Time is running out – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 3rd March 2018 PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 04 March 2018 16:38

The Mugabes are aggrieved at their treatment by President Mnangagwa. Despite vast government resources devoted to their imperial upkeep, they are angry at being forced to step aside from ruling Zimbabwe. ‘It’s not fair’, Mugabe told the AU. ‘It’s unconstitutional’, calling on the organisation to intervene to reseat him on his presidential potty.

These are strange times in Zimbabwe. Apart from the Mugabes now completely detached from reality, this week a ‘prophet’ produced a ‘goblin’ in a Harare court. The ‘prophet’ was accused of demanding money from passengers on a bus from Binga to prevent a potentially fatal accident. He apparently scared off everyone but was arrested walking to the city centre with the ‘goblin’. The ‘prophet’ unveiled the ‘goblin’ in court – a live tortoise draped in a hyena skin and beads, looking rather like Mr Mugabe, who has long had an interest in goblins and calabashes and such like. Perhaps the tortoise was on his way to see President Mnangagwa (see: http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/prophet-presents-goblin-in-court/).

The Vigil hopes that Mnangagwa will stop moving like a tortoise. Four months ago he insisted that the upcoming elections would be free, fair and credible. He has since repeated this mantra at every stop as he continues Mugabe’s circus of never-ending travel. Now there are only 5 months left before the constitutional deadline to hold the elections.

President Mnangagwa has made a big thing of his willingness to allow EU observers into the country. This is seen as a major step forward because ‘tame’ observers from AU countries and ‘friends’ have shamelessly endorsed repeated election fraud in Zimbabwe. Court-ordered revelations in South Africa, for instance, have shown how damning criticism of election rigging in Zimbabwe was repressed by the Pretoria government.

But the EU takes things more seriously. It’s already late to begin the lengthy process of getting observers from them. As the EU ambassador in Zimbabwe, Philippe Van Damme, explained: ‘The first thing we need is a formal request by the government to invite what we call an exploratory mission which is a mission of experts who will speak to the different stakeholders of the electoral process and assess whether indeed these stakeholders consider these observation missions as useful. They will also assess the feasibility of electoral observation from a security and logistical point of view. And then they will advise us on whether or not an EU electoral observation should be deployed. And then, of course, the final decision will be taken once, based on that mission, the government confirms its willingness to deploy that mission or not.’ (see: https://www.dailynews.co.zw/articles/2018/02/26/ed-govt-yet-to-formally-invite-us-for-zim-poll-eu).

Apart from inviting the observation missions, there is clearly a lot of work still to be done. We have heard nothing, for instance, about the need to open state-controlled media to the opposition during the election campaign. Time is running out.

Other points

  • In a landmark ruling, the Pretoria High Court has said that former President Zuma had no power to close the SADC Tribunal in 2012. Mugabe persuaded Zuma to close the court because it had ruled against the seizure of white-owned farms in Zimbabwe.
  • The Zimbabwe London Investment Forum ‘Zimdaba London 2018’ takes place on Thursday / Friday 15th / 16th March at the Royal Geographical Society. It is bringing together business leaders and investors from the UK and Europe together with a business and ministerial delegation from Zimbabwe, to discuss investment opportunities in Zimbabwe. The Zimbabwe Vigil and ROHR will be demonstrating outside the venue from 8.30 – 11 am on Thursday 15th March. We will be carrying posters and handing out flyers to the delegates with the message that no investment should take place until reforms to ensure democracy (free, fair and credible elections) and human rights have been implemented. For more information on the venue check ‘Events and Notices’.
  • After a week of heavy snow and sub-zero temperatures and transport disruption, few people made it to the Vigil. Thanks to the valiant few, especially Isabell Gwatidzo, Rosemary Maponga and Ephraim Tapa, who were there from the start to put up the banners and look after the front table. Thanks also to Racqueline Changunda who handed out flyers, Simon Nyanhi who helped pack up at the end and Rosemary for bringing tea.

For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website. The facebook page for our sister organisation Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) (https://www.facebook.com/ROHR-Zimbabwe-Restoration-of-Human-Rights-301811392835) has been hijacked by destructive elements from a group calling itself ZHRO. Please be advised that any postings on this page are not posted by ROHR.

FOR THE RECORD: 7 signed the register.

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

 
‘No free and fair elections’, Mawarire – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 24th February 2018 PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 25 February 2018 13:10

The human rights campaigner Pastor Evan Mawarire has made clear that he has no confidence in the government of President Mnangagwa. Speaking at a meeting in Parliament in London on Thursday, the #ThisFlag leader said Zanu PF’s culture seemed to be second nature to the government and predicted the upcoming elections would not be free and fair.

Mawarire said the ousting of Mugabe by the army had been a game of musical chairs; the same people who had served Mugabe were still in the government, with the addition of some military figures.

He said the new government had launched a road show proclaiming that Zimbabwe was open for business and that investors were welcome, but asked “Is it open for freedom?’ Mawarire observed that there had been no desire in the past by Zanu PF to allow Zimbabweans to be free. To deserve the people’s trust, the new regime must do things to earn their confidence. He said they could not ignore the past, such as Gukurahundi, and insisted: ‘it is incredibly important that the wounds of the past are attended to’, adding that the people responsible were still in the government.

Pastor Mawarire said the new government had much to do, such as aligning laws to the 2013 constitution, and insisted that POSA must be repealed because it contravened the constitution. Yet the government was moving slowly on this.

He warned his audience, which included members of both the Houses of Commons and Lords, that the British government must be careful in dealing with the new regime and not seek economic gain at the expense of the real interests of the people.

Questioned on the elections, Mawarire said he was not very hopeful that they would be any different from those in the past. The ones who had kept Mugabe in power were the ones now asking to be returned to office. However, he expressed confidence that change could not be long delayed if people could be mobilised. They had been slaves to politicians but had showed their real feelings when Mugabe was overthrown. Fear was in the past and the church was waking up.

On the MDC presidential candidate, Mawarire said his preference was for a younger person. ‘I would love to see Nelson Chamisa chosen if the party’s constitution allows it,’ he said, adding that there was a general acceptance of Chamisa.

Other points

  • What Pastor Mawarire referred to as the government’s ‘roadshow’ is to descend on London next month. A number of government ministers will attend a meeting to try and drum up foreign investment. Vigil activists will be there to give our view of the situation in Zimbabwe.
  • A small attendance today because most of our activists were attending a memorial service for Morgan Tsvangirai in Luton. On a bitterly cold and windy day, thanks to those who put up the banners, looked after the front table and with freezing hands handed out flyers to passers-by: Racqueline Changunda Abigail Chidavayenzi, Nyarai Masvosva, Margaret Munenge, Debra Ncube and Ephraim Tapa.

For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website. The facebook page for our sister organisation Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) (https://www.facebook.com/ROHR-Zimbabwe-Restoration-of-Human-Rights-301811392835) has been hijacked by destructive elements from a group calling itself ZHRO. Please be advised that any postings on this page are not posted by ROHR.

FOR THE RECORD: 10 signed the register.

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

 
Vigil mourns Tsvangirai ‘Father of the nation’ – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 17th February 2018 PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 18 February 2018 21:27

https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/38514279430/sizes/m/

The Vigil mourned Morgan Tsvangirai, cornerstone of the MDC since its inception in 1999. His courage inspired all those seeking the restoration of democracy and the rule of law in Zimbabwe. 

For two decades he endured everything the Mugabe regime could throw at him: attempts on his life, the murder of his wife Susan, beatings, imprisonment, trumped-up treason charges and constant CIO manoeuvres to undermine him. He became a beacon of resistance around the world. The UK Times newspaper yesterday published a laudatory obituary spreading to two pages. It was a worthy tribute to a great man (see: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/923-morgan-tsvangirai-obituary).

Morgan inspired us as members of the MDC in the UK to launch the Vigil in 2002. We organised public meetings for him in London but fell out with him when we believed he was overriding party structures. (Now is not the time to go into our differences: anyone interested can see our version in the Vigil book 'Zimbabwe Emergency’.)

Despite our differences, the Vigil continued to work with the MDC and MDC members were with us outside the Embassy today to mourn his death. Many were in tears as, dressed in red MDC colours, they laid flowers in an Embassy doorway and sang a farewell in Shona to the old Scottish tune of Auld Lang Syne (times long past).

They left a handwritten placard reading: ‘Morgan R Tsvangirai. We salute your courage and heroic determination. The struggle continues. We all revere you father of the nation’.

Vigil founder member and head of our sister organisation ROHR Ephraim Tapa, who helped start the MDC with Morgan, paid this tribute: ‘What a life and what a journey! Rest in peace comrade leader Morgan Tsvangirai’. Ephraim recalled how, when he was abducted and put in a torture camp in 2002, the MDC rescued him and put him in a safe house. While there Tsvangirai regularly visited him and the MDC organised his escape from Zimbabwe.

Other points

For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website. The facebook page for our sister organisation Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) (https://www.facebook.com/ROHR-Zimbabwe-Restoration-of-Human-Rights-301811392835) has been hijacked by destructive elements from a group calling itself ZHRO. Please be advised that any postings on this page are not posted by ROHR.

FOR THE RECORD: 54 signed the register.

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

 
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