Zanu PF in denial – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 30th November 2019 PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 01 December 2019 15:12

The dire situation in Zimbabwe has been getting of a lot of attention in the British media – particularly since the visit to Zimbabwe by a UN representative who warned that Zimbabweans were on the verge of man-made starvation.

The UN envoy, Hilal Elver, spoke of widespread corruption, economic and technical decay, partisan food distribution and said nearly 90% of infants have stunted growth.

On top of this, we learnt that senior doctors have joined hundreds of their junior colleagues in a mass walkout, speaking of ‘a silent genocide’ caused by the dire conditions in hospitals. For its part, the European Union expressed concern at the slow pace of political reform, saying democratic space was again being curtailed.

The Times newspaper nevertheless found space to print a letter from Foreign Affairs Minister, Comrade General Sibusiso B Moyo, in response to an article about Zimbabwe the paper carried earlier. The article in question was about the latest vicious police behaviour towards MDC supporters in Harare.

Moyo’s vacuous letter didn’t deny the egregious behaviour of the police. He said the government knew ‘more work is required to bring the security services up to international standards’. He went on: ‘Here too international co-operation is welcomed. We also welcome the opposition’s input on these issues’. What a bare-faced lie. The police violently crush a peaceful gathering at MDC headquarters and Moyo blithely speaks about welcoming the opposition’s input. The truth is the police are given free reign to act with impunity.

Take another incident which took place last week: a drunken inspector of police, six police thugs, the baseless arrest of the President of the Association of Rural Teachers and then a vicious police assault on his legal representative at Harare Central police station. A day in the life of Zimbabweans . . .

MDC Senator David Coltart, who was Minister of Education in the Government of National Unity, gave a graphic account of the events. Himself a lawyer, he had a personal interest: the lawyer so disgracefully treated while fulfilling his duty was his son Douglas – the second time he had been assaulted by police in recent months while representing clients. 

Senator Coltart continued: ‘The assault of a legal practitioner acting in the course of his professional duties is unacceptable and a serious breach of criminal law and the constitution of Zimbabwe. In the normal course of events such an assault would result in the suspension and possible dismissal of the police officers involved, upon being proved guilty of the offence. In Zimbabwe police officers in the last few years have been guilty of far worse assaults on civilians than the one perpetrated against Coltart. For example the assaults by police officers of innocent old men and women in central Harare on Wednesday the 20th November 2019 resulted in far more serious, potentially life threatening, injuries being inflicted on victims. Not a single police officer has been suspended or charged for numerous unlawful assaults on civilians during the last few years.’

Senator Coltart commented: ‘In my 36 years of legal practice in Zimbabwe I have never heard of any lawyer who has been assaulted trying to represent his or her client. This conduct of the police is accordingly a serious deterioration in Zimbabwe's human rights situation. It is also incumbent on churches, civic groups and the international community to speak out against this vile conduct. Zimbabweans are rendered defenceless by an increasingly rogue police force and if the international community in particular does not act against this conduct the culture of impunity within the security forces of Zimbabwe will grow. This in turn will result in all Zimbabweans being rendered ever more vulnerable and abuses of fundamental human rights will escalate.’

Other points

  • Environment Minister Mangalisa Ndlovu unwisely submitted himself to an interview by the BBC’s HardTalk programme. Unwise because Ndlovu emerged as just another Zanu PF clone, basically saying all our troubles are because of illegal sanctions and bad weather. (See: https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m000bt2b/hardtalk-on-the-road-in-zimbabwe-climate-change.)
  • President Mnangagwa is at last doing something of which the Vigil approves. He announced that the Mugabe family stands to lose more than 10 of its stolen farms. He said: ‘This family in this province has many farms, although they used to preach against people having many farms. We are going to take some of the more than 10 farms from them that they have and leave them with one farm since that is what they
  • preached.’
  • Thanks to those who came early to help set up the front table and put up the banners: Cynthia Chibanda, Yvonne Jacobs, Joyce Mbairatsunga, Washington Mugari, Margaret Munenge and Ephraim Tapa. Thanks to Joyce and Yvonne for looking after the front table, to Bigboy Sibanda for handing out flyers, to Margaret for drumming and to Ephraim for photos. Thanks to those who stayed to the end to pack up on a bitterly cold and bleak day: Cynthia, Yvonne, Washington, Margaret, Ephraim and Kevin Wheeldon.
  • For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimb88abwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website.

FOR THE RECORD: 9 signed the register. 

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • ROHR fundraising dinner dance in aid of women living with HIV/AIDS in rural Zimbabwe. Saturday 7th December from 7 pm till late. Venue: Lee Chapel South Community Centre, The Knares, Basildon SS16 5SA. Formal dress code. Tickets £30. Contact organisers: Esther Munyira 07492058109, Simbarashi Jingo 07722998848, Rangarirai Chivaviro 07378429599 and Patience Chimba 07896496379.
  • 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:
 
SA worried about Zimbabwe – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 23rd November 2019 PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 25 November 2019 07:27

In a week which saw another brutal violation of human rights in Zimbabwe, South Africa offered a glimmer of hope that it could help resolve the crisis.

South Africa’s International Relations Minister Naledi Pandor identified Zimbabwe’s political and economic crisis as being caused by the hostility between its political leaders. Addressing a symposium on Zimbabwe in Pretoria, she said: ‘We would be greatly assisted in playing a positive role if we knew there was a shared notion in Zimbabwe of what must be done.’

She continued: ‘This is an extremely important point for us because, while indeed as the South African government, we work very closely with the government of Zimbabwe, it would be difficult for us to be seen as playing a role only with the government . . . We need to be provided with a path that indicates that as we enter to provide support, all the parties, all groups and all stakeholders in Zimbabwe are at one with that assistance that support must be.’

MDC leader Nelson Chamisa said he was heartened by Dr Pandor’s ‘correct diagnosis of the major problem in Zimbabwe as toxic politics’. He said: ‘We, in the MDC, stand ready to welcome South Africa and SADC’s mediation in Zimbabwe to end the suffering that has gone on for far too long, and give our people hope. In the face of provocation and persecution, our commitment to a sustainable, peaceful outcome has not shrunk.’ (See: https://www.newsday.co.zw/2019/11/ed-chamisa-must-talk-sa/.)

Chamisa was speaking just hours after police used teargas to disperse party supporters who had gathered at the MDC’s headquarters in Harare. Many people were savagely beaten with baton sticks. A senior American official, Tibor Nagy condemned what he described as the ‘unprovoked use of force against peaceably assembled Zimbabweans’.

Other points

  • A report tabled in Parliament by the Public Accounts Committee said the government had taken US$3.2 billion from depositors’ bank accounts before introducing the bond notes in 2016. The Committee, chaired by former MDC Finance Minister Tendai Biti said the Central Bank used the money to finance government operations without parliament’s approval (see: https://www.theindependent.co.zw/2019/11/22/rbz-raids-us32bn-in-depositors-funds/).
  • In another embarrassment for the government, China has complained that the recent budget understated Chinese aid to Zimbabwe. The budget said China had provided US$3.6 million in the first 9 months of the year while the real figure was closer to US$137 million.
  • The government has decided to name roads in in all the provinces after President Mnangagwa. Other Zanu PF leaders are also being honoured. Tendai Biti tweeted: ‘The public hospital system has collapsed. Citizens are dying like flies. The power blackouts are now permanent. Hyperinflation has spiralled out of control. But they sat and named roads after themselves. Easily the worst government in the history of governments.’ (See: https://www.zimlive.com/2019/11/22/in-hurry-to-secure-space-in-history-mnangagwa-names-10-roads-after-himself/.)
  • Another week another demonstration. Thousands of people – many of them Chinese – staged a protest in London over China’s heavy-handed treatment of Hong Kong. Many of them stopped at the Vigil.
  • The Vigil gazebo arrived today and was put up without mishap. Thanks for further contributions from Alice Majola and Casper Nyamakura.
  • Thanks to those who came early to help set up the front table and put up the banners: Yvonne Jacobs, Alice Majola, Chido Makawa, Benjamin Molife, Richard Munyama, Esther Munyira, Fungisai Mupandira and Casper Nyamakura. Thanks to Alice and Benjamin for looking after the front table, to Fungisai for handing out flyers, to Chido for drumming and photos.
  • For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimb88abwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website.                                                                         

FOR THE RECORD: 13 signed the register.

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • ROHR Reading Christmas Party Fundraiser. Saturday 30th November from 6.30 – 11 pm. Venue: The Spice Oven Buffet Restaurant, 2 – 4 Church Street, Reading RG4 8AT. Theme: to restore dignity to the suffering people of Zimbabwe. Tickets: £20 per adult, free entry for children under 5 years. For more information, contact: Deborah Harry 07578894896, Nicodimus Muganhu 07877386792, Joshua Kahari 07877246251, Josephine Jombe 07455166668.
  • ROHR fundraising dinner dance in aid of women living with HIV/AIDS in rural Zimbabwe. Saturday 7th December from 7 pm till late. Venue: Lee Chapel South Community Centre, The Knares, Basildon SS16 5SA. Formal dress code. Tickets £30. Contact organisers: Esther Munyira 07492058109, Simbarashi Jingo 07722998848, Rangarirai Chivaviro 07378429599 and Patience Chimba 07896496379.
  • 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

The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place every Saturday from 14.00 to 17.00 to protest against gross violations of human rights in Zimbabwe. The Vigil which started in October 2002 will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair elections are held in Zimbabwe. http://www.zimvigil.co.uk.

 
Spaced out – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 16th November 2019 PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 17 November 2019 14:51

There was a lot of space in Parliament when Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube delivered his budget. This was partly because the opposition was boycotting the occasion but mainly because of the surprise announcement that he was to send a satellite into orbit.

‘The budget has set aside resources for research and development programmes, including the launch of a space satellite. I repeat, including the launch of a space satellite,’ Ncube announced.

Then we began to suspect an empty space between the ears of the wizard economist who has returned Zimbabwe to hyperinflation, poverty and starvation but wants to play with rockets.

Some at the Vigil remembered when a Zambian would-be astronaut only got as far as the upper branches of a nearby tree. Zimbabweans sniggered then. We are not sniggering now.

This space breakthrough promises to be as important as the discovery of diesel flowing from the rocks in Chinoyi which took in a gaggle of credulous Mugabe ministers. Perhaps we have been wasting our time on industry and agriculture and stuff like that and have now found our destiny: a small step for mankind but a giant leap for Zimbabwe.

Why should we spend all day queueing for a few of the new Zimbabwean dollar notes when they can hardly buy anything – and when the new currency can easily be obtained from black market dealers who mysteriously have loads of it.

When he came down to earth, spaceman Ncube had some useful advice for the ordinary starving Zimbabwean, quoting Nobel-winning economist Amartya Sen: ‘Human development is about expansions of citizens’ capabilities to fend for themselves.

In other words, look after yourself. The government doesn’t have space for you.

Other points

  • Thanks for further contributions to the purchase of a gazebo to shelter the Vigil from rain from: Miriam Gasho, Simbarashe Jingo, Josephine Jombe, Jane Kaphuwa, Joyce Mbairatsunga, Benjamin Molife, Lucia Mudzimu, Fungisai Mupandira and Beverly Mupandiro.
  • Thanks to those who came early to help set up the front table and put up the banners: Delice Gavazah, Rosemary Maponga, Washington Mugari, Esther Munyira, Tapiwa Muskwe and Kevin Wheeldon. Thanks to Rosemary and Delice for looking after the front table, to Patience Chmba and Tendai Chigariro for handing out flyers, Mary Muteyerwa, Margaret Munenge and Delice for drumming and to Jonathan Kariwo for photos.
  • For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimb88abwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website.                                                                 

FOR THE RECORD: 19 signed the register.

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • ROHR Reading Christmas Party Fundraiser. Saturday 30th November from 6.30 – 11 pm. Venue: The Spice Oven Buffet Restaurant, 2 – 4 Church Street, Reading RG4 8AT. Theme: to restore dignity to the suffering people of Zimbabwe. Tickets: £20 per adult, free entry for children under 5 years. For more information, contact: Deborah Harry 07578894896, Nicodimus Muganhu 07877386792, Joshua Kahari 07877246251, Josephine Jombe 07455166668.
  • ROHR fundraising dinner dance in aid of women living with HIV/AIDS in rural Zimbabwe. Saturday 7th December from 7 pm till late. Venue: Lee Chapel South Community Centre, The Knares, Basildon SS16 5SA. Formal dress code. Tickets £30. Contact organisers: Esther Munyira 07492058109, Simbarashi Jingo 07722998848, Rangarirai Chivaviro 07378429599 and Patience Chimba 07896496379.
  • 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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