Growing social unrest – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 20th June 2020 PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 21 June 2020 16:42

Whatever Mnangagwa was praying for the other day we doubt it was for a walkout by doctors and nurses and the arrest of the Health Minister. Hardly anyone seems to have paid attention to the President’s national day of prayer. Perhaps they were too busy trying to get something to eat while avoiding being beaten up by police and soldiers.

 

Maybe Mnangagwa was praying that there won’t be a coup? Well someone answered by sending security forces into the city centres of Harare, Bulawayo and Kwekwe to make sure. This seems to be the view of presidential spokesman Charamba though other Zanu PF sources claimed it was merely to enforce the non-enforceable Covid lockdown.

 

But the Good Lord has stopped short of saving the economy. We can understand why. Not even the President can be allowed to let his family and friends steal a disproportionate amount of the country’s wealth. We must economise and make a little looting go a long way in these straitened times.

 

Health Minister Obadiah Moyo, facing charges of corruption, appears to have allowed overpayment of millions of dollars on Covid-19 equipment, benefitting Mnangagwa’s son Collins. No sooner do we get rid of Mugabe’s kids washing their watches in champagne and driving Lamborghinis than we get this ‘new dispensation’ . . . (See: https://www.thezimbabwean.co/2020/06/zimbabwe-arrests-health-minister-in-covid-19-procurement-scandal/).

 

The scandal follows revelations that Mnangagwa’s ‘advisor’, tycoon Kuda Tagwirei, has made millions of dollars from a dodgy government deal involving buses bought from China (see: https://www.theindependent.co.zw/2020/06/19/mnangagwas-ally-pockets-us54m-in-fresh-bus-deal/).

 

As for our valiant doctors and nurses and other civil servants, the latest ludicrous pay proposals can only encourage them to join in the looting since soon there will be no other way of surviving. The Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition has expressed its full support for the healthcare workers and called on the government to ‘seriously address the rampant corruption that has caused devastating effects on the country’s economy’. (See: https://www.thezimbabwean.co/2020/06/crisis-in-zimbabwe-coalition-supports-the-strike-by-healthcare-workers-in-zimbabwe/).

 

With corruption and economic chaos, combined with social and health problems, it might surprise some that Zimbabwe has been elected to the United Nations Economic and Social Council, which, in the words of the Herald, ‘is responsible for promoting higher standards of living, full employment and economic and social progress; identifying solutions to international economic, social and health problems; facilitating international cultural and educational cooperation and encouraging universal respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.’ (See: https://www.herald.co.zw/zimbabwe-elected-to-key-united-nations-body/).

 

Don’t’ be surprised: the UN works in a mysterious way. Not so long ago it chose Saudi Arabia to chair a committee on human rights!

 

Other points

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
 
‘Farcical and surreal’ – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 13th June 2020 PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 14 June 2020 14:57

https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/50004511018/sizes/m/

 

‘Farcical and surreal – like a poorly scripted Mr Bean film without the comedy’ was how MDC Vice-President Tendai Biti described his arrest with other party leaders last week for trying to enter their headquarters, which had been taken over by security forces in the name of a rival faction.

 

Even more surreal was the re-arrest of the three young MDC women, now charged with lying about being abducted and tortured by government agents – condemned by UN human rights experts who demanded to be allowed to visit Zimbabwe to assess the situation.

 

In the middle of all this came a bizarre news conference called by the National Security Council at which the heads of the army, police and prisons, along with the commanders of the air force and the intelligence agency, denied rumours of planning a coup against Mnangagwa.

 

Experience suggests that such a denial by the top brass is a sure indication that something really is up – not surprising as the country is fast running out of money and may soon have difficulty paying police and troops.

 

Finance Minister Ncube and Reserve Bank Governor Mangudya were summoned to a politburo meeting to account for the financial chaos. Ncube, whose policies have run into strong criticism, is said to have protested that he is not a magician (see: https://www.theindependent.co.zw/2020/06/12/im-no-magician-ncube-to-zanu-pf/).

 

Meanwhile, Biti, himself a former finance minister, has written to the World Bank welcoming assistance to Zimbabwe but warning that money must not go through the government and ‘further enrich or entrench the very people who have destroyed our economy and democracy’. (See: https://bulawayo24.com/opinion/letters/186896).

 

Earlier, in an account of his arrest, he said he and his companions were accused of criminal nuisance and violating lockdown regulations by singing a song on Nelson Mandela Avenue. They were held overnight in a squalid cell without blankets or a mat to sleep on before being released on bail. ‘We were relieved because, despite our terrible experience, we were the lucky ones. Many have died. Many have been tortured. And many are fearful they will become victims of this dysfunctional, anti-democratic state.’ (See: https://africanarguments.org/2020/06/09/tendai-biti-the-story-of-my-arrest-in-mnangagwa-tinpot-zimbabwe/).

 

Against this background, when Mnangagwa took to the airways to announce an easing of the lockdown, the Vigil was not convinced when he said it would allow the government to continue its ‘reform’ agenda and promote freedom of assembly and freedom to vote in free and fair elections (see: https://www.herald.co.zw/president-calls-zimbabwe-to-action/).

 

Confidence in the government has been further eroded after it was forced to cancel multi-million dollar deals linked to one of Mnangagwa’s sons following the exposure of overpricing of Covid-19 medical equipment and drugs. Zimlive says Mnangagwa’s three sons with his current wife Auxillia live an opulent lifestyle: ‘Their driveways are so full with luxury cars, one source said, their mother often drives away in frustration when failing to park inside.’ (See: https://www.zimlive.com/2020/06/13/how-zimbabwe-paid-2-week-old-company-us2m-sparking-interpol-probe/.)

 

Other points

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

 
US demands justice for abducted – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 6th June 2020 PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 07 June 2020 17:36

https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/49980041133/sizes/z/

 

Home Affairs Minister Kazembe Kazembe says the abduction and torture of three young opposition women blamed on government agents didn’t happen. It was all an invention by the MDC, western embassies, churches, doctors and lawyers.

 

The minister maintained that the government ‘does not permit any of its institutions and agencies to use torture, forced disappearance or abductions’. Such methods, he said, were ‘extrapolated from foreign environments for the benefit of regime change sponsors’.

 

Kazembe alleged that the chairman of the Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights, Fortune Nyamande, and his secretary, Norman Matara, were not resident in the country but had come back specifically to ‘fake’ the abduction. He said there had been consistent contamination of the entire chain of evidence by MDC leaders, activists and officials of foreign embassies who had gained access ahead of the investigating authorities.

 

Kazembe said examination of the women by government doctors had not shown any injuries matching the women’s accounts which, he said, showed ‘signs of coaching’. He claimed that before they were taken to hospital they went to MDC leader Chamisa’s private offices, adding: ‘the famed abduction was a desperate attempt to qualify for a US 10-month scholarship’.

 

His allegations were dismissed by the MDC’s deputy spokesman, Clifford Hlatshwayo, who said: ‘Zanu PF is behaving like a terrorist organisation. They are very cruel and think people are objects they can abuse, torture and rape. We are all God’s people and time will come when all this will end. The time is now.’ (See: https://www.newsday.co.zw/2020/06/chamisa-diplomats-stage-managed-abductions-govt/).

 

Kazembe’s remarks came after a week of bruising exchanges between the Zanu PF government and the United States over the killing of an Afro-American by police in Minneapolis. The American ambassador, Brian Nichols (himself black), pointed out in a statement after meeting Foreign Minister Moyo that the policeman had already been charged with murder but people were wondering when abducted Zimbabweans would get justice.

 

‘I again urged Zimbabwe’s government to end state-sponsored violence against peaceful protesters, civil society, labour leaders and members of the opposition in Zimbabwe, and to hold accountable those responsible for human rights abuses . . . Peaceful protesters Joana Mamombe, Cecilia Chimbiri and Netsai Marova were arrested, abducted, assaulted and left for dead. To those who deny America’s right to speak out on their fate, let me remind you, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere . . . Whatever affects one directly, affects us all indirectly.”’  (See: https://twitter.com/usembassyharare/status/1267450903512129536).

 

Other points

  • The arrest of MDC leaders for trying to enter their own headquarters is further evidence that Zimbabwe is back to the 2008 collapse scenario. As Siphosame Malunga puts it in an article in the Africa Report: ‘Hollowed out and looted, the state can no longer look after its own soldiers and police, and their families; let alone address the spectre of mass starvation and a public health emergency haunting over half of Zimbabwe’s 16 million people.’ (See: https://www.theafricareport.com/29111/zimbabwes-critical-choice-state-collapse-or-people-powered-change/).
  • Zimbabwean economist Christopher Mugaga, who is chief executive of the National Chamber of Commerce, says he expects to see inflation, put at nearly 700% in March, shoot up to 1,800% by the end of the year. He believes that the country will re-dollarise by then (see: https://bulawayo24.com/news/national/186612).
  • We are sad to report the passing away of Vigil activist Eletha Mpofu from stomach cancer on Friday. Our condolences go to her family. Also in our thoughts is Vigil activist Kevin Wheeldon who was admitted to hospital with coronavirus about a week ago. We were pleased to receive a message from him that he was getting better.

  • Because of the coronavirus we can no longer physically meet outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London, so we have a virtual Vigil while the lockdown continues. 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 (see: https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/albums/72157714609971221). Our virtual Vigil activists today were Mavis Harrison, Patricia Masamba and Esther Munyira 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
 
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