be in doubt as they are thirsty for real change, just as they are in Zimbabwe, where the people are being told that the future is bright but there are just a few financial adjustments to be made first which may appear to make you poorer. Bear with it and tomorrow will be better.

President Mnangagwa must hope that his tentative moves towards reform will prevent serious unrest. Dispossessed white farmers have grasped at just an olive leaf of compensation and people in Matabeleland and the Midlands have been encouraged that Zanu PF is now gingerly engaging with the Gukurahundi genocide.

Other points

  • Thanks to those who came early to help set up the front table and put up the banners: Simbarashe Jingo, Jonathan Kariwo, Thomas Mahasoh, Gertrude Makosvo, Patricia Masamba, Margaret Munenge and Esther Munyira. Thanks to Patricia, Esther and Margaret for looking after the front table, to Simbarashe, Thomas, Daizy Fabian, Miriam Gasho, Tapiwa Muskwe and Simon Nyanhi for handing out flyers and to Patricia 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: 14 signed the register.

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • ROHR fundraising dinner. Saturday 27th April from 6 – 11.30 pm. Venue Zazas, 108 Whitechapel Road, London E1 1JE. Contact: Sipho Hobane 07400566013, Esther Munyira 07492058109, Fungisai Mupandira 07468504393, Casper Nyamakura 0757766912, Margaret Munenge 0739211743, Bianca Mpawaenda 07400566013 and Patricia Masamba 07708116625.
  • ROHR Reading branch general meeting and outreach. Saturday 27th April. General meeting from 11:30 am – 1:30 pm. Venue: Royal Festival hall, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX. Outreach from 2 – 5 pm at the Vigil. Contact: Joshua Kahari (branch information and publicity) 07877246251, Nicodimus Muganhu (branch chairperson) 07877386792, Alice Shimika (branch secretary) 07462067504
  • 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 for £10. 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:
 
In and out of the news – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 6th April 2019 PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 07 April 2019 20:53

Cyclone Idai drew world attention to our region at the sharp end of climate change with generous international aid pouring in to help the victims. Zimbabwe was again in the news.

There were many heart-warming and heartbreaking stories to be told. But the outside world should pay attention as well to other stories from Zimbabwe which offer an insight into a more complex problem than the consequences of the cyclone.

It appears to us at the Vigil that there has been a marked improvement in the quality of Zimbabwean journalism in the past decade. Of course, the state still controls the national television and radio services but many new online outlets have sprung up offering an alternative view.

Widespread access to the internet and social media through cell phones have eroded the government’s control of information, enabling people even in remote rural areas to get a different picture to that offered by government propaganda.

They will read breath-taking stories of corruption at, for instance, the Zimbabwe national roads administration (see: https://www.newsday.co.zw/2019/04/parly-turns-heat-on-zinara-board-management/) and the civil aviation authority (see: https://www.newsday.co.zw/2019/03/caaz-boss-chawota-suspended/).

In another publication they will find the Minister of Mines allegedly implicated in shady dealings at the state-owned Hwange Colliery (https://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/hwange-rotten-to-the-core-audit/).

It’s no surprise that the government is getting uneasy at news like this getting out. Police raided the offices of the news website 263 Chat after one of its journalists filmed them removing street vendors in Harare. Amnesty International described it as ‘a blatant assault on the right to freedom of expression and media freedom and demanded that the authorities end its attack on the media.

Other points

  • Thanks to those who came early to help set up the front table and put up the banners: Marvellous Chinguwa, Piyo Choga, Thomas Mahasoh, Alice Majola, Patricia Masamba, Collen Mupazviriho, Chipo Musodza and Maramura Nyirenda. Thanks to Alice, Chipo, Philip Maponga and Pamela Chirimuta for looking after the front table, to Marvellous, Thomas, Maramura, Pamela, Getrude Mudede, Chido Makawa and Tawanda Chitate for handing out flyers and to Patricia and Heather Makawa 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: 22 signed the register.

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • ROHR general members’ meeting. Saturday 13th April from 11 am. Venue: Royal Festival Hall. Contact: Ephraim Tapa 07940793090, Patricia Masamba 07708116625.
  • ROHR fundraising dinner. Saturday 27th April from 6 – 11.30 pm. Venue Zazas, 108 Whitechapel Road, London E1 1JE. Contact: Sipho Hobane 07400566013, Esther Munyira 07492058109, Fungisai Mupandira 07468504393, Casper Nyamakura 0757766912, Margaret Munenge 0739211743, Bianca Mpawaenda 07400566013 and Patricia Masamba 07708116625.
  • 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 for £10. 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:
 
Bums to the wind – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 30th March 2019 PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 31 March 2019 13:25

The Zimbabwean economist Tony Hawkins has urged President Mnangagwa to hold talks with the MDC leader Nelson Chamisa on the way forward for the country 

Hawkins said: ‘Ultimately the solution to Zimbabwe’s problems is political.  You can fiddle around with the economy as much as you like but you are not going to get a lasting solution without some form of political and social consensus.’

Mnangagwa has so far rejected bilateral discussion with Chamisa, insisting that the MDC should join in the joint talks he is having with other opposition parties. But Professor Hawkins, speaking at a meeting of the Institute of Directors, said there was no point in the MDC being grouped with people who got less than 0.5% of the vote last year whereas the MDC, he said, took something like 44%.

Hawkins said an agreement between Zanu PF and MDC had become inevitable because of the deteriorating economic situation and predicted an economic collapse if Mnangagwa government failed to build national consensus.

‘We have a very serious issue. We have an extremely fractured and polarised society. We have a rural electorate which supports government and we have younger and urban voters demanding change. How this plays out no one can tell. All we can say is I think the social and political climate will probably worsen as unemployment rises and it will, as poverty increases and it will.’ (See: https://www.thezimbabwemail.com/economic-analysis/solution-to-zimbabwes-problems-is-political/.)

Everyone at the Vigil, even if their families at home are not in danger, has been anxiously following news of the cyclone disaster, which has been given wide coverage here. We have been inspired by those who have rushed to help the victims and the generosity of so many others. 

Some Zimbabweans who are now living in Mozambique have kept in touch with the Vigil over the years and we have been worried about their horse sanctuary in Vilanculos near Beira. They report: ‘Thankfully for us and the horses we were totally unaffected but Pat had survived the cyclone in 2007 and during the 250 knot winds he had to untether the horses and let them go. Interestingly enough they made their own plan they moved to higher ground and formed a V formation with their bums and withstood the wind.’ Their website is http://www.mozambiquehorsesafari.com/.

Other points

FOR THE RECORD: 25 signed the register.

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • ROHR general members’ meeting. Saturday 13th April from 11 am. Venue: Royal Festival Hall. Contact: Ephraim Tapa 07940793090, Patricia Masamba 07708116625.
  • ROHR fundraising dinner. Saturday 27th April from 6 – 11.30 pm. Venue Zazas, 108 Whitechapel Road, London E1 1JE. Contact: Sipho Hobane 07400566013, Esther Munyira 07492058109, Fungisai Mupandira 07468504393, Casper Nyamakura 0757766912, Margaret Munenge 0739211743, Bianca Mpawaenda 07400566013 and Patricia Masamba 07708116625.
  • 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.
  • MDC London Branch meeting. Saturday 6th April from 12 noon – 2 pm. Venue: Royal Festival Hall. Contact: Netsai Makarichi 07592619201 and Flemming Diza 07960838847.
  • 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 for £10. 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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