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‘A Soft Genocide’ – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 17th November 2012 PDF Print E-mail
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Sunday, 18 November 2012 15:37

The Vigil will be submitting a petition to the Zimbabwe Embassy in London on Wednesday 21st November calling on President Mugabe to establish a Commission of Inquiry into the billions of dollars of missing diamond money.

 

The diamond inquiry was one of the demands agreed for the global diaspora ‘Operation Take Back Zimbabwe’ campaign which has been protesting outside Zimbabwean diplomatic missions on the 21st of each month since January 2012.

 

Other demands include:

·        Parliament should be responsible for finalizing the draft constitution without interference from the principals as agreed upon in the GPA

·        A free and fair referendum to complete the constitution making process

·        Implementation of all the outstanding GPA reforms

·        A new voters' roll

·        An independent Zimbabwe Electoral Commission

·        The confinement of soldiers to barracks

·        International monitors allowed to move about freely

·        An end to the political violence now re-emerging

 

The diamond conference at the Victoria Falls this week was overshadowed by allegations by the human rights organization Partnership Africa Canada (PAC) that billions of dollars in government revenue had been lost by corrupt diamond activities. It said: ‘The scale of illegality is mind-blowing’.

 

The PAC report was predictably rubbished by Mines Minister M’puffed-up who has mysteriously emerged as one of the richest men in Zimbabwe. Cathy Buckle says in her latest diary (Diamonds or water? – http://www.cathybuckle.com/index.php?id=107): ‘Mines Minister, Obert Mpofu complained to delegates about the diamond watchdog groups: “How then are you expected to be transparent when there are hyenas chasing you?” he said. “They want to know what car you drive, which house you are living in and what plane you are flying.”  The Minister’s gripes are a world away from the grinding struggle of ordinary mums in the heat and dust as they try to keep their families clean and healthy with only eight litres of water per person per day. Diamonds, houses, cars and aeroplanes on one hand and eight litres of clean water on the other; there’s something desperately wrong with Zimbabwe’s priorities.’

 

The MDC-T MP Eddie Cross estimates revenue from diamond sales could be as much as $4 billion a year. “You do not need to be a genius to see where some of this money is going”, he says. “Harare is awash with luxury cars and you can see even new Rolls Royces on the streets as well as all other luxury models. Drive around the country and look at the houses going up – many covering over 2000 square metres. Some with tennis courts on their roofs, indoor heated swimming pools, elevators” (see: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/454-fundamentals-for-the-future--limiting-corruption).

 

The consequences of this looting were spelt out by Tendai Biti in his budget statement this week. He said that only a derisory amount had been raised by the Treasury from the diamonds. The result was what he called ‘a soft genocide’: ‘If you look at our social indicators; 90 out of every 1 000 children born are dying at infancy, secondly our ‘maternal mortality stands at 96 mothers dying per every 1 000 during child birth and our life expectancy is 41 years. The figures of infant mortality and life expectancy are by any description soft genocide.’ (http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/nov17_2012.html#Z2 - Biti budgets for watershed elections).

 

It’s clear that a parallel Zanu PF treasury is receiving vast amounts of looted money to pay for such things as the vote-buying $20 million ‘Presidential’ agricultural input scheme and the huge conference hall being built at Gweru for the Zanu PF conference next month.

 

Minister M’puffed-up’s line was predictably parroted by ousted South African President Mbeki who was invited to speak at the Victoria Falls diamond conference. M’puffed-up praised his parrot, introducing him as an ‘international negotiator on Syria’. The Vigil notices how many thousands of desperate civilians are fleeing Assad’s murderous regime and thinks Mr Mbeki’s alleged efforts for Syria measure up to his genocidal attempt to persuade his people that garlic and lemon were the cure for AIDS.

 

In his speech Mbeki again defended Zanu PF, making a point of citing the controversial research on land seizures by a British academic Ian Scoones. The Vigil notes this research has been comprehensively criticized by the Zimbabwean human rights campaigner Dale Dore (see: http://www.sokwanele.com/thisiszimbabwe/archives/8239 – Myths, Reality and The Inconvenient Truth about Zimbabwe's Land Resettlement Programme).

 

Dore sums up Scoones’ research: ‘Those expecting a robust academic study based on sound research principles and solid analysis will be disappointed. The study's references to understanding 'complexity' based on 'mountains of data' turns out to be detailed descriptions of localised complexity and a reticence to make meaningful and objective comparative analyses. Nor do the study's caveats stop the authors from inappropriately extrapolating their finding from Masvingo Province to cover the entire land reform programme.’

 

The Vigil is dismayed that President Zuma seems to have disengaged from the Zimbabwe question at its most acute point. We understand he is preoccupied by the ANC conference next month which could, conceivably, send him out to pasture with Mbeki. But the Vigil reminds South Africa that if they fail to meet their obligations to Zimbabwe, South Africa and the whole region will be jeopardised.

 

Other points

·        In the past week the Vigil has received a sudden surge of calls from Zimbabweans in detention facing possible deportation. We suggest people concerned contact the Zimbabwe Association. Check: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/refugee-information for contact details.

·        There will be a screening of the film ‘Robert Mugabe: Villain or Hero?’ at the British Film Institute at 2 pm on Saturday 15th December which includes a panel / audience discussion. For full details check ‘Events and Notices’.

 

For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website – they cannot be downloaded from the slideshow on the front page of the Zimvigil website.

 

FOR THE RECORD: 44 signed the register.

 

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

·        Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum’s children’s competition for UN human rights day. Zimbabwean children are asked to submit a story / picture on 'The Portrait of a Great Zimbabwe'. For full details check: http://www.swradioafrica.com/Documents/CHILDREN%20STORY%20AND%20DRAWING%20COMPETITION-3.pdf. Closing date 20th November 2012.

·        Eleventh 21st Movement Free Zimbabwe Global Protest. Wednesday 21st November from 12 – 1.30 outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London WC2R 0JR.

·        50th anniversary service for the Prisoners of Conscience Appeal Fund. Thursday 22nd November at 3 pm. Venue: Southwark Cathedral, Montague Close, London SE1 9DA. The service will be an interesting mix of readings by PoC patrons including Sir Geoffrey Nice QC, Zoë Wanamaker CBE and Reverend Dr. Nicholas Sagovsky, music by a Zimbabwean choir and personal stories from prisoners of conscience who have been helped by the charity. See: http://www.prisonersofconscience.org/about_poc/events/default.aspx

·        Next Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 1st December from 10 am – 1 pm. Venue: Swazi High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.  Please support our Swazi friends. Nearest stations: St James’s Park and Victoria. www.swazilandvigil.co.uk.

·        Election of Substantive ROHR UK Executive. Saturday 8th December. Further details as they become available.

·        Film ‘Robert Mugabe: Villain or Hero’. Saturday 15th December at 2 pm. Venue: British Film Institute, BFI Southbank, Belvedere Road, South Bank, London SE1 8XT. There will be a panel / audience discussion. For full details: http://tinyurl.com/mugabe-villain-or-hero.

·        Zimbabwe Vigil Highlights 2011 can be viewed on this link: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/the-vigil-diary/363-vigil-highlights-2011.  Links to previous years’ highlights are listed on 2011 Highlights page.

·        The Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) is the Vigil’s partner organisation based in Zimbabwe. ROHR grew out of the need for the Vigil to have an organisation 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 the views and opinions of ROHR.

·        ZBN News. The Vigil management team wishes to make it clear that the Zimbabwe Vigil is not responsible for Zimbabwe Broadcasting Network News (ZBN News). We are happy that they attend our activities and provide television coverage but we have no control over them. All enquiries about ZBN News should be addressed to ZBN News.

·        The Zim Vigil band (Farai Marema and Dumi Tutani) has launched its theme song ‘Vigil Yedu (our Vigil)’ to raise awareness through music. To download this single, visit: www.imusicafrica.com and to watch the video check: http://ourvigil.notlong.com. To watch other Zim Vigil band protest songs, check: http://Shungurudza.notlong.com and http://blooddiamonds.notlong.com.

·        Vigil Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=8157345519&ref=ts.

·        Vigil Myspace page: http://www.myspace.com/zimbabwevigil.

·        To sponsor the Mike Campbell Foundation expedition ‘Sailing across the Makgadikgadi Pans’ which will raise money for the work of the Foundation, go to www.justgiving.com/Mike-Campbell-Foundation.

·        Useful websites: www.zanupfcrime.com which reports on Zanu PF abuses and www.ipaidabribe.org.zw where people can report corruption in Zimbabwe.

 

How can you help?

The Zimbabwe Vigil exists entirely on donations from the public and well wishers. You can help us by donating via a deposit into our account Thank you.