London Protest at Zimbabwe Repression PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 19 January 2019 23:04

Zimbabwe Vigil press release – 17th January 2019

London Protest at Zimbabwe Repression

Britain has condemned the brutal repression of anti-government protesters in Zimbabwe and called for restraint by security forces.

The Minister for Africa Harriett Baldwin said the use of live ammunition was ‘deeply concerning and disproportionate’. She added that the Zimbabwean government must learn lessons from the post-election violence last year and implement the recommendations of the subsequent commission of inquiry.

Zimbabwean exiles are to demonstrate outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London on Saturday, 19th January, in protest at the violence during a three-day work stayaway following an announcement by President Mnangagwa last weekend that fuel prices were being more than doubled.

Details of the widespread violence have leaked out despite internet and social media accounts being blocked. Zimbabwe’s largest telecommunications company Econet told customers it had shut off internet access at the government’s request.

Amnesty International said eight civilians are believed to have been shot dead in clashes with the security forces and a doctors’ group said it had treated 68 people for gunshot wounds and many others for injuries from beatings.

The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights said hundreds of people had been arrested, including Pastor Evan Mawarire, leader of the #ThisFlag movement, who was accused of inciting violence.

The MDC said Zanu PF supporters had thrown petrol bombs at its Harare headquarters. In Bulawayo the Mthwakazi Republic Party said that its secretary was in a critical condition after being shot in the head in front of his children after accusing security officials of heavy-handedness in the protests.

For his part, President Mnangagwa, who is continuing another tour overseas trying to raise money, said: ‘What we have witnessed is violence and vandalism instead of peaceful protests’.

Africa Minister Baldwin expressed her concern to the Zimbabwean Ambassador and said Britain would continue to put pressure on Zimbabwe to uphold the rule of law and human rights.

Zimbabwe Vigil activists will be outside the Embassy from 12 noon to 6 pm in solidarity with victims of violence and to draw attention to the worsening situation in Zimbabwe.

For more information: Ephraim Tapa 07940793090, Rose Benton 07970996003 and Patricia Masamba 07708116625.

 
Rats’ Alley – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 12th January 2019 PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 13 January 2019 16:48

A car drives past a seemingly endless queue of vehicles waiting for fuel in Harare. Some have no one in them. Then a presidential motorcade speeds past in the opposite direction.

Take a look at the video recorded by the passing car (see: https://www.facebook.com/david.coltart/videos/10156194388327613/?eid=ARAbwh_ej8-_Va8y8_l9FuxplPC_OVvot4aYP_Tinp-tOs00buRKB3gYLOXZqdQRKrzlFXuEs_TFUarF). Does this show a Zimbabwe open for business? And can President Mnangagwa’s latest travels in a hired luxury airliner really deliver this business? Many people wouldn’t put Russia, Belarus, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan at the top of any list except for corruption.

Mnangagwa will wind up his tour by dropping in at the annual Davos ‘movers and shakers’ party in Switzerland. He attracted some interest there last year as a kind of Christmas novelty popping out of the military cracker. But his trademark Zimbabwe scarf is now a bit bedraggled.

If he gets to see anyone but self-important rats they will ask what he has achieved in the past year, what he has done with the ‘influx’ of foreign investment continually hyped by the Herald.

They will acknowledge that his regime is less repressive than Mugabe’s but will be critical of his failure to restore monetary credibility. And they will wonder if anything different can ever be achieved by an irredeemably autocratic Zanu PF government . . .

But the Herald says salvation is at hand. It says a South African company has offered to invest more than $300 million in ‘waste management’ in Zimbabwe. A company spokesman said it wanted to ‘clean Zimbabwe’. Apparently the company had talks with Mnangagwa at the Davos forum last year. Our suspicions at the time have been confirmed: Mnangagwa really was talking rubbish at the meeting (see: https://www.herald.co.zw/sa-waste-management-firm-keen-to-invest-in-zim/).

A hundred years ago the poem ‘The Waste Land’ made the name of Nobel Laureate T S Elliot. He wrote: ‘I think we are in rats’ alley where the dead men lost their bones . . . Do you know nothing? Do you see nothing? Do you remember nothing?’

Other points

  • Bare bones are all that’s left for 1,400 families evicted from their homes near Bulawayo by police with a support unit who went on to demolish everything. Some of the residents took up spears and knobkerries to defend their property and were reminded by the commander of the support unit of what happened in Harare following the disputed elections last year when the army opened fire. The residents were not even permitted to remove their belongings (see: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/987-apartheid-style-evictions-in-zimbabwe).
  • Thanks to those who came early to help set up the table and put up the banners: Enniah Dube, Marian Machekanyanga, Charles Mararirakwenda, Patricia Masamba, Margaret Munenge, Esther Munyira and Ephraim Tapa. Thanks to Marian, Esther and Patricia for looking after the front table, to Margaret and Enniah for handing out flyers and to Esther for extra photos. Thanks also to Patricia, Margaret, Charles, Marian, Enniah and Ephraim for agreeing to contribute to the cost of new banners and posters 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: 9 signed the register.

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • ROHR Central London branch meeting. Saturday 19th January 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:
 
Parliament debates trifles – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 5th January 2019 PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 06 January 2019 15:36

At a time when many people in Zimbabwe wonder where their next meal is coming from and whether it is worthwhile taking someone to hospital for treatment, the House of Assembly has been preoccupied by more urgent matters: how they can improve their pay and conditions.

Star of the budget debate was Norton’s MP Temba Mliswa, who insisted that it was critical that legislators should have a three-course lunch if they were to function well: ‘We are talking about having a world class Parliament, but we only have a one course meal and the dessert is an apple and a banana yet when we go out to other areas we get trifle, a nice fruit salad, custard, ice cream and all that. But, look at what we get here — a mere banana and apple! There is no soup.’

Mliswa. an Independent, was greeted with applause from across the political divide when he complained that MPs did not have even a gym they could go to or a sports club. ‘So, how many more have to die before we rescue the situation. We must have a recreation club where we play golf or choose any sport that we want to partake in. We must be able to have world class gyms where we are able to train because when you are strong physically, mentally it equally helps you.’ Further, he said legislators should be given laptops or ipads.

There were also demands for an increase in allowances and credit cards for MPs when they travelled abroad and better cars. Finance Minister Ncube managed to get his budget passed when he promised parliamentarians Toyota Hilux twin-cab vehicles (see: https://zwnews.com/zim-mps-demand-3-course-meals-desserts-ipads-gym-cars-lots-of-cash/.)

There was hardly a dry eye in Zimbabwe after people learnt of the suffering of their legislators. ‘Let them play golf’, was the universal cry and ‘trifles are a human right’.

Perhaps, stomachs full, our MPs could turn their attention to the sad story of child brides reported in the UK newspaper the Guardian this week (see: https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2019/jan/04/poverty-drives-trade-child-brides-zimbabwe).

 

The paper reports the case of Maureen, married off early because her parents were poor, pregnant at 13 and left after a still birth with obstetric fistula caused by prolonged labour. The paper explains: ‘Women and girls who experience obstetric fistula suffer constant incontinence, shame, social segregation and further health problems.’ “I haven’t forgiven my parents for doing this to me. I had a bright future but now they treat me like an outcast,” says Maureen. “When my parents told me about the marriage I couldn’t believe it, because they had always given me the impression that I was their most intelligent child and I would pursue my studies. The man was abusive, he called me names and beat me several times, especially after I lost my baby,” she says. “My dreams were destroyed by that man.”

The paper quotes another victim, Kresi: “I felt cheap and abused. My mates are in high school doing well for themselves. [My family] had no business selling me off. Now I have this condition which I cannot control. No one has even come to see me in this hospital,” she said tearfully.

Perhaps Zimbabwe’s legislators could offer these poor girls some trifle when they get back from their three-course lunch.

Other points

  • Thanks to those who came early to help set up the table and put up the banners: Brian Aspey, Norah Bomani, Shylette Chipangura, Margaret Chisadza, Deborah Harry, Josephine Jombe, Getrude Makosvo, Charles Mararirakwenda, Cephas Maswoswa, Esther Munyira and Ephraim Tapa. Thanks to Josephine, Bianca Mpawaenda, Rose Maponga and Margaret for looking after the front table, to Deborah, Patience Muyeye, Cephas, Netsayi Makarichi, Heather Makawa and Chido Makawa for handing out flyers and to Bianca, Josephine, Deborah and Heather for extra 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: 30 signed the register.

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • ROHR general members’ meeting. Saturday 12th January from 11.30 am. Venue: Royal Festival Hall, South Bank Centre, Belvedere Road SE1 8XX. Agenda: to discuss ROHR’s way forward for 2019.
  • ROHR Central London branch meeting. Saturday 19th January 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 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.
  • 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:
 
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