Lonely country – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 10th November 2018 PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 11 November 2018 15:22

A new Zimbabwean investment drive has been taking place in the UK with a delegation led by Priscah Mupfumira, Minister of Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry. She offered a few hollow banalities along the lines of Mnangagwa’s ‘open for business’ mantra and excitedly announced that Zimbabwe had been named in the top three tourist destinations for 2019 by the well-known travel organization Lonely Planet (see: https://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/mupfumira-speaks-to-london-investors/). 

The Vigil did not picket the meeting to give prospective investors our dystopian views of the situation in Zimbabwe. It was not necessary: news from Zimbabwe is bad enough. But we are proud our country is such a highly rated tourist attraction and we hope many people will go and see it for themselves.

But anyone who goes to Zimbabwe will see it is not an attractive business destination, open or not. The country’s financial affairs are so ethereal that the country could itself be described as a ‘lonely planet’.

A year ago we took to the streets to celebrate the army coup against Mugabe and welcomed Mnangagwa’s promise of change. But he has not delivered on this promise. Having been Mugabe’s loyal servant for so long he seems to think he must follow the same pattern. Despite the economic crisis, he hires an expensive plane from Switzerland to pick him up and take him to Guinea for two days. How many Zimbabweans even know where Guinea is, let alone why he felt he had to go there? The announced result was risible: among four trivial agreements the most notable one allowed diplomats and service personnel from the two countries to visit each other without getting a visa . . . (https://www.newsday.co.zw/2018/11/mnangagwa-dumps-airzim-for-luxury-swiss-jet/).

The Vigil thinks that, if Mnangagwa paid more attention in getting to the bottom of the corruption which he has sworn to tackle, he would notice that the jails are full but not with any of the former ministers and Zanu PF elite charged with fraud only for the prosecutions to wither away. Rather like the economy which, on the eve of the new budget, is facing the prospect of collapse. This may not be a major problem for most Zimbabweans, whose own economies collapsed a long time ago, but it may be inconvenient for those dependent on the predatory Zanu PF elite, which still tries to pretend that all is well.

Who will invest in what the MDC describes as a ‘bottomless’ Zimbabwe, whose foreign debt has ballooned since Mnangagwa took over? Some economists say that Zimbabwe has now gone beyond creating bogus bond currency and RTGS (real time gross settlement) transfers. They say the financial system has, in effect, now gone ethereal. In other words real money has gone to a lonely planet a long way away. Somewhere only the Zanu PF elite can access it (see: https://www.biznews.com/africa/2018/11/06/zimbabwe-inches-closer-brink-analysis).

Other points

  • Cathy Buckle writes a moving article on the trial ordinary people are going through (see: https://www.thezimbabwean.co/2018/11/my-heart-was-not-strong-enough-for-what-i-saw/).
  • Cold water has been poured on the Mnangagwa project by the Commonwealth’s critical report on the elections (http://thecommonwealth.org/media/news/zimbabwe-election-commonwealth-releases-observer-group-report).
  • Reports of an apparent attempt by Zanu PF elements to abduct opposition leader Nelson Chamisa when he was returning from a rally will further blight the government’s reputation.
  • Thanks to those who helped out today in heavy rain: to Abigail Chidavayenzi, Jonathan Kariwo, Joana Kwenda, Michelle Makoni, Patricia Masamba, Bianca Mpawaenda and Ephraim Tapa for putting up the tarpaulin and banners, to Bianca, Patricia and Michelle for looking after the front table, to Abigail, Joana, Simbarashe Jingo and Joyce Mbairatsunga for handing out flyers and to Jonathan for taking 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: 16 signed the register.

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • ROHR Central London branch meeting. Saturday 17th November from 11.30 am – 1.30 pm. Venue: Royal Festival Hall. Contact: Daizy Fabian 07708653640, Maxmus Savanhu 07397809056, Sipho Ndlovu 07400566013.
  • ROHR Reading Christmas party fundraiser. Saturday 24th November 2018 from 7:30pm until 11:00pm. Venue: The Spice Oven Buffet Restaurant, 2 – 4 Church Street, Reading RG4 8AT. ROHR. Tickets: £20 per adult, free entry for children under 5 years. For more information, contact: Deborah Harry (07578894896), Charles Mararirakwenda (07588275745), Joshua Kahari (07877246251), Sihle (07985712749).
  • 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:
 
Bogus Profits – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 3rd November 2018 PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 04 November 2018 22:26

https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/45662206572/sizes/m/

There will always be a miracle to rescue Zimbabwe. It might not be the cure for AIDS announced by Profit Magaya. But the prospect of oil gushing in Muzarabani will do for now to dampen disquiet over the country’s economic chaos.

It was a beaming President Mnangagwa – sweating in his trademark scarf – who rushed to the cameras to announce the news of this latest ‘game-changer’: a joint project with an obscure Australian group Invictus Energy to drill an oil well.

Cue: national euphoria. Our problems will be over. But the next day the prospects seemed rather less buoyant. Invictus said there had been no oil or gas discovery; a discovery could only be confirmed by drilling an exploratory well (see: http://www.newsdzezimbabwe.co.uk/2018/11/invictus-no-oil-discovery-in-zim.html) 

Zimbabweans live in hope. Last time it was the diamonds. And what happened to that money? President Mugabe said $15 billion of diamonds had ‘disappeared’. So even if in the years to come someone finds oil in Zimbabwe where will the money go? The prospect is that the president would announce that another $15 billion had simply disappeared.

Who that president will be is really irrelevant. Recent disclosures have cast a new light on the shadowy figures who really call the tune in Zimbabwe. The lawyer Alex Magaisa now, like so many Zimbabweans, in exile, says the new finance minister Mthuli Ncube must have been appalled at the levels of corruption he found when he started looking at the state of the economy after he descended from his ivory tower to join the cabinet. 

Magaisa says: ‘He would have been aware that there was a problem, but he might not have been prepared for the complex web of corrupt relationships and deals behind the veil of government. One feature that he may have observed is the presence of a powerful clique of individuals who control not only key sectors of the economy but also government itself.’

Magaisa examines Ncube’s on/off appointment of William Mutumanje (known as Acie Lumumba) as leader of his ‘communications taskforce’ which, Magaisa says, revealed scandalous details regarding grand corruption at the Reserve Bank, claiming that government was captured. To add drama and mystery to it, he withheld the name of the alleged captor of the State, simply referring to him as the ‘Queen Bee’.

Magaisa continued: ‘Seasoned watchers of the Zimbabwean political scene had already worked out that Mutumanje was probably referring to one Kudakwashe Tagwirei, boss of Sakunda Holdings, which was reportedly bought by Trafigura, a large commodities multinational which describes itself as being “at the heart of the global economy”. Sakunda has lucrative connections with the government in areas such as power-generation, mining and agriculture, among other major deals.’

He adds that the ‘Queen Bee’ is best seen not as an individual but as a group – the oligarchy – consisting of an influential network of political, military and business elites. He describes the oligarchy as government by the few who are rich and greedy over the many who are poor.

He concludes: ‘It is difficult to see how the oligarchy can be displaced without the removal of Zanu PF and the re-establishment of the democratic order. At the moment, Zimbabwe is not a democracy. It is an oligarchy. Plato told us that an oligarchy would eventually crumble when the inequality and poverty in society forced the impoverished poor to rise against the oligarchs. Therefore, the greatest danger of the oligarchy lies in the oligarchy’s own selfishness and inability to attend to the problems of the poor.’ (See: https://www.bigsr.co.uk/single-post/2018/10/27/Big-Saturday-Read-Our-Thing---Understanding-Zimbabwe%E2%80%99s-Oligarchy.)

Other points

  • It was good to have Nkululeko Sibanda, Nelson Chamisa’s spokesperson, with us at the Vigil today. He said he saluted the Vigil for sticking to its principled stand for this long – a struggle for human rights and free and fair elections. He encouraged us to remain steadfast and said that Zimbabwe will be free someday. We were also pleased to be joined by former Vigil co-ordinator Dumi Tutani.
  • Thanks to those who helped out today: Jonathan Kariwo, Tryness Ncube, Simbarashe Jingo and Tawanda Chitate for putting up the banners, Tryness and Chido for looking after the front table, Tawanda, Simbarashe, Heather Makawa and Bianca Mpawaenda for handing out flyers and Heather, Jonathan and Grace Nyaumwe for taking 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: 20 signed the register. 

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • ROHR Central London branch meeting. Saturday 17th November 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:
 
The bee stings – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 27th October 2018 PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 29 October 2018 07:07

https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/30656828397/sizes/m
MDC anniversary rally in Harare

As the MDC marked its 19th anniversary, Nelson Chamisa accused President Mnangagwa of backtracking on a promise to form an inclusive government. And he warned that this was the only way to unite the country and win international goodwill.

Chamisa insisted he didn’t want another government of national unity but a transitional authority which would return the country to legitimacy and enable it to get an emergency rescue package to kick-start the economy. He said: ‘The economy is always the mirror through which we see the real national situation and you have seen how it is behaving. There is deep seated dislocation, a deficit of leadership, governance, trust and confidence’ (see: https://www.newsday.co.zw/2018/10/mnangagwa-cornered-chamisa/).

His comments came against a backdrop of chaos in the finance ministry and at the Reserve Bank, where four top officials have been suspended following allegations that they were feeding the currency black market. The allegations were made by newly-appointed chair of the finance ministry trouble-shooting task force William Mutumanje, widely known as Acie Lumumba, who was immediately fired.

Acie said the four officials worked with someone known as the ‘queen bee’ who had links with the fuel industry and was trying to ‘capture the state’. Acie said they were manipulating the currency market, and, relieved of his post, he was now free to disclose secrets about ‘what’s really going on’ (see: https://www.news24.com/Africa/Zimbabwe/controversial-activist-fired-after-exposing-rot-at-zim-central-bank-20181025).

The worried diaspora at the Vigil were given the latest news from the ground by a Zimbabwean charity worker visiting London.. She said her work with the desperately poor saw no immediate prospect of improvement. ‘The poor are taking the brunt of the political mismanagement in the country’, she said  

Other points

  • Thanks to those who put up the banners, looked after the front table, handed out flyers and cleared up at the end: Joanathan Kariwo, Linda Dodzo, Casper Nyamakura, Ephraim Tapa, Grace Nyaumwe and Lawrence Mbamarwo.
  • 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: 11 signed the register.

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • ROHR Central London branch meeting. Saturday 17th November 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:
 
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