Bogus Profits – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 3rd November 2018 PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 04 November 2018 22:26

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There will always be a miracle to rescue Zimbabwe. It might not be the cure for AIDS announced by Profit Magaya. But the prospect of oil gushing in Muzarabani will do for now to dampen disquiet over the country’s economic chaos.

It was a beaming President Mnangagwa – sweating in his trademark scarf – who rushed to the cameras to announce the news of this latest ‘game-changer’: a joint project with an obscure Australian group Invictus Energy to drill an oil well.

Cue: national euphoria. Our problems will be over. But the next day the prospects seemed rather less buoyant. Invictus said there had been no oil or gas discovery; a discovery could only be confirmed by drilling an exploratory well (see: http://www.newsdzezimbabwe.co.uk/2018/11/invictus-no-oil-discovery-in-zim.html) 

Zimbabweans live in hope. Last time it was the diamonds. And what happened to that money? President Mugabe said $15 billion of diamonds had ‘disappeared’. So even if in the years to come someone finds oil in Zimbabwe where will the money go? The prospect is that the president would announce that another $15 billion had simply disappeared.

Who that president will be is really irrelevant. Recent disclosures have cast a new light on the shadowy figures who really call the tune in Zimbabwe. The lawyer Alex Magaisa now, like so many Zimbabweans, in exile, says the new finance minister Mthuli Ncube must have been appalled at the levels of corruption he found when he started looking at the state of the economy after he descended from his ivory tower to join the cabinet. 

Magaisa says: ‘He would have been aware that there was a problem, but he might not have been prepared for the complex web of corrupt relationships and deals behind the veil of government. One feature that he may have observed is the presence of a powerful clique of individuals who control not only key sectors of the economy but also government itself.’

Magaisa examines Ncube’s on/off appointment of William Mutumanje (known as Acie Lumumba) as leader of his ‘communications taskforce’ which, Magaisa says, revealed scandalous details regarding grand corruption at the Reserve Bank, claiming that government was captured. To add drama and mystery to it, he withheld the name of the alleged captor of the State, simply referring to him as the ‘Queen Bee’.

Magaisa continued: ‘Seasoned watchers of the Zimbabwean political scene had already worked out that Mutumanje was probably referring to one Kudakwashe Tagwirei, boss of Sakunda Holdings, which was reportedly bought by Trafigura, a large commodities multinational which describes itself as being “at the heart of the global economy”. Sakunda has lucrative connections with the government in areas such as power-generation, mining and agriculture, among other major deals.’

He adds that the ‘Queen Bee’ is best seen not as an individual but as a group – the oligarchy – consisting of an influential network of political, military and business elites. He describes the oligarchy as government by the few who are rich and greedy over the many who are poor.

He concludes: ‘It is difficult to see how the oligarchy can be displaced without the removal of Zanu PF and the re-establishment of the democratic order. At the moment, Zimbabwe is not a democracy. It is an oligarchy. Plato told us that an oligarchy would eventually crumble when the inequality and poverty in society forced the impoverished poor to rise against the oligarchs. Therefore, the greatest danger of the oligarchy lies in the oligarchy’s own selfishness and inability to attend to the problems of the poor.’ (See: https://www.bigsr.co.uk/single-post/2018/10/27/Big-Saturday-Read-Our-Thing---Understanding-Zimbabwe%E2%80%99s-Oligarchy.)

Other points

  • It was good to have Nkululeko Sibanda, Nelson Chamisa’s spokesperson, with us at the Vigil today. He said he saluted the Vigil for sticking to its principled stand for this long – a struggle for human rights and free and fair elections. He encouraged us to remain steadfast and said that Zimbabwe will be free someday. We were also pleased to be joined by former Vigil co-ordinator Dumi Tutani.
  • Thanks to those who helped out today: Jonathan Kariwo, Tryness Ncube, Simbarashe Jingo and Tawanda Chitate for putting up the banners, Tryness and Chido for looking after the front table, Tawanda, Simbarashe, Heather Makawa and Bianca Mpawaenda for handing out flyers and Heather, Jonathan and Grace Nyaumwe for taking 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: 20 signed the register. 

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • ROHR Central London branch meeting. Saturday 17th November 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.
  • Zimbabwe Action Forum meets regularly after the Vigil to discuss ways to help those back in Zimbabwe to fight oppression and achieve true democracy.
  • Facebook pages:
 
The bee stings – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 27th October 2018 PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 29 October 2018 07:07

https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/30656828397/sizes/m
MDC anniversary rally in Harare

As the MDC marked its 19th anniversary, Nelson Chamisa accused President Mnangagwa of backtracking on a promise to form an inclusive government. And he warned that this was the only way to unite the country and win international goodwill.

Chamisa insisted he didn’t want another government of national unity but a transitional authority which would return the country to legitimacy and enable it to get an emergency rescue package to kick-start the economy. He said: ‘The economy is always the mirror through which we see the real national situation and you have seen how it is behaving. There is deep seated dislocation, a deficit of leadership, governance, trust and confidence’ (see: https://www.newsday.co.zw/2018/10/mnangagwa-cornered-chamisa/).

His comments came against a backdrop of chaos in the finance ministry and at the Reserve Bank, where four top officials have been suspended following allegations that they were feeding the currency black market. The allegations were made by newly-appointed chair of the finance ministry trouble-shooting task force William Mutumanje, widely known as Acie Lumumba, who was immediately fired.

Acie said the four officials worked with someone known as the ‘queen bee’ who had links with the fuel industry and was trying to ‘capture the state’. Acie said they were manipulating the currency market, and, relieved of his post, he was now free to disclose secrets about ‘what’s really going on’ (see: https://www.news24.com/Africa/Zimbabwe/controversial-activist-fired-after-exposing-rot-at-zim-central-bank-20181025).

The worried diaspora at the Vigil were given the latest news from the ground by a Zimbabwean charity worker visiting London.. She said her work with the desperately poor saw no immediate prospect of improvement. ‘The poor are taking the brunt of the political mismanagement in the country’, she said  

Other points

  • Thanks to those who put up the banners, looked after the front table, handed out flyers and cleared up at the end: Joanathan Kariwo, Linda Dodzo, Casper Nyamakura, Ephraim Tapa, Grace Nyaumwe and Lawrence Mbamarwo.
  • 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: 11 signed the register.

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • ROHR Central London branch meeting. Saturday 17th November 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.
  • Zimbabwe Action Forum meets regularly after the Vigil to discuss ways to help those back in Zimbabwe to fight oppression and achieve true democracy.
  • Facebook pages:
 
Cynicism reigns – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 20th October 2018 PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 21 October 2018 14:16

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Happymore Chidziva MP addresses Vigil and MDC activists 

‘Electric car causes stir in fuel-starved Zimbabwe’ read the headline today on News 24. We can understand why the sight prompted interest given the return of long queues for fuel.

But then reality kicked in. What about the difficulty recharging the car when electricity supplies are so erratic? Perhaps that was why the car was seen on the back of a recovery vehicle, thought the cynics. At least it wasn’t another $3 million Bugati seen being unloaded at Robert Mugabe International a few weeks ago. 

Cynicism now reigns in Zimbabwe. Few now trust what they are told by the authorities. Even Zanu PF is increasingly rejecting the fantasy world bequeathed by ‘son of God’ Mugabe.

Deputy Information Minister Energy Mutode recognizes the problem: ‘This is an economy that is dealing with a legacy of . . . Mugabe. We are now in a new dispensation . . . so there are a number of economic issues we need to correct . . . Zimbabwe very much needs to access multi-lateral funding for its debt and if that doesn’t happen we will be in crisis.’ (See: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/oct/19/zimbabwe-needs-aid-to-prevent-further-crisis-warns-ruling-party.)

Everyone experiences this on the streets. The value of bond notes has collapsed, as the Vigil predicted it would when they were introduced two years ago. Our diary of 26th November 2016 noted ‘because Zimbabweans have lived through this asset stripping before, they know exactly what to expect. Savings will be wiped out by rapidly depreciating Mickey Mouse money for the benefit of the elite which will externalize all remaining US dollars in the country’.

Now we hear that people suspected of externalizing funds are not being taken to court because the national prosecution authority does not yet have a substantive Prosecutor-General in office. A lawyer commented: ‘Economic crime is rife in Zimbabwe but there is no political will to deal with it (see: https://bulawayo24.com/index-id-news-sc-national-byo-147681.html).

The new Finance Minister Ncube realizes what’s happened and has announced the scrapping of the vaunted farm mechanization programme introduced by Mugabe in 2007. It was, he said, ‘riddled with corruption.’ A number of unnamed members of the political elite were said to have given themselves irrigation equipment, brand new tractors, combine harvesters and other farming materials. The loans were never paid back and the government had to write off more that $200 million. Mr Ncube’s decision came despite the government’s farming policy being championed by Vice President Chiwenga who said Zimbabwe could again become Africa’s bread basket.

This Zimbabwean delusion is scrutinised in an article by Michelle D Gavin, senior fellow for Africa Studies at the US Council on Foreign Relations. She says: ‘State media trumpets headlines about breakthroughs with the international financial institutions or new investments from abroad, but closer inspection tends to reveal far less than meets the eye. When creditors agree to a payment plan to clear longstanding debts, it doesn’t mean that new loans are coming, or even that arrears will actually get cleared. When start-up hedge funds commit to try to raise capital for unspecified projects in the future, it doesn’t mean that an influx of dollars has been secured. In their quest to paint a picture of a new dawn, Zimbabwean officials keep overselling small and preliminary steps, undermining their own credibility’ (see: https://www.cfr.org/blog/zimbabwes-falling-expectations).

The failure of the government to follow up on its promises, for instance in implementing the electoral reforms required by the constitution, has not gone unnoticed abroad. Those international electoral observers that matter were less than enthusiastic about the elections and even the others were shocked by the army’s shootings in Harare. The upshot is that Zimbabwe is not seen as ‘open for business’. A touted investment conference has been postponed for a year and prospects of being invited to rejoin the Commonwealth have dimmed according to Sue Onslow, Deputy Director of the Institute of Commonwealth Studies.

People have been disillusioned by the Mugabe fantasies: now they are increasing becoming cynical about the promises of the Mnangagwa regime. 

Other points

  • The Vigil drew its biggest attendance for some time, boosted by MDC members who came to support MDC MP for Highfield Happymore Chidziva, who is MDC National Youth Chair. Mr Chidziva said the Vigil’s weekly protest outside the Embassy was very important and our message was getting through.
  • Thanks to those who came early to help set up the table and put up the banners: Shylette Chipangura, Daizy Fabian, Hellena Gusinyu, Deborah Harry, Josephine Jombe, Joshua Kahari, Junior Madzimure, Chido Makawa, Heather Makawa, Rosemary Maponga, Patricia Masamba, Joyce Mbairatsunga, Getrude Mudede, Nicodimus Muganhu, Margaret Munenge, Esther Munyira, Sipho Ndlovu, Molly Ngavaimbe, Pearl Shambare, Alice Shimika, Minienhle Sibanda, Ephraim Tapa and Sharon Zimuto. Thanks also to Josephine and Pearl for looking after the front table and to Heather and Pearl for handing out flyers.
  • A special thank you to Rose Maponga and Nyarai Masvosva for bringing sadza and stew to fundraise for the Vigil.
  • 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: 43 signed the register but there were many more than that present.

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

 
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