Overcoming fear – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 13th May 2017 PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 15 May 2017 10:44

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Supporters of Restoration of Human Rights gathered at the Vigil to give a send-off to ROHR activist Sipho Ndlovu who will be cycling through England for seven days to raise funds for the Zimbabwe Peace Actors’ Platform (ZimPAP). Sipho will cover 324 miles from Nottingham to London, calling at Leicester, Birmingham, Oxford, Southampton, Reading and Slough.

ZimPAP was formed by ROHR International together with 18 other Zimbabwean civil society organisations, including Heal Zimbabwe, the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace and Amnesty International. Its aim is peace-building and the prevention of violence around next year’s elections.

ROHR President Ephraim Tapa was enthusiastic about the initiative, which he said would curb voter manipulation by encouraging co-operation across the political divide to overcome fear.

During the week Ephraim and others from the Vigil and ROHR had a meeting in London with visiting Senator Michael Carter of MDC T, which discussed ways of reassuring rural voters that they could safely support the party of their choice.

Senator Carter was impressed by the success of the ZimPAP programme in Mashonaland East and suggested that people from the urban areas should be sent to cover all rural polling stations, before, during and after the voting to counter intimidation.

Senator Carter, his wife Judy, as well as two sons and a grandson, joined us at the Vigil and were given a warm welcome, especially when they spoke Shona and joined in the singing and dancing.

Senator Carter was given a Vigil cap. He encouraged us to continue our work and said, though we had all been naïve about how difficult change was going to be, we should be confident that it would come. The problem was the fear in the rural areas which needed to be overcome. Judy Carter went on to say how important the diaspora had been and said ‘Don’t give up. You have kept your relatives alive.’

We all wished Sipho well as he set off on his bike to catch his train to Nottingham. To sponsor Sipho please visit: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/sipho-ndlovu and to follow his journey check the ROHR facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Restoration-of-Human-Rights-ROHR-Zimbabwe-International-370825706588551/.

Other points

  • The Vigil was not surprised that Zanu PF wants to abolish dual citizenship which has been provided for in the vaunted ‘new’ constitution of 2013. Registrar-General Tobaiwa Mudede said dual citizenship posed ‘security challenges’ and made it clear the government regards the constitution as a pick-and-choose document (see: http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/zimsit-m-govt-to-abolish-dual-citizenship/).
  • Japanese expert on Zimbabwe, Ken Yamamoto, says that if Zimbabwe had proper leaders it could have been the Singapore or South Korea of Africa by now with a $100 billion economy. GDP this year is estimated at below $15 billion (see: http://bulawayo24.com/index-id-news-sc-national-byo-110217.html).
  • Former Finance Minister and presidential candidate Simba Makoni dismissed Mugabe’s recent denial that Zimbabwe is a fragile state. Makoni said the economy was collapsing: ‘Government can’t pay its workers. Hospitals and schools are sustained by donors. We have the highest ratio of graduate informal traders in the world,' Makoni tweeted. ‘Up to one third of the population are economic refugees. It is estimated that approximately three million Zimbabweans are living in South Africa, many of them illegally. Public infrastructure is decrepit and dysfunctional. National roads are pot-holed. For nearly 20 years, people who fed themselves before have survived on food aid. The economy shrank to 40 per cent of its size in 10 years,’ he said (see: http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/zimsit-m-mugabe-also-fearful-makoni/).
  • Thanks to those who arrived early to help set up: Vimbayi Chambara, Muchineripi Chigwedere, Mavis Chisvo, Isabell Gwatidzo, Josephine Jombe, Fungayi Mabhunu, Thomas Machingauta, Alice Majola, Netsayi Makarichi, Heather Makawa, Theodora Mandishaya, Nyarai Masango, Rachel Mudzimba, Roseline Mukucha, Alfredy Mukuvare, Charles Mupawose, Mduduzi Ndlovu, Tsitsi Ndoro, Casper Nyamakura, Tawanda Rusape, Rumbidzayi Sambana and Pearl Shambare. Thanks to Roseline, Mavis and Cathrine Musa for looking after the front table, to Rumbidzayi, Sihle Sibanda, Esther Munyira, Isaac Chawasarira, Flemming Diza and Rosemary Maponga for handing out flyers and selling wristbands and to Alfredy, Vimbayi, Casper, Charles and Mduduzi for putting up the banners.
  •   Thanks to those who contributed to our fundraising efforts for the ZimPAP project: to Daizy Fabian, Etines Kapiya and Rosemary Maponga making, bringing and serving food, to Margaret Munenge for providing bottles of water and to Isabell for collecting for Sipho’s bike ride.

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: 50 signed the register.

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • ROHR Southampton branch meeting. Wednesday 17th May  from 3 – 5 pm. Venue Frog and Parrot Pub, 166 Above Bar Street, Southampton SO14 7DU. Ahead of the meeting at 2 pm, the branch will be welcoming Sipho Ndlovu on his bike ride into Southampton in front of the Guildhall, West Marland Road, Southampton SO14 7LP. Contact: Ben Semwayo (Chair) 07401611932, Reuben Waretza (Publicity and Advocacy) 07946607617 and Cecil Shumba (Secretary) 07575954654.
  • ROHR Reading branch outreach and general meeting. Saturday 20th May.  Community outreach from 11.30 am – 1.30 pm: Venue: Broad Street, Reading. Awareness campaign on deteriorating human rights in Zimbabwe. General meeting from 2 – 5 pm: Venue: The RISC 35-39 London Street, Reading, Berkshire RG1 4PS. Contact: Sihle Sibanda 07985712749 (Deputy Chair), Alice Shimika 07462067504 (Secretary), Charles Mararirakwenda 07964731721 (Organising Secretary).
  • 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). Saturday 20th May from 6.30 pm. Venue: The Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX. We will move to the RFH at the end of the Vigil at 6 pm.
  • 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.
  • Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 27th May from 10 am to 1 pm outside the Swaziland High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.
  • 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:
 
‘To save Zimbabwe, do something’ – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 6th May 2017 PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 07 May 2017 14:29

 

 

President Mugabe laughed at the suggestion that Zimbabwe is a fragile state. The question was put to him on Thursday at the World Economic Forum on Africa held in Durban.

‘That isn’t true’, he snorted. ‘Zimbabwe is the most developed country on the continent after South Africa. We have a bumper harvest, not only of maize but also of tobacco and many other crops. We are not a poor country.’

Mugabe’s head then slumped on his chest as he returned to dreamland – before he could be told of the violent clashes on the tobacco sales floors in Harare, where riot police fired teargas at desperate farmers demanding payment for their crops. They complained ‘hurumende yedu haichadi vanhu yakutirwisa Smith aiva nani’ (The government is now fighting us; the Smith regime was better.) See: http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/zimsit-m-police-tear-gas-bash-tobacco-farmers/.

Predictably, President Zuma jumped in to support Mugabe’s fantasy, ignoring a report last week from the AfrAsia Bank which said Zimbabweans are among the poorest people in the world. It put Zimbabwean wealth per person last year at US$200. By comparison, wealth per capita in Botswana was US$6,700 and Zambia US$1,200. The report noted that, back in 2000, Zimbabwe was one of the wealthiest countries in sub-Saharan Africa but now lagged well behind.

An exasperated denunciation of Zimbabwean political apathy came from Linda Masarira, a supporter of our sister organisation Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe. She asked: ‘Why are Zimbabweans pretending that everything is ok. Today Mugabe is lying in South Africa. We all know it is a lie. We are the laughing stock of the world.’ See: https://www.facebook.com/lindatsungiriraimasarira/videos/700015266867611/.

Linda said on Facebook: ‘We all have to stand up for our rights. Why are you not doing anything? Let us show Zanu PF and the world that we are fed up.’

Linda knows to her cost the perils of confronting the regime, having spent many months in jail for protesting against injustice. She has been campaigning with Patson Dzamara, brother of the murdered activist Itai. Patson is reported to have been moved to an intensive care unit of a Harare hospital after being jailed again last week (see: http://bulawayo24.com/index-id-news-sc-national-byo-109784.html). 

Other points

  • ‘To save Zimbabwe, do something’ was also the message from the Zimbabwe Action Forum held after the Vigil. Ephraim Tapa, President of ROHR, announced plans for a peace demonstration in Harare’s central business district at the end of May. He said it was part of an initiative by the Zimbabwe Peace Actors’ Platform (ZimPAP) which groups 19 civil society organisations, including ROHR, and launched a successful programme in Mashonaland East Province last month. Ephraim said: ‘As ROHR International, we stand against violence and political manipulation deployed against the people of Zimbabwe. We stand in support of free democracy and therefore offer ourselves as the voice of the people. We aim to nip electoral violence in the bud . . . Once fear is defeated, Zimbabweans will be able to vote freely.’
  • One person who is doing something is Vigil activist Sipho Ndlovu who is to cycle from Nottingham to London, taking in six other cities on the way in a 324 mile sponsored ride from 14th – 20th May in support of ZimPAP. To sponsor him please visit: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/sipho-ndlovu.
  • Vigil and ROHR supporters arrived drained following a night without sleep spent comforting our friend Cephas Maswoswa who lost his 22-year-old son last week when he died in intensive care in a Johannesburg hospital. Cephas’ loss resulted in extraordinary support from the Vigil and ROHR both financially and in caring. The solidarity of the Vigil and ROHR family was shown in the generosity and kindness of our activists. Cephas and his family were visited and comforted by our supporters on three occasions during the last week. All too many Zimbabweans in the diaspora have felt the bitter pain of losing loved ones. Only recently Jonathan Kariwo lost his brother and today we heard that Mavis Chisvo lost her only sister very suddenly, thought to be from malaria. We took a collection for her.
  • Thanks to those who arrived early to help set up: Mavis Chisvo, Isabell Gwatidzo, Phillip Mahlahla, Nyarai Masvosva, Eletha Mpofu, Roseline Mukucha, Margaret Munenge, Farai Mutumburi and Tawanda Rusape. Thanks to Roseline, Cathrine Musa and Elizabeth Hlebayi for looking after the front table, to Nancy Makurira, Abigail Chidavayenzi and Faith Ndhlovu for handing out flyers and selling wristbands and to Phillip, Nyarai and Tawanda for putting up the banners. A special mention of Phillip who apart from clearing up the Vigil at the end helps the Muslim group that takes over from us to set up their food tables to feed the homeless.
  • Special thanks to Rumbidzayi Sambana who went out of her way to collect the Vigil drum to take to the all-night wake for Cephas’s son. Also to Isabell Gwatidzo for taking charge of the collections for Mavis and Cephas. Thanks to Elizabeth Hlebayi who brought a smart new shaker for the Vigil, much needed as our shakers keep disappearing.

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: 39 signed the register.

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • ROHR National Executive meeting. Saturday 13th May from 11 am. Venue:  The Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX.
  • 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.
  • Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 13th May from 10 am to 1 pm outside the Swaziland High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.
  • Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF). Saturday 20th May from 6.30 pm. Venue: The Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX. We will move to the RFH at the end of the Vigil at 6 pm.
  • 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:
 
‘A better Zimbabwe tomorrow’ – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 29th April 2017 PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 30 April 2017 16:29

Mugabe is said to have thwarted a coup attempt by supporters of Vice-President Mnangagwa. This comment came from the political analyst Ibbo Mandaza in an interview by the journalist Violet Gonda.

Dr Mandaza said Mugabe had been forced to step in and save beleaguered Zanu PF political commissar Saviour Kasukuwere whose G40 Group is openly battling Mnangagwa’s Lacoste faction. 

The President had apparently been warned by security agents that a Lacoste coup was in the making after soldiers had been bussed in civilian clothing from Harare to Bindura, where Kasukuwere was at a party meeting fighting for his political life.

Dr Mandaza said those such as the British government who were supporting Mnangagwa as a progressive alternative in Zanu PF were stupid. ‘It’s self-serving nonsense’, he added. ‘Those who have been making loud noises about Emmerson Mnangagwa being the reformer have got egg on their face.’ Mnangagwa, he maintained, was part of the architecture of the pathological state.

‘If the succession takes the route that these merchants of stability are proposing, it would be a worse nightmare, I can tell you that.’ Dr Mandaza poured scorn on Professor Stephen Chan of London University’s School of Oriental and African Studies and on the London Chatham House think tank, which he said were misguided.

Like the Vigil, Dr Mandaza supports the idea of a national transitional authority to take over in Zimbabwe and introduce reforms to prepare for free and fair elections. He said the opposition parties were opposed to this because they were primarily interested in getting ‘back into office, back into salaries and state cars’. However, some Zanu PF elements had been more responsive to the idea because they saw their party was mortally wounded.

Dr Mandaza said he did not expect next year’s elections to actually take place as scheduled. ‘We are a torn country. We are in crisis.’ To have elections next year would simply ensure more of the same.

He said a conference was planned at the end of June on Zimbabwe transition, reform and reconstruction, which he hoped would mobilise the region and the global community to begin planning for ‘a better Zimbabwe tomorrow’ (see: http://www.violetgonda.com/2017/04/hot-seat-mugabe-thwarts-coup-attempt-says-political-scientist-ibbo-mandaza/).

Other points

  • Zimbabweans are among the poorest people in the world according to a report this week by Afrasia Bank. It puts Zimbabwean wealth per person last year at US$200. By comparison, wealth per capita in South Africa was US$11,300, Namibia US$10,800, Botswana US$6,700, Angola US$3,600, Zambia US$1,200, Mozambique US$800 and the DRC US$400. (The index didn’t include Malawi, Lesotho and Swaziland.) The report said: ‘Notably, back in 2000, Zimbabwe was one of the wealthiest countries in Sub Saharan Africa on a wealth per capita basis, ranked ahead of the likes of Nigeria, Kenya, Angola, Zambia and Ghana. However, now it is ranked well behind these countries.’ The report continued that contributing factors to Zimbabwe’s poor performance included the erosion of ownership rights which, it said, were key to facilitating wealth creation. ‘Business owners are unsure as to whether their businesses or property will still belong to them a year down the line, which creates a situation where no one will take the chance of investing in the country.’ The report went on to speak of political intimidation, election fixing and the banning of independent media which made it impossible for investors to tell what was happening, and pointed to a brain drain caused by 20% of the population fleeing the country (see: http://www.afrasiabank.com/en/afrasia-bank-africa-wealth-report).
  • A British academic Hazel Cameron, says the UK attempted to cover up the Gukurahundi massacre in the 1980s. She has published a report in the International History Review which she says is based on previously unpublished diplomatic communications from the British High Commission in Harare (see: http://www.iol.co.za/news/africa/zim-massacre-a-british-cover-up-claims-academic-8808460). ‘Cameron found a gold mine, mainly from the US’, says Professor David Moore of the University of Johannesburg.
  • The Vigil knows that the Herald is hardly a reliable source. But we were interested to note its report that national vendors’ chairman Stendrick Zvorwadza is allegedly facing 40 counts of fraud involving the sale of residential stands. The Vigil knows to its own financial cost the dangers of any involvement with this charlatan, who spuriously claims to be head of our sister organisation ROHR (see: http://www.herald.co.zw/zvorwadza-faces-over-40-counts-of-fraud/ and the third bullet point in ‘Other points’ on our diary of 6th August 2016: http://zimvigil.co.uk/the-vigil-diary/810-vigil-petitions-un-for-transitional-authority--zimbabwe-vigil-diary-6th-august-2016).
  • Our condolences go to Cephas Maswoswa and his family on the loss of his 22-year-old son. While Cephas was with us at the Vigil yesterday he told us his son had been admitted into intensive care at a Johannesburg hospital. We were all hopeful for his recovery so the news of his passing came as a great shock. We will take a collection at next week’s Vigil.
  • Thanks to those who arrived early to help set up: Joseph Chivayo, Fungayi Mabhunu, Phillip Mahlahla, Chido Makawa, Cephas Maswoswa, Edna Mdoka, Alfredy Mukuvare, Charles Mupawose, Faith Ndhlovu, Sibusiso Ngwenya and Pearl Shambare. Thanks to Pearl, Faith and Cathrine Musa for looking after the front table, to Chido, Isaac Chawasarira, Faith and Cathrine for handing out flyers and selling wristbands and to Phillip, Alfredy and Joseph 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: 28 signed the register.

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • ROHR National Executive meeting. Saturday 6th May from 11 am. Venue:  The Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX.
  • 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.
  • Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF). Saturday 6th May from 6.30 pm. Venue: The Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX. We will move to the RFH at the end of the Vigil at 6 pm.
  • 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.
  • Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 13th May from 10 am to 1 pm outside the Swaziland High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.
  • 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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