What’s to celebrate? – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 17th April 2021 PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 19 April 2021 07:21

41 years of independence on 18th April will not be marked with much enthusiasm as people struggle to survive with young girls selling their bodies for a few vegetables.

 

The plight of Zimbabwean women was graphically described by the writer and activist Tsitsi Dangarembga in an interview with the BBC in which she spoke of people living at the very edge of survival in desperate poverty and deprivation (see: https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m000v6d9/hardtalk-tsitsi-dangarembga-writer-and-activist).

 

Her remarks were supported by the government’s own report of a major jump in teenage pregnancies (see: https://www.voanews.com/episode/zimbabwe-reports-major-rise-teen-pregnancies-during-pandemic-4658971).

 

What progress have we made after 41 years under Zanu PF when we have a female opposition MP returned to jail following her 129th appearance in court in the past year for allegedly breaking coronavirus regulations? Joanah Mamombe, MP for Harare West, along with other MDC Alliance women were dumped partially clothed after being tortured and abused.

 

In a letter to her mother smuggled out of her cell she said she was ‘even ready to die for the struggle’. Her mother Kudzayi Chiwanza, a university lecturer, said that the torment was taking its toll. ‘I am not ok. I am in terrible shape. You cannot sleep or be fine when your child is being tortured like this.’ (see: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/1134-tortured-zimbabwean-opposition-mp-joanah-mamombe-sent-back-to-jail).

 

The unresolved problems of independence and bad governance have prompted Amnesty International to produce a report highlighting the ‘misery of statelessness’ of hundreds of thousands of people in Zimbabwe denied citizenship. They include descendants of migrant workers as well as survivors of the Gukurahundi genocide of the 1980s who cannot produce the required paperwork.

 

‘For Zimbabwe’s stateless, everyday life is filled with obstacles. Accessing education, healthcare and employment can be a nightmare, and the sense of exclusion and rejection is soul destroying,’ said Muleya Mwananyanda, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Southern Africa (see: https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2021/04/zimbabwe-statelessness-crisis-traps-hundreds-of-thousands-in-limbo/).

 

Former Zanu PF cabinet minister Jonathan Moyo, now in exile, says those who took part in the post-independence massacres in Matabeleland and Midlands provinces should face justice for their crimes. ‘We also need to find a lasting solution in order to enable the victims of the genocide the opportunity to heal,’ he said (see: https://www.newzimbabwe.com/moyo-calls-for-justice-on-gukurahundi-perpetrators/).

 

Other Points:

  • A point made by Tsitsi Dangarembga in her BBC interview was the pressure put on opposition politicians to defect to Zanu PF – tempted by the advantages of belonging to the governing party. Indeed some recent defectors are already demanding farms and mines as their due.
  • Newsday reports that the European Union representative in Zimbabwe, Timo Olkkonen, said that Zimbabwe deserves a ‘viable’ opposition to keep the government in check. Newsday says the comment came after reports that the EU has told MDC T leader Douglas Mwonzora that it did not recognise his claim to MDC leadership because he didn’t take part in the last elections (see: https://www.newsday.co.zw/2021/04/zim-needs-viable-opposition-eu/).
  • In the interests of justice, you might like to look at the case of Gift Kanjana who won the parliamentary seat in Chegutu West for the MDC A two years and eight months ago but can’t take his seat despite appealing to the courts for justice. At the last hearing, Justice Bharet admitted the appeal had merit but said it had exceeded the time limit stipulated by the electoral act . . . (see: https://kubatana.net/2021/04/07/zimbabwe-2018-electoral-disputes-continue-to-challenge-legitimacy/).
  • Because of the coronavirus we can no longer physically meet outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London, so we have a virtual Vigil while the restrictions continue. 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.

 

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
 
Journey’s End – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 10th April 2021 PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 11 April 2021 14:00

https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/51109117653/sizes/m/

 

Zimbabweans in the UK join in mourning the passing of the Queen’s husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, who died only a couple of months short of his 100th birthday. We know he took a great interest in Africa and was particularly concerned about wild life issues – one thing on which he was allowed to express his opinions without diplomatic constraint!

 

The Duke was also a strong supporter of the Commonwealth, which Zimbabwe is aspiring to rejoin after President Mugabe walked out after the condemnation of the violent land seizures. The Vigil would be happy to see Zimbabwe back in the Commonwealth, which embraces many of our neighbours in Africa. Together we would surely be stronger.

 

But one of the aims of the Commonwealth is the promotion of human rights and Zimbabwe may well be regarded as suspect in this. Zimbabwean human rights activist Tony Reeler says in an article in the Daily Maverick: ‘Increasing human rights violations and corruption demonstrate that the government of President Emmerson Mnangagwa is unable to undertake the kinds of reforms that would allow the country to re-enter the international arena, and most importantly find a way to solve the major obstacle to obtaining international finance — paying off its debts. 

 

‘It is clear that until Zimbabwe pays its debts there will be no substantial economic re-engagement. Yet the country will be unable to do this without reforms that guarantee human rights, the rule of law and an end to rampant corruption.’

 

Reeler says the MDC Alliance must regain the status of a mass movement and recruit civil society as a partner ‘winning the streets’. This did not necessarily mean protests and demonstrations, but rather making clear, articulate and consistent demands.

 

‘The only coherent end goal must be a transitional arrangement that will undertake the kinds of reforms that arrest the decline, reform the state, create the conditions for an eventual election whose result cannot be contested by the loser if it is found to be acceptable regionally and internationally.’

 

Reeler continued: ‘It is definitely time for opposition political parties and civil society to come up with a national response to a national crisis: the ordinary, deeply suffering citizens of Zimbabwe deserve no less.It is also time for the region and the international community to unite in a cohesive push for a mediated settlement. This needs to be supported by SADC, which also needs to admit that Zimbabwe is patently not adhering to the SADC Treaty.’ (See: https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2021-04-06-zimbabwe-can-recover-but-the-opposition-and-the-region-particularly-south-africa-will-have-to-step-up-to-the-plate/.)

 

Other Points:

 

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

 
SADC troops for Mozambique? – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 3rd April 2021 PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 04 April 2021 13:09

The Southern African Development Community has moved closer to taking action against the Islamist terrorists who have left a bloody trail of decapitated heads in the northern Cabo Delgado province of Mozambique.

 

President Masisi of Botswana, Chair of SADC’s security troika, indicated after talks in Harare with previous Chair President Mnangagwa that SADC was likely to take military action ‘to ensure the integrity and sovereignty of one of our own now being assailed by dissidents’. He said he had already had talks with the third member of the troika President Ramaphosa of South Africa (see: https://www.herald.co.zw/sadc-talks-tough-on-mozambique-bandits/).

 

A four-year insurgency by Islamist militants has seen many people killed and some 650,000 displaced. The Mozambican government has had to call on private military contractors from South Africa and Russia for help, but the Russians withdrew after heavy losses.

 

In the latest fighting, Islamic State militants seized the town of Palma threatening a nearby US$20 billion French Total company exploiting natural gas reserves. The South African mercenaries used helicopters to rescue some people from the town, one of them a man desperately disguised as a woman, but Total refused to supply fuel when the helicopters ran low.

 

The UK redeployed some of its soldiers from Kenya to help the rescue but expatriates were among the hundred or so people killed, casting doubt over the future of the regional oil development – at US$60 billion the biggest in Africa (see: https://www.herald.co.zw/attacks-threaten-mozambiques-future/).

 

Martin Ewi of the Institute for Strategic Studies in South Africa has urged South Africa to send in troops to end what he called ‘the reign of terror’ by Islamic State jihadists who wanted to establish Sharia Law not only in Cabo Delgado but all over Mozambique.

 

He said there was a possibility of attacks spreading to neighbouring South Africa and Zimbabwe adding that there were already active Islamic State cells in South Africa. ‘We need a regional response in order to make sure that even if we eliminate the Islamic State in Mozambique, it will not pop up somewhere else – which is most likely if we deal with this purely as a Mozambican problem,’ Ewi said (See: https://www.biznews.com/africa/2021/03/30/isis-mozambique-sa).

 

A correspondent for the UK Times, Jane Flanagan, has filed a graphic report for the paper headlined ‘Expats in Mozambique faced a ring of murderous jihadists. It was do or die.’

 

Flanagan says a Zimbabwean construction firm boss, Brendon Bekker, went to Palma in a supply vessel. One of his colleagues was shot dead when militants fired from the shore. ‘There were people all over the different beaches,’ he said. ‘Everyone fearing for their lives and thinking they weren’t going to make it out.’ (See: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/1129-expats-in-mozambique-faced-a-ring-of-murderous-jihadists-it-was-do-or-die.)

 

Other Points:

  • More than 40 years after Zanu PF came to power following the liberation struggle, President Mnangagwa has urged the ever-growing number of ‘was veterans’ to put aside their walking sticks and rally behind the party in the 2023 elections. Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition says: ‘we hope the President’s call for war veterans to mobilise and campaign for Zanu PF does not translate into reactivation of the ruling party’s violence machinery.’ (See: https://www.thezimbabwean.co/2021/03/fears-of-violence-in-2023-elections-as-re-engagement-suffers-major-blow/.)
  • Because of the coronavirus we can no longer physically meet outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London, so we have a virtual Vigil while the restrictions continue. 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.

 

Notices:

  • The Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) is the Vigil’s partner organisation based in Zimbabwe. ROHR grew out of the need for the Vigil to have an organisation 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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