The Christmas present – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 21st December 2019 PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 22 December 2019 12:47

It’s difficult to imagine former South African president Thabo Mbeki as Father Christmas. But we can only hope that he brought good news when he made his timely visit for separate talks with Mnangagwa and Chamisa and others.

The Vigil was critical of the deal Mbeki brokered between Mugabe and Tsvangirai in 2008 but we were just as critical of the MDC for accepting it.  Nevertheless, the subsequent government of national unity turned around the economy and brought rapid growth until Zanu PF greed could no longer be contained and it rigged the 2013 elections so it could steal the new riches. 

Chamisa was a member of that flawed coalition and will no doubt have learnt lessons. Certainly no similar arrangement should be accepted which would leave Zanu PF in control when they are the ones who have brought the country tp the brink of catastrophe.

Mbeki too has ‘skin in the game’. He left office discredited. But the abysmal Zuma circus has since then changed the focus. So Mbeki could yet rehabilitate himself with a Christmas present for Zimbabwe.

Mbeki says he will be returning to Zimbabwe soon for more talks before end of the year. We wish him well. The main obstacle is Mnangagwa who insists he will only meet Chamisa within the framework of the Political Actors’ Dialogue. For his part, Chamisa said: ‘Dialogue must deliver true change and real reforms. When we shake hands, let us be agreeing to truly walk in the same direction, a new direction.’ (See: https://www.newsday.co.zw/2019/12/give-dialogue-a-chance-sadc/.)

The Vigil believes a new coalition of some sort is needed to move Zimbabwe forward – but a coalition that is not one-sided like the last one. This would be a real Christmas present for Zimbabwe.

Whether it will prevail over the apparent Christmas present delivered the other day to military headquarters in Harare we don’t know. This was a US$3.4 million Bugati Chiron, one of the world’s most expensive and fastest cars. Just right for Zim roads (see: https://www.zimlive.com/2019/12/20/worlds-fastest-car-us3-3-million-bugatti-chiron-lands-in-zimbabwe/).

Other points

  • Zimbabwe faces having the assets of the state mining company seized after a final appeal of the 2014 arbitration ruling failed. Companies linked to British Virgin Islands-based Amari Holdings Ltd won the right to seize assets worth $65.9 million in compensation for Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation’s cancellation of nickel and platinum ventures formed in 2007 and 2008. The ruling by the International Court of Arbitration was made after a hearing in Lusaka. The lawyer acting for Amari, Ian Small-Smith said: ‘They seemingly still don’t appreciate how adversely this will impact the credibility of Zimbabwe as an investment destination.’ (See: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-12-18/zimbabwe-faces-mining-asset-seizure-over-canceled-joint-ventures.)
  • As Vigil activists celebrate Christmas, we want you to know that the suffering people of Zimbabwe are always in our thoughts, particularly at this time.
  • Thanks to those who came early to help set up the front table and put up the banners: Abigail Chidavayenzi, Tendai Chigariro, Garikai Mananje, Joyce Mbairatsunga, Esther Munyira, Ephraim Tapa and Kevin Wheeldon. Thanks to Esther and Kevin for looking after the front table, to Tendai, Abigail and Esther for handing out flyers, to Delice and Garikai for drumming and to Esther and Ephraim for photos.
  • For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimb88abwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website.                                                                           

FOR THE RECORD: 13 signed the register.

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • ROHR Valentine’s fundraising dinner dance. Saturday 15th February 2020 from 7 pm till late. Venue: to be advised.
  • 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.
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Zanu PF feasts – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 14th December 2019 PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 20 December 2019 12:57

The Vigil wonders why the Reserve Bank did not ask Zanu PF to take ‘a haircut’ rather than squander five million dollars on its extravagant ‘National People’s Conference’ at Goromonzi. A feast of hundreds of cattle and goats, thousands of chicken and 8 tonnes of maize was provided  for the 7,000 delegates while the people starve.

We say ‘a haircut’ because the Reserve Bank’s monetary policy committee apparently wants to reject the majority of government debts. The idea is that, for instance, Zimbabwe may pay only 5% of the US$60 million which it owes South African Airways, which is now itself facing financial challenges (see: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-12-09/south-african-airways-may-only-get-5-of-money-owed-by-zimbabwe).

The Vigil doubts that this will smooth the borrowing path for the planned new version of Zimbabwe Airways, let alone encourage South Africa’s ESKOM to resume its charitable power supplies to Zimbabwe.

But the focus was at Goromonzi High School, where locals watched in awe as Zanu PF bigwigs turned up in their expensive sports utility vehicles. One said ‘if the conference was open to us we would attend and also have a taste of the nice food that we have not eaten for so long. We would at least forget our hunger for those two days.’ (See: https://www.theindependent.co.zw/2019/12/13/zanu-pf-banquet-in-deep-sea-of-poverty/).

A Newsday editorial observed of Zanu PF: ‘They are just functioning according to their default mode — as they have always done even under the late former President Robert Mugabe — to feast and make merry while the rest of the population wallows in abject poverty. (see: https://www.newsday.co.zw/2019/12/editorial-zanu-pfs-opulence-amid-famine-should-not-be-surprising/).

A close observer of Zimbabwe, Professor of World Politics at the University of London, Stephen Chan, said ‘in almost all countries in the world, during times of austerity, all political parties would hold their conferences with a reduction in expensive provision. They would do that to show solidarity with a nation going through hard times.’ (See: https://www.theindependent.co.zw/2019/12/13/zanu-pf-indaba-a-jamboree-in-the-midst-of-biting-hunger/).

Other points

  • A prospective investor planning a US$250 million solar project in Zimbabwe – surely a good thing – got the go-ahead from the government in July. Then his problems began. Officials started demanding a share in the project, so the whole thing is stalled. This typical story is given extra force by appearing in the government mouthpiece the Herald (see: https://www.herald.co.zw/sa-investor-makes-bribery-claims/).
  • Progress is also stalling on Zimbabwe’s application to rejoin the Commonwealth after the British Ambassador said Zimbabwe was failing to implement key reforms. Deputy Information Minister Energy Mutodi responded on twitter that Zimbabwe didn’t care, adding ‘the game of endless reforms is shameful’ (see: https://www.newzimbabwe.com/mutodi-thumbs-nose-at-british-over-zim-commonwealth-snub/).
  • Thanks to those who came early to help set up the front table and put up the banners: Patience  Chimba, Enniah Dube, Jonathan Kariwo, Chido Makawa, Rosemary Maponga, Patricia Masamba, Benjamin Molife, Washington Mugari, Margaret Munenge, Esther Munyira, Molly Ngavaimbe, Hazvinei Saili, Ephraim Tapa and Kevin Wheeldon. Thanks to Margaret, Hazvinei and Molly for looking after the front table, to Rosemary and Kevin for handing out flyers, to Chido and Delice Gavazah for drumming and to Patricia, Hazvinei and Jonathan for photos. It was good to have Enniah with us after a long illness.
  • For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimb88abwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website.                                                                           

FOR THE RECORD: 20 signed the register.

EVENTS AND 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
 
Time running out – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 7th December 2019 PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 08 December 2019 20:14

Two years after the ousting of Mugabe and the ushering in of the Mnangagwa regime, nothing has changed for the better in Zimbabwe. If anything, things have got worse.

The economy has collapsed as hyperinflation again takes hold, blamed on ‘an unsustainable import bill, corruption, externalization of money, coupled with the printing of electronic money’ (see: https://www.fin24.com/Economy/Africa/its-official-hyperinflation-has-returned-to-zimbabwe-20191012).

For all his talk of a new dispensation, Mnangagwa has followed the same reckless path as Mugabe. While Zimbabweans starve or die from the failure of the health system, Mnangagwa has wasted millions on extravagant travel expenses, hiring a plane at US$30,000 a n hour to fly him to more than 40 destinations in the first eight months of the year, often taking large parties with him on lavish expenses (see: https://www.theindependent.co.zw/2019/12/06/mnangagwa-gobbles-over-us114m-on-foreign-trips/).

The pretext is that he is touting for foreign investment but only gangster regimes would invest in the corrupt Zimbabwe that Zanu PF has created. Even the Chinese now hesitate to risk more of their money. Of course we have the full support of Africa, but it seems they are not tempted to put their money where their mouth is. South African companies are instead pulling out.

Businessman and former MDC MP Eddie Cross says the situation simply cannot go on like this. He called on the government to get corruption and all forms of human rights abuse under control to set Zimbabwe on the road to recovery and growth.

For its part, the European Union said escalating human rights violations were at the top of the agenda at a recent meeting with government in Harare. EU Ambassador Timo Olkkonen said Zimbabwe was urged to expedite political reforms (see: https://www.theindependent.co.zw/2019/12/06/eu-takes-zim-govt-on-over-rights-abuses/).

Other points

  • Despite the cold weather our faithful English supporter, the blind journalist, David Wilkins, spent the afternoon at the Vigil and went on afterwards to a fundraising dinner dance organised by our sister organisation the Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe to raise funds for a Zimbabwe peace-building initiative.
  • Thanks to those who came early to help set up the front table and put up the banners: Charles Mararirakwenda, Lucia Mudzimu, Farai Mutumburi, Hazvinei Saili, Ephraim Tapa and Kevin Wheeldon. Thanks to Hazvinei, Farai and David Wilkins for looking after the front table, to Lucia for handing out flyers and to Yvonne Makombe and Molly Ngavaimbe for drumming. A special thank you to Pamela Chirimuta for buying burgers, fries, wraps and drinks for our cold, hungry activists.
  • For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimb88abwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website.                                                                       

FOR THE RECORD: 14 signed the register.

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • ROHR general members’ meeting. Saturday 14th December from 11.30 am. Venue: Royal Festival Hall, South Bank Centre, Belvedere Road SE1 8XX. Contact: Ephraim Tapa 07940793090, Patricia Masamba 07708116625, Esther Munyira 07492058109.
  • 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
 
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