BIZARRE: Pastor arrested – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 4th February 2017 PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 05 February 2017 15:52

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‘Jailed for protesting’ read one of the posters at the Vigil as we gathered in outrage at the arrest of Pastor Evan Mawarire, leader of #ThisFlag movement who was pounced on by a gaggle of CIO people at Harare airport when he arrived back on Tuesday.

BIZARRE seems to be the headline of choice for some websites to grab your attention. The scoop may be ‘goblins having sex with teachers in school’ or ‘Zimbabwean musician videos himself committing suicide’ or maybe ‘woman gives birth to frog baby’.

Well here’s the Vigil’s ‘scoop’. Human rights activist faces 20 years in jail for saying he doesn’t like the government – that is, if he is lucky.

Evan astonished everyone by his decision to return only six months after fleeing with his family to safety in the United States – defying divisive rumours fostered by the CIO. Why did he return? Surely it couldn’t be that he is a brave man acting out of love for his country? He must have known what he faced.

His lawyer Fadzayi Mahere posted: ‘Pastor Evan Mawarire has been classified as a “D” Class remand prisoner and is being detained at Chikurubi Prison where convicted murderers are held, instead of the normal remand holding centre. This is not about Pastor E as an individual but it’s a battle for the soul of Zimbabwe. Are we a constitutional democracy – where free speech, free assembly, free conscience and political rights are respected – or not? Do we speak out? Do we choose apathy? Do we hold onto disappointment that he chose family over fame – or do we rally behind what his incarceration represents for us as a country? Police cells are awful. Remand prison is inhuman. Chikurubi serious crimes section is hell.’

Evan can be comforted by the victory of protesters in Romania. Earlier this week hundreds of thousands gathered in the capital Bucharest and other cities to protest at a government decree allowing those guilty of corruption involving less than about $50,000 to escape prison.

Romanians were proud that their notoriously corrupt bureaucracy had been steadily cleaning up its act since joining the European Union. They weren’t persuaded by the government’s insistence that the decree  was for the best and duly turned out to protest the next night, and again the following night. Now the government has given in.

Hopefully Evan and people like him will see this same happy outcome in Zimbabwe. If he survives. The Vigil notes that a senior British diplomat has just been in Zimbabwe to see the situation for herself. We hope she will get the British government to tell Mugabe: if Evan dies in prison so do British diplomatic ties with Zimbabwe.

Vigil founder member and President of ROHR Ephraim Tapa told the Vigil that, with less than 18 months before the next elections, Zimbabwean activists should brace themselves for more persecution, abductions, torture and imprisonment. The Vigil displayed a poster from a ROHR supporter in Harare, Linda Masarira, who has launched a campaign for #21daysofactivism demanding changes every day until Mugabe’s birthday.

Other points

  • Vigil supporters in the UK were amused to read in the UK Times newspaper : After you, Mr Mugabe: Priti Patel, the international development secretary, was left circling at Addis Ababa airport far beyond her scheduled arrival time on Saturday evening. The minister was dropping in on some UK aid projects in Ethiopia and timed her visit to coincide with the African Union summit and cram in a couple of bilateral meetings. What she hadn’t counted on was landing at the same time as Robert Mugabe. Naturally, the Zimbabwean kleptocrat was granted priority as well as the full red carpet treatment. When Ms Patel’s plane eventually set down, she had to make her own way across the tarmac. There are some things aid can’t buy, it seems.’
  • We were glad to have with us Brighton Chireka, a founder member of the Vigil, now a busy doctor. 
  • Thanks to those who arrived early to help set up: Rashiwe Bayisayi, Muchineripi (Ebson) Chigwedere, Flemming Diza, Linda Dodzo, Sibongile Kadzima, Jean Kawara, Fungayi Mabhunu, Alice Majola, Nancy Makurira, Allen Mandaza, Theodora Mandishaya, Jenniffer Maritsa, Edna Mdoka, Gladys Meck, Darlington Mlambo, Benjamin Molife, Sharon Moyo, Eletha Mpofu, Tinotenda Mrewa, Roseline Mukucha, Alfredy Mukuvare, Simbarashe Mutero, Nontokozo Ncube, Mduduzi Ndlovu, Tsitsi Ndoro, Chipo Parirenyatwa, Aivet Phiri, Newman Richard, Tawanda Rusape, Rumbidzayi Sambana, Douglas Tavengwa and  Maureen Tavengwa. Thanks to Roseline, Cathrine Musa, Gladys, Nontokozo and Sharon for looking after the front table, to Chipo, Sibongile, Maureen and Rosemary Maponga for handing out flyers and selling wristbands and to Alfredy, Mduduzi, Newman, Tinotenda, Simbarashe, Tawanda and Darlington for putting up the banners.

For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website. The facebook page for our sister organisation Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) (https://www.facebook.com/ROHR-Zimbabwe-Restoration-of-Human-Rights-301811392835) has been hijacked by destructive elements from a group calling itself ZHRO. Please be advised that any postings on this page are not posted by ROHR.

FOR THE RECORD: 68 signed the register.

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • ROHR Southampton branch meeting. Wednesday 8th February from 12 noon – 1 pm for committee meeting and from 1 – 3 pm for general members meeting. Venue: Eastleigh Library, Swan Shopping and Leisure Centre, Swan Centre, Eastleigh SO50 5SF. Contact: Ben Semwayo (Chair) 07401611932, Grace Rukure (Secretary) 07462103397 and Reuben Waretza (Publicity and Advocacy) 07946 607 617.
  • ROHR Leicester branch general meeting. Saturday 11th February from 2 – 4 pm. Venue: the Salvation Army New Parks, 330 Aikman Aveue, Leicester LE3 9PW. Contact: Enniah Dube 07403439707, Yvonne Makombe 07453909247 and Moline Nyabonda 07961250525.
  • ROHR Central London branch meeting. Saturday 11th February from 11.30 am – 1.30 pm. Venue: Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX. Contact: Daisy Fabian 07708653640, Maxmus Savanhu 07397809056, Sipho Ndlovu 07400566013.
  • ROHR Slough branch meeting. Saturday 11th February from 11 am – 1 pm. Venue: Upton Lea Community Centre, Wexham Road, Slough, SL2 5JW.   For further information contact Patricia Masamba (Chair) 07708116625, Fungisai Mupandira (Organising Secretary) 07758958803, Sharon Zimuto (Publicity and Advocacy) 07950837841.
  • 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.
  • Monthly Itai Dzamara protest. Saturday 11th February. From 2 – 6 pm outside the Zimbabwe Embassy. The protest is to mark twenty-three months since Itai’s abduction by intelligence agents.
  • Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 18th February from 10 am to 1 pm outside the Swaziland High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.
  • Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF). Saturday 18th February from 6.30 pm. Venue: to be advised. ZAF meets regularly after the Vigil to discuss ways to help those back in Zimbabwe to fight oppression and achieve true democracy.
  • Zimbabwe Yes We Can Movement holds meetings in London as the political face of ROHR and the Vigil.
  • Zimbabwe Vigil Highlights 2016 can be viewed on this link: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/843-zimbabwe-vigil-highlights-2016. Links to previous years’ highlights are listed on 2016 Highlights page.
  • Facebook pages:
 
Mugabe’s mega delusions – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 28th January 2017 PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 29 January 2017 14:37

Zimbabwe’s Christmas holidays drew to a close on Friday with the fleeting return to Harare of President Mugabe after six weeks gallivanting around the world. The government can now turn its attention to the main business facing the country: preparations for the President’s 93rd birthday party on the grave of Cecil Rhodes next month.

The two Vice-Presidents, accompanied by a variety of cabinet ministers and senior officials, were at the airport to brief the presidential couple on preparations for the celebrations. They obviously had good news as Mugabe was said to have been in high spirits. He, in turn, assured them that his holiday had not been all frolics. He had, for one thing, interrupted it to see China’s President Xi, who had assured him he would help as much as possible with the mega deals agreed some years ago.

Unfortunately, Mugabe had no news of a mega financial bailout to enable the government to pay its mega workers and enable the country to pay for its mega imports. The Vigil believes this is a mega problem and all the government’s mega promises are mega delusions.

As if to prove it, the mega welcoming delegation returned to the airport today to say a mega farewell to the President who, having refilled his mega wallet, flew off to Addis Ababa for a mega African Union meeting on ‘Harnessing the Demographic Dividend for Investment in the Youth’.

The youth of Zimbabwe await the outcome with bated breath.

Other points  

  • Zanu PF’s anti-Vigil reappeared outside the Embassy today after their Christmas vacation but only six people took part and they left dispirited after less than an hour. Come on, earn your money!
  • Thanks to those who arrived early to help set up: Mercy Bayipayi, Joseph Chivayo, Deborah Harry, Fungayi Mabhunu, Emmanuel Magarira, Phillip Mahlahla, Alice Majola, Benjamin Molife, Alfredy Mukuvare, Nontokozo Ncube, Pretty Okechukwu, Tawanda Rusape and Maxmus Savanhu. Thanks to Cathrine Musa, Nontokozo, Alice, Deborah and Pretty for looking after the front table, to Alice and Nomusa Dube for handing out flyers and selling wristbands and to Phillip, Alfredy, Maxmus, Emmanuel, Tawanda, Joseph and Benjamin for putting up the banners and tarpaulin.

For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website. The facebook page for our sister organisation Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) (https://www.facebook.com/ROHR-Zimbabwe-Restoration-of-Human-Rights-301811392835) has been hijacked by destructive elements from a group calling itself ZHRO. Please be advised that any postings on this page are not posted by ROHR.

FOR THE RECORD: 36 signed the register.

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 4th February from 10 am to 1 pm outside the Swaziland High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.
  • ROHR Central London branch meeting. Saturday 11th February from 11.30 am – 1.30 pm. Venue: Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX. Contact: Daisy Fabian 07708653640, Maxmus Savanhu 07397809056, Sipho Ndlovu 07400566013.
  • ROHR Slough branch meeting. Saturday 11th February from 11 am – 1 pm. Venue: Upton Lea Community Centre, Wexham Road, Slough, SL2 5JW.   For further information contact Patricia Masamba (Chair) 07708116625, Fungisai Mupandira (Organising Secretary) 07758958803, Sharon Zimuto (Publicity and Advocacy) 07950837841.
  • 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.
  • Monthly Itai Dzamara protest Saturday 11th February. From 2 – 6 pm outside the Zimbabwe Embassy. The protest is to mark twenty-three months since Itai’s abduction by intelligence agents.
  • Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF) meets regularly after the Vigil to discuss ways to help those back in Zimbabwe to fight oppression and achieve true democracy.
  • Zimbabwe Yes We Can Movement holds meetings in London as the political face of ROHR and the Vigil. 
  • Zimbabwe Vigil Highlights 2016 can be viewed on this link: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/843-zimbabwe-vigil-highlights-2016. Links to previous years’ highlights are listed on 2016 Highlights page.
  • Facebook pages:
 
Grace the Trump of Zimbabwe – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 21st January 2017 PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 22 January 2017 17:34

The $1.35 million diamond recently bought by Grace Mugabe was only the sparkler on top of a $7.5 million spending spree. Apart from the diamond, Grace is known to have also recently paid $4.5 million for a large property in Borrowdale close to the mansion where the Mugabes live, in preference to State House.   

The Teede family who sold the property understandably do not want to discuss the deal but a local resident said: ‘The Teedes probably decided to sell their home and land to Grace Mugabe because they feared she would take it if they refused. We understand Grace Mugabe wants this property to develop many upmarket homes in a security estate.’

Property magnate Grace is also spending money on an expensive private school complex near Mazowe village about 20 kilometres west of Harare on land seized without payment from an old white couple fifteen years ago. A teacher there said pupils, mostly boarders, were charged $3,700 a term. The complex is below a huge luxury home Grace finished building last year. 

Dr Grace is reported to have taken about a dozen other properties, mostly white-owned farms, since 2001. Robert has lagged behind, seizing only about six farms for himself. But then he is getting on a bit (see: http://www.iol.co.za/news/africa/grace-mugabe-on-r100m-spending-spree-7217505).

Revelations of Grace’s spending spree came as it emerged that the Mugabes are paying up to half a million dollars a year on renting a ten bedroom house in Dubai. The disclosure came in an affidavit filed in the High Court this week in relation to the legal dispute over Grace’s diamond, which was bought in Dubai.

What is clear to the Vigil, in light of the vast wealth of the Mugabes, is that they have enough resources on their own to be sure of winning next year’s elections. All the old Zanu PF tricks have been deployed in today’s Bikita West by-election, even down to Zanu PF telling voters to declare that they are illiterate so that they can be ‘helped’ to vote for Zanu PF.

Apart from the predictable violence, intimidation etc, traditional rulers have been coerced into working for Zanu PF and there has been the usual partisan food distribution and fertiliser allocation to Zanu PF supporters. People have been told that Zanu PF has the serial numbers which will allow them to identify voters. And then, of course, there is the bribery . . .

Other points

  • The Vigil was joined by many women who had taken part in a big ‘Dump Trump’ demonstration in nearby Trafalgar Square in support of American women upset at the property billionaire’s misogynistic remarks during the presidential election campaign. Many protesters came by and signed our petition and contributed generously to our cause.
  • Supporters will be aware that the Vigil helped close the medical clinic in Nottingham run by Dr Sylvester Nyatsuro and his wife (connected to the Mugabes) who said they were given a farm in Zimbabwe even though they lived in England. Our protest led to a damning inspection of the clinic. Latest word of the Nyatsuros’ farming experiment: ‘A once thriving tobacco farm where a white Zimbabwean farmer and his wife lived for 35 years before being turfed out by a British doctor lies empty. Six foot tall tobacco plants which were lovingly tended to by 40 staff last year have been replaced by weeds, and the swish of water pumping onto crops is no more’ (see: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4106048/Pictured-Haunting-images-lush-tobacco-fields-seized-white-farmers-Mugabe-thugs-given-British-GP-reduced-pathetic-field-weeds.html).
  • The Vigil was amused by a tweet from Education Minister Jonathan Moyo: ‘The Gambian people did not vote for war, they voted for Adama Barrow and their vote must count!’ The Vigil asks since when does the will of voters count for Moyo and Zanu PF? We heard a former Gambian minister on the BBC World Service saying the Gambian President, like many other African leaders, believed he owned the country and that he could just change the constitution at will to stay in power. The minister said the  intervention by neighbouring West African states to secure his departure would help all of Africa. The Vigil thinks it is a pity that SADC does not also support constitutionalism.
  • Listening to a Nigerian musician talking about African governance, we were struck by his description of African rulers as ‘executhieves and legislooters’. Rings a bell.
  • Thanks to those who arrived early to help set up: Tawanda Chitate, Daizy Fabian, Dambudzo Gororo, Sibongile Gumbo, Fungayi Mabhunu, Honest Madondo, Phillip Mahlahla, Alice Majola, Heather Makawa, David Makuyana, Theodora Mandishaya, Rosemary Maponga, Benjamin Molife, Tinotenda Mrewa, Lloyd Mudzengerere, Erica Mukosha, Roseline Mukucha, Alfredy Mukuvare, Xavier Murape, Virginia Mutyambizi, Nontokozo Ncube, Mduduzi Ndlovu, Sipho Ndlovu, Pretty Okechukwu, Jennipher Sabe, Rumbidzayi Sambana, Maxmus Savanhu and Portiah Tobaiwa. Thanks to Roseline, Cathrine Musa, Nontokozo and Alice M for looking after the front table, to Rumbidzayi, Dambudzo, Heather, Tawanda, Theodora, Tinotenda and Newman Richard for handing out flyers and selling wristbands, to Phillip, Alfredy, Maxmus, Tinotenda and Sipho for putting up the banners and to Rosemary and Mavis Chisvo for making tea. 

For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website. The facebook page for our sister organisation Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) (https://www.facebook.com/ROHR-Zimbabwe-Restoration-of-Human-Rights-301811392835) has been hijacked by destructive elements from a group calling itself ZHRO. Please be advised that any postings on this page are not posted by ROHR.

FOR THE RECORD: 44 signed the register. 

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 4th February from 10 am to 1 pm outside the Swaziland High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.
  • Monthly Itai Dzamara protest Saturday 11th February. From 2 – 6 pm outside the Zimbabwe Embassy. The protest is to mark twenty-three months since Itai’s abduction by intelligence agents.
  • ROHR Central London branch meeting. Saturday 11th February from 11.30 am – 1.30 pm. Venue: Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX. Contact: Daisy Fabian 07708653640, Maxmus Savanhu 07397809056, Sipho Ndlovu 07400566013.
  • ROHR Slough branch meeting. Saturday 11th February 2017 from 11 am – 1 pm. Venue: Upton Lea Community Centre, Wexham Road, Slough, SL2 5JW.   For further information contact Patricia Masamba (Chair) 07708116625, Fungisai Mupandira (Organising Secretary) 07758958803, Sharon Zimuto (Publicity and Advocacy) 07950837841.

    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.
  • Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF) meets regularly after the Vigil to discuss ways to help those back in Zimbabwe to fight oppression and achieve true democracy.
  • Zimbabwe Yes We Can Movement holds meetings in London as the political face of ROHR and the Vigil.
  • Zimbabwe Vigil Highlights 2016 can be viewed on this link: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/843-zimbabwe-vigil-highlights-2016. Links to previous years’ highlights are listed on 2016 Highlights page.
  • Facebook pages:
 
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