Panic in the air – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 21st July 2018 PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 22 July 2018 18:29

While the MDC announces a round-the-clock vigil for electoral reforms outside the offices of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, the main concern of Zimbabweans in the UK seems to be not the looming election but their fear of being deported from Britain.

Some 70 Zimbabweans gathered at Downing Street on Wednesday to petition the Prime Minister not to send them back to Zimbabwe. This came after our Vigil last Saturday drew only a handful of people in its protest against electoral irregularities – a far cry from the 1,000+ people who joined us outside the Embassy to celebrate the ousting of Mugabe last November.

Some Zimbabweans here are paranoid about having to return to Zimbabwe, for economic reasons or fear of the unknown. We don’t expect this to change much even if Nelson Chamisa wins the election. This seems theoretically possible given the latest Afrobarometer poll but ignores the likelihood of Zanu PF cheating its way back to power.  Most people in the diaspora of course support Chamisa – but they are also financially supporting families back home and are aware of the parlous state of the economy, with the US dollar now impossible to get from banks and trading at a vast premium to the ersatz bond equivalent.

Zimbabwe may be, as President Mnangagwa proclaimed, ‘open for business’ but there is little confidence among the diaspora that this amounts to anything in terms of jobs, at least in the short term, given the endemic corruption. 

The downside of last November’s coup dawned slowly on the diaspora: now monster Mugabe has gone perhaps so has the main reason for their being given asylum. Unsubstantiated rumours now abound that the Home Office is working with the Zimbabwe Embassy to facilitate their return home. There is panic in the air.

Other points

  • The Zimbabwe Vigil will be marking Zimbabwe’s election day with a mock poll. We will be outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London from early to late on Monday 30th July. Please come and join us to cast your vote.
  • Thanks to those who came early to help set up: Brian Tawanda Chitate, Jonathan Kariwo, Marian Machekanyanga, Heather Makawa, Michelle Makoni, Patricia Masamba, Gladys Mpanda, Pearl Shambare, Bigboy Sibanda and Ephraim Tapa. Thanks also to Michelle, Pearl, Heather and Patricia for looking after the front table, to Jonathan, Ephraim, Tawanda, Heather and Marian for putting up the banners and tarpaulin and to Heather, Chido Makawa and Tawanda for handing out flyers. 

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: 14 signed the register.

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • Zimbabwe Vigil’s Mock Election. Monday 30th July from early to late outside the Embassy.
  • ROHR Central London branch meeting. Saturday 18th August 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.
  • Zimbabwe Yes We Can Movement holds meetings in London as the political face of ROHR and the Vigil.
  • Facebook pages:
 
Election fever – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 14th July 2018 PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 15 July 2018 15:44
Times like this are most anxious for the diaspora, especially those like us far away from home: a time of swirling rumours and wild assertions. Nowadays it is perhaps worse than ever at election time because we are in instant contact with family and friends in Zimbabwe and constantly assailed by fake news on social media.

What was clearly not fake was the big support for the MDC demonstration in Harare on Wednesday against what the opposition alliance sees as chicanery by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC). Pictures captured it all: before our eyes we could see thousands of people peacefully demanding change.

The opposition demonstration was in sharp contrast to the Mnangagwa rally last Sunday in Bindura, where soldiers and Zanu PF youths were filmed desperately trying to stop people leaving in droves. 

Reports of army activities in the rural areas are disquieting, along with suggestions of a quarter of a million ghost voters. It came as no surprise to see that the UK Times newspaper headlined its report on Zimbabwe on Friday: ‘Voter aged 141 casts shadow on Zimbabwe poll’ (see: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/951-voter-aged-141-casts-shadow-on-zimbabwe-polls).

The Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition is the latest civil society organization to say that it doesn’t trust ZEC (see: https://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/zec-cannot-be-entrusted-to-preside-over-free-fair-and-credible-polls/). But, in Britain, the ’Zimbabwe expert’, Professor Stephen Chan of the School of Oriental and African Studies says he believes Mnangagwa will win without needing to cheat. He speaks in the latest SOAS blog of ‘Mugabe’s winning legacy’ – perhaps no surprise given that Chan was among the academics in the UK who proclaimed Zanu PF’s 2013 election victory as legitimate (see: https://www.soas.ac.uk/blogs/study/zimbabwe-elections-chan/).

MDC leader Nelson Chamisa, for his part, speaks of Russian experts being recruited to fix the results, apparently instead of the previous Israeli Nikuv operatives (see: https://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/nelson-chamisa-piles-pressure-on-mnangagwa/). Well, the Russians are past masters in fixing elections.

Other points

  • Advance notice: The Zimbabwe Vigil will be marking Zimbabwe’s election day with a mock poll. We will be outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London from early to late on Monday 30th July. Please come and join us to cast your vote.
  • Thanks to Soneni Sibanda and Ephraim Tapa who came early to set up by putting up the banners and posters and helped throughout by looking after the front table. Thanks to Abigail Chidavayenzi who spent most of the day trying to get to us by coach and arrived in time to help us pack up.

For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website.

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • Protest against enforced returns of Zimbabweans from the UK. Wednesday 18th July from 10 am. Venue: Parliament Square SW1P 3BD.
  • ROHR Central London branch meeting. Saturday 21st July 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.
  • Zimbabwe Vigil’s Mock Election. Monday 30th July from early to late outside the Embassy.
  • 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.
  • Zimbabwe Yes We Can Movement holds meetings in London as the political face of ROHR and the Vigil.
  • 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
 
It’s the economy, stupid! – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 7th July 2018 PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 10 July 2018 11:40

https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/43210317872/sizes/m/

Three weeks to the elections and the only thing that is clear is that Zanu PF still has no idea how to turn around the economy. The state media reports that billions of dollars of investments are pouring into the country and thousands of jobs are being created, but there is little sign of this on the ground. 

According to the Herald everything is rosy. But the queues outside the banks continue. The dollar fetches $1.70 in bond coins on the street. The budget deficit is ballooning. As the journalist Edmund Kudzayi says in a piece circulating on What’sApp: ‘The economy is screaming.’ (See: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/949-whatsapp-from-edmund-kudzayi-07072018).

The reality is that Zanu PF is congenitally unable to understand economics. To them economics equals money equals corruption. The result is there for everyone to see: no economy, no money but endemic corruption.

The corruption has contaminated even Zimbabwe’s saintly civil society organisations. The United States has cut support to several of them, complaining that their bosses had colluded to plunder millions of dollars. (see:  https://www.newzimbabwe.com/trump-govt-pulls-plug-on-zimbabwes-pro-opposition-ngos-cites-gross-plunder-of-cash/).

The situation is so bad that the chair of the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority, Willia Bonyongwe, says corruption within and outside the organization had become so cancerous that it was destroying the fabric of society (see: https://www.newsday.co.zw/2018/07/lets-fight-corruption-zim-is-not-for-sale/).

The general disenchantment with the economy would suggest victory for the MDC in the elections, given a level playing field. But, after so many disappointments, the Vigil has little hope that the elections will not be rigged. We staged a demonstration in London on Saturday in support of an MDC protest on Wednesday 11th July against the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC).

The MDC expects thousands of people to take part in a march from Africa Unity Square in Harare to the ZEC offices to press for changes to the electoral process. It is insisting on being provided with a complete biometric voters’ roll and complains that it was not allowed to observe the ballot printing process.

MDC leader Nelson Chamisa said the party had serious concerns over the conduct of ZEC and believed that it was either incapable or unwilling to provide a verifiable, secure and transparent election.

Other points

  • Special thanks to Patience Muyeye for organising the demonstration against ZEC and providing the new placards.
  • Thanks to those who arrived early to set up by putting up the banners and posters: Deborah Harry, Josephine Jombe, Marian Machekanyanga, Netsayi Makarichi, Rosemary Maponga, Patricia Masamba, Sharon Moyo, Getrude Mudede, Margaret Munenge, Esther Munyira and Patience Muyeye. Thanks to Josephine, Sharon and Deborah for looking after the front table and to Rosemary and Deborah for handing out flyers.

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: 22 signed the register.

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • MDC UK and Ireland Youth Assembly BBQ fundraiser. Saturday 14th July from 2 pm till late. Venue: Billing Aquadrome, Crow Lane, Great Billing, Northampton NN3 9DA. The event is to raise funds to support MDC candidates in their election campaigns. Contact: Sharon 07877224113, Vusi 07758 937280, Becky 07387 676697.
  • Protest against enforced returns of Zimbabweans from the UK. Wednesday 18th July from 10 am. Venue: Parliament Square SW1P 3BD.
  • ROHR Central London branch meeting. Saturday 21st July 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.
  • Zimbabwe Vigil’s Mock Election. Monday 30th July from early to late outside the Embassy.
  • 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.
  • Zimbabwe Yes We Can Movement holds meetings in London as the political face of ROHR and the Vigil.
  • 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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