Zimbabwean’s ‘Christmas present to the world’ – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 19th December 2020 PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 21 December 2020 13:45

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With Covid 19 infections threatening to blight the holiday season in the UK, many people are clinging to the hope that vaccines will deliver us from this plague in a Happy New Year.

 

Injections are already being given in the UK but social media in the Zimbabwean diaspora here is full of scare stories about the vaccine. Is not only Zimbabweans who are suspicious; a surprising number of people fear it is part of some foul plot . . .

 

Zimbabweans should be reassured by the fact that one of our own people was part of the team which developed the Pfizer vaccine – the first to be approved. Dr Tatenda Shopera is a senior scientist working for Pfizer and helped produce the vaccine, which he proudly described as ‘a great Christmas present to the world’.

 

Dr Shopera, who was born in Masvingo, grew up in Mbare, attending Harare High School. He said: ‘I have always believed that life is not just about an individual but the impact an individual has on the community. That’s what makes life worth living’ (see: https://www.chronicle.co.zw/zim-scientist-in-covid-19-vaccine-breakthrough/).

 

A ‘life worth living’ is still the challenge in Zimbabwe. The government claims progress in delivering this in 2020, but former finance minister Tendai Biti, says that, on the contrary, for ordinary people this was one of the worst years in living memory.

 

President Mnangagwa, at the last cabinet meeting of the year, applauded ministers’ ‘commitment to duty and excellent performance’, trumpeting a turnaround in the country’s economic fortunes. But Biti, Vice-President of the MDC Alliance, said the government was ‘drunk on self-delusion’. He said that at least 10 million people faced a humanitarian crisis and the collapse of social services.

 

He went on: ‘On the human rights front, there was massive closure of political space. There was an increase in abductions, torture and abuse of human rights. The arrests of journalists and activists was a huge indictment. The attacks on the democratic movement were unprecedented and pathological.’ (See: https://www.newzimbabwe.com/mnangagwa-drunk-on-self-delusion-biti/).

 

The World Food Programme said it was deeply concerned about the situation and appealed for an extra US$204 million to support 4 million of the most insecure of Zimbabweans for the next 6 months (see: https://www.thezimbabwean.co/2020/12/wfp-urgently-seeks-funds-to-support-millions-of-zimbabweans-facing-hunger-season/).

 

Other Points:

  • The 300 or so boys abducted by Islamist terrorists in North Western Nigeria have been released. The incident has again focused attention on the threat of Islamist extremism in Africa. There are reports that SADC is preparing for military intervention against the Islamist insurgency in Northern Mozambique. But it is argued that the insurgency is driven by resentment at neglect by the ruling class and that SADC will have to address this (see: https://dailynews.co.zw/bandits-threaten-regional-security-as-sadc-moves-to-counter-mozambique-insurgency/).
  • Because of the coronavirus we can no longer physically meet outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London, so we have a virtual Vigil while the restrictions continue. We ask our activists to put on Vigil / ROHR / Zimbabwe regalia and take a photo of themselves holding an appropriate poster reflecting our protest against human rights abuses in Zimbabwe. The photos are uploaded on our Flickr site: https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/albums/72157717419085066. Our virtual Vigil activist today was Deborah Harry who kindly contributed to Vigil funds.
  • For Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website.

 

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 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

 
Ritual and superstition– Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 12th December 2020 PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 13 December 2020 15:19

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The sight of an opposition MP grovelling on the floor of parliament before the Finance Minister to thank him for women’s sanitary pads is about as stupefying as South Africa’s Chief Justice Mogeong Mogeong’s observation that Covid 19 vaccines ‘might be of the devil’.

 

MDC MP Priscilla Misihairambwi-Mushonga unrolled a reed mat in front of the Finance Minister Ncube and then knelt down showering praise on him before handing him a wooden plate and two tshirts saying she was proud of him for providing sanitary ware for girls.

 

Some MPS questioned why she was allowed to perform this ritual, asking why women were expected to kneel before men (see: https://www.newzimbabwe.com/misihairabwi-mushonga-in-mthuli-ncube-parly-drama/).

 

As for South Africa’s Chief Justice Mogeong’s comments, there are real fears that they might promote doubts about the safety of the anti-covid vaccines. He was filmed at a hospital event leading a prayer against ‘any vaccine that is of the devil, meant to infuse 666 in the lives of people to corrupt their DNA’. (666 is a widely recognised symbol for the devil.) He later defended his remarks saying that, as a Christian, ‘prayer was his constitutional right’. (See: https://www.enca.com/news/chief-justice-mogoeng-prays-against-vaccines-devil.)

 

Civil and political rights have come under added threat in Southern Africa because of Covid 19, according to the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, which says the political elite has been abusing lockdown regulations to tighten their grip on power. The coalition, which groups Zimbabwean civil society organisations, marked international human rights day on 10th December with the theme ‘recover better, stand up for human rights’.

 

It cites rape, torture, discrimination, corruption, inadequate provision of health services and food insecurity as among the rights’ violations. ‘Consequently, the democratic deficiency in most SADC countries has been worsened by the Covid 19 pandemic’, it said. (See: https://www.thezimbabwean.co/2020/12/crisis-coalition-statement-on-international-human-rights-day/.)

 

Other Points:

  • Any pretence that the Zimbabwean Broadcasting Corporation is politically impartial as required by the constitution has been exposed by the election of its chief correspondent Reuben Barwe to a Zanu PF position in Makoni. MDC Alliance spokesman Fadzayi Mahere said it was an absolute joke that a ZBC reporter can hold a political party office and keep his job (see: https://zwnews.com/zbc-chief-correspondent-reuben-barwe-wins-zanu-pf-election/).
  • The corruption scandal engulfing Harare City Council has deepened with the alleged involvement of the Local Government Minister July Moyo and the Harare Metropolitan Provincial Minister Oliver Chidawu. They are said to have tried to get charges dropped against the Council’s Human Capital Director Cainos Chingombe, who is facing corruption charges for allegedly transferring into his personal bank account US$130,000 meant for the provision of water, sanitation, education and recreational services (see: https://bulawayo24.com/index-id-news-sc-national-byo-196098.html).
  • Zimbabwe’s foreign missions are struggling, according to the chair of the parliamentary portfolio committee on foreign affairs who said some of the country’s embassies abroad were dilapidated and members of staff were failing to pay school fees and medical bills and drove rundown cars (see: https://www.newsday.co.zw/2020/12/chaos-as-zim-abandons-embassies/).
  • Because of the coronavirus we can no longer physically meet outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London, so we have a virtual Vigil while the restrictions continue. We ask our activists to put on Vigil / ROHR / Zimbabwe regalia and take a photo of themselves holding an appropriate poster reflecting our protest against human rights abuses in Zimbabwe. The photos are uploaded on our Flickr site: https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/albums/72157717280772467. Our virtual Vigil activists today were Rudo Takiya, Charles Mararirakwenda and Margaret Munenge who all kindly contributed to Vigil funds.
  • For Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website.

 

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 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

 
On the brink – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 5th December 2020 PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 06 December 2020 14:58

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President Mnangagwa has launched a fierce attack on the West, accusing it of hindering Africa’s development. He was speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony for the new Museum of African Liberation in Harare.

 

Comrade Mnangagwa said: ‘To this day, our quest to the unhindered right to access and utilise our natural resources continues being hampered. In the case of Zimbabwe, sanctions constrain the realisation of our full socioeconomic potential. In the case of other countries on our continent, detractors continue to fund and fuel divisions so that while we fight, the pilferage and looting of our resources goes unchecked.’

 

He rambled on: ‘Let us never give in to the cunning machinations of neo-colonial forces in whatever guise.’ (See: https://dailynews.co.zw/ed-tells-off-western-countries/.)

 

Earlier the President had declared that Zimbabwe was on ‘the brink of greatness’. The remark follow a visit to the new parliament building nearing completion in Mount Hampden outside Harare.

 

Some pessimists think the Chinese neo-colonialists would have done us a greater service by spending their aid money on a more productive project than a new parliament for an increasingly one-party state. Mnangagwa said the new building would be a commitment to democracy and the rule of law. ‘We are proud of our institutions of government and our belief that all Zimbabweans should have a say in the running of our country’ (see: https://www.herald.co.zw/we-are-on-the-brink-of-greatness-president/).

 

Some might think the President is floating away on a cloud of mbanje. The government apparently sees export earnings from cannabis outstripping those from tobacco by almost three times next year following the legalisation of the drug for medicinal use.

 

The government has apparently issued 44 licences in the last four months and a Treasury spokesman Clive Mphambela said sales are forecast to reach US$1.25 billion next year. By comparison tobacco, Zimbabwe’s biggest agricultural export, made US$444 million this year. Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube said he saw: ‘immense potential’ in tax revenue from cannabis exports (see: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-11-30/zimbabwe-1-25-billion-plan-sees-cannabis-as-biggest-cash-crop).

 

The Vigil wonders whether the Treasury has been using medicinal cannabis for illegal purposes. Their predictions seem to be pie in the sky. Far from being an adventurous outlyer, they are a rather stoned late arrival. Everyone in the region is already involved in the cannabis industry. For instance, the potency of a strain of cannabis grown in Malawi is ranked as ‘the finest’ by the World Bank. The Malawi government also hopes, like Zimbabwe, that ‘Malawi gold’, (known locally as chamba) will help boost its economy.

 

Zambia and Lesotho have also decriminalised cannabis for medicinal purposes and South Africa has gone even further by decriminalising it for recreational use (see: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/1110-malawi-pins-hopes-on-gold-standard-of-cannabis).

 

When they descend from the cannaboid clouds we can only hope that the government might help people grow food as well. They might realise that food is useful to keep people alive so they can vote for Zanu PF.

 

Other Points:

  • Despite Mnangagwa’s hostile attitude towards the West, the British Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Melanie Robinson, said Britain wanted to increase trade and economic co-operation. She was speaking after talks with Foreign Minister and International Trade Minister General Sibusiso Moyo (see: https://www.herald.co.zw/uk-scales-up-cooperation-with-zim-ahead-of-brexit/).
  • The recent national budget announced by the finance minister has been criticised for worsening the position of the growing number of poor. Christopher Mugaga, Chief Executive of the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce, said: ‘The onus is on Ncube to strengthen relations with the donor community. He has to do that because no matter how arrogant we are as a country we have a collapsed health sector.’ (See: https://thenewshawks.com/zim-economy-is-not-serving-the-poor/.)
  • Because of the coronavirus we can no longer physically meet outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London, so we have a virtual Vigil while the restrictions continue. We ask our activists to put on Vigil / ROHR / Zimbabwe regalia and take a photo of themselves holding an appropriate poster reflecting our protest against human rights abuses in Zimbabwe. The photos are uploaded on our Flickr site: https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/albums/72157717173548203. Our virtual Vigil activists today were Esther Munyira, Rudo Takiya and Lilian Kanyasa who kindly contributed to Vigil funds.
  • For Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website.

 

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 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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Zimbabwe Vigil Highlights of 2010
Zimbabwe Vigil Highlights of 2009
Zimbabwe Vigil Highlights of 2008
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