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Shot in the foot – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 27th December 2014 PDF Print E-mail
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Saturday, 03 January 2015 11:59

The new indigenisation minister Christopher Mushowe has clarified the indigenisation policy which has been blamed for scaring off desperately needed foreign investment. But his announcement that foreign investors could be left with as little as 1% of their investment is hardly likely to encourage them.

 

Mushowe told the Herald that 49% was the maximum allowed for foreign shareholding and 51% was the minimum for the indigenisation holding: ‘So it's not cast in concrete that it's 49 percent, it can be one percent because it is the maximum and 51 percent can be 99 percent because it's the minimum’ (see: http://www.timeslive.co.za/africa/2014/12/24/foreign-investors-very-lucky-to-get-49-shares-in-their-businesses-zimbabwe-minister Foreign investors 'very lucky' to get 49% shares in their businesses: Zimbabwe minister).

 

The Vigil doubts that foreign investors will rush to donate 99% of their money to Zanu PF. As one Vigil member remarked: ‘the Cabinet reshuffle means that Mugabe has had to get rid of the stupid and promote the really stupid’.

 

After our last Vigil of 2014 we wish all our friends a better 2015. But given Mushowe’s pig-headedness it will take a miracle.

 

People often ask us why we go on with the Vigil when our demand for free and fair elections is denied time after time by Zanu PF chicanery, regional connivance and international indifference.  The answer is that we are determined to keep up awareness of the plight of Zimbabweans. How we do this is shown in our annual summary of Vigil highlights drawn from the weekly Vigil diaries. The first part of the 2014 summary, covering the first four months of 2014, is given below. The rest of the year will be included in subsequent diaries.

 

Thanks to Helen Rukambiro, Paul Fusire, Dumi Tutani and Fungayi Mabhunu for arriving early to help set up.

 

Zimbabwe Vigil Highlights January – April 2014

Another challenging year – Saturday 4th January: We at the first Vigil of 2014 were spared the worst of the storm which saw flooding in many parts of the UK. But it was still a bracing challenge spending four hours outside the Embassy protected only by a tarpaulin strung between four trees.

The noose tightens –Saturday 11th January: With Mugabe’s return from his latest Asian holiday he will be able to celebrate his 90th birthday in some style. His office has been allocated $206 million in Chinamasa’s budget – nearly six times as much as he was given last year . . . $200 million or so should cover his travel costs this year – after all it is more than the combined allocations for: The Ministry of Industry and Commerce – $7.4 million, The Ministry of Energy and Power Development – £23.4 million, The Ministry of Mines and Mining Development – $8.6 million, The Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development – $155.2 million.

Mugabe finished – Saturday 18th January: A meeting of the bi-monthly Zimbabwe Action Forum held after the Vigil discussed plans to stage a demonstration in Brussels next month when the EU decides whether to renew the targeted sanctions. It was agreed to run a petition to the EU demanding that there should be no recognition of the illegitimate Mugabe regime.

What country friends is this? – Saturday 25th January: The Vigil is to protest at a Zanu PF-backed visit to London by a delegation of Zimbabwean business leaders. The demonstration will take place on Tuesday outside the Royal Institute of International Affairs at Chatham House where the delegation will be appealing for international investment and the removal of targeted sanctions.

Mugabe’s delegation turns chicken – Tuesday 28th January: Mugabe’s broiler chickens scampered off clucking in alarm as the Vigil pursued them into Chatham House s. The Zimbabwe business delegation arrived in a people carrier but when they saw the Vigil protest outside they hastily made for a side entrance, losing a few feathers in the flurry. Why broiler chickens? The former Finance Minister Tendai Biti said last week: ‘The biggest problem with Zanu PF is that they think that money grows on trees. People just believe in spending, spending, spending. It’s like a broiler chicken. The broiler just eats itself to death’.

Mugabe’s square egg – Saturday 1st February: A delegation took time out from the Vigil to go across London to the Botswana High Commission to deliver a letter of thanks to President Ian Khama for denouncing SADC’s endorsement of Zimbabwe’s rigged elections. The delegation carried posters reading: ‘Zimbabwe Vigil salutes Botswana’ and ‘Thank You President Khama’.

Financing Mugabe’s looters – Saturday 8th February: The Vigil is advising the British government not to agree to Mugabe’s request to pay for the education of 750,000 Zimbabwean primary school children. The Vigil’s view is explained in a letter to Justine Greening, Secretary of State for the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID). Our letter follows up DFID’s response to concerns we expressed about development assistance to Zimbabwe falling into the hands of the rapacious Mugabe gang . . . DFID acknowledges that some British money had been routed through the regime in contravention of DFID’s funding policy in Zimbabwe and said it was strengthening its controls ‘to ensure that there can be no repeat of this kind of mistake in future’.

Boycott EU / AU meeting – Saturday 15th February: The Vigil is writing to Prime Minister David Cameron urging him to boycott the EU / AU Summit in Brussels on 2 / 3 April if Mugabe attends. We think he should follow the example of his predecessor Gordon Brown who refused to attend an EU / AU Summit in Lisbon in 2007.  Our letter said: We ask: what has changed since Mr Brown took his stand? We believe the situation has got even worse, with stolen elections in 2008 and stolen elections last year. Recent revelations in the official media in Zimbabwe confirm how totally corrupt the Mugabe regime is.

Tell us the good news – Saturday 22nd February: The EU’s fawning climbdown over sanctions has predictably been scorned by Zanu PF who will now harp on about the ‘victimisation’ of Mugabe and his wife. Baroness Ashton, the EU’s foreign policy chief, says there has been progress in Zimbabwe. We have written to her asking: What is the good news from Zimbabwe that the EU uses to justify the suspension of targeted measures?

Vigil demonstration at Heathrow – Wednesday 26th February: A group from the Vigil went to Heathrow to demonstrate against the threatened deportation of our supporter Try Mahachi. We are relieved to say he wasn’t put on the plane.

Vigil Demonstration – Thursday 27th February: Vigil activists demonstrated at a London restaurant holding a Zimbabwean tourist promotion. The protestors carried our banner ‘No to Mugabe, No to Starvation’ and posters reading ‘No Rule of Law in Zimbabwe’ and ‘Zimbabwe Tourism props up Mugabe’.

Aid for what? – Saturday 1st March: The British government’s donation of an extra $10 million for basic education for poor children in Zimbabwe came as Mugabe was being feted at a $1 million 90th birthday bash and his daughter’s wedding was being celebrated in equally lavish style. The Vigil suggests that our money would be better spent on funding change in Zimbabwe rather than propping up the regime. Our thanks to Fungayi Mabhunu for donning our Mugabe mask and playing the birthday boy in a tableau at the Vigil marking the wedding. Thanks also to Admire Mhindura for playing the role of a fawning Zuma who cancelled attendance at a Westminster Abbey memorial service for Nelson Mandela to go to the wedding.

Monuments to Mugabe – Saturday 8th March: Prosecutor-General Tomana says that, despite Zimbabwe being bankrupt with only $0.5 million in the bank, it will continue to fund the legal action against the EU for imposing sanctions. We were delighted to be joined by our supporter Deborah Harry who has been released from detention. She was taken to the airport to be deported but at the last minute there was a reprieve.

Asset in Wonderland – Saturday 15th March: As Zimbabwe sinks back to the stone age those of us driven into exile can only shake our heads in resignation at the relentless idiocy of our rulers. One brief announcement summed it up: ‘To make way for the Zim Asset Awareness Seminar, neither the National Assembly nor the Senate will meet on 12th and 13th March’ . . . Zim Asset was cobbled up to bamboozle voters in last year’s elections. To pretend it is a viable plan offering a way out of our difficulties is, in the Vigil’s view, to plunge down the rabbit hole into Wonderland. The question of asylum was brought up at a meeting after the Vigil of the Zimbabwe Action Forum. Ben Semwayo reported on a meeting of the National Coalition for Anti-Deportation Campaigns (NCADC) at which he represented the Vigil.

Vigil supports genuine asylum seekers – Saturday 22nd March: The Vigil has made a new approach to the Home Office over the sending back of asylum seekers to Zimbabwe. Our latest letter to Home Secretary Theresa May came as thousands of people demonstrated in London against the UK’s asylum policy. Our letter was delivered to the Home Office by Fungayi Mabhunu, enclosing a petition protesting at the proposed deportation of Trymore Mahachi.

EU finances Mugabe – Saturday 29th March: The Vigil will be protesting in Brussels against the invitation to Mugabe to attend the EU / Africa Summit on 2nd / 3rd April. The Vigil will be there to tell the world that things are not ok in Zimbabwe. Our message is that aid for Zimbabwe must not be aid for Mugabe and the military junta. We are very sad to report that, despite all our efforts, our supporter Try Mahachi was forcibly removed to Zimbabwe on Thursday. We are disturbed at reports of how he was treated when he was handcuffed and put on the plane.

Brussels demonstration – Wednesday 2nd April: Our Mugabe mask got another outing at the EU / Africa Summit when the Vigil demonstrated in Brussels against the EU’s craven invitation to Mugabe to attend. The mask was first ‘unmasked’ in 2007 when Vigil supporters demonstrated in Lisbon against the EU’s decision to allow Mugabe to attend the Summit there. The EU must have congratulated itself when Mugabe didn’t pitch up for the Brussels meeting, complaining that the invitation did not extend to Grace. David Kadzutu and Peter Sidindi took turns to don the Mugabe mask and enlighten the world about Mugabe’s vision: poverty, disease and corruption. Our ‘No to AU dictators’ poster was particularly popular with the hundreds of Mauritanian protesters we were grouped with who showed great interest in our cause.

Graceless Mugabe – Saturday 5th April: We were glad that participants in the Brussels excursion were able to attend the Vigil today including Ruwimbo Melody Tembo who left Stafford at 1.30 am for Brussels only getting back at 1.30 pm the next afternoon. More than 30 people attended our Zimbabwe Action Forum and heard Vigil founder member Ephraim Tapa report on a recent visit back home during which he had discussions with embassies in Harare. More importantly, he met prominent opposition leaders who suggested co-operation with the diaspora represented by the Vigil coalition.

Vigil welcomes new path – Saturday 12th April: The Zimbabwe Action Forum had a special meeting to discuss recent talks in Harare that Ephraim Tapa had with some leading politicians. The following resolution was passed: ‘The Vigil notes with great interest the developments in MDC-T. The Vigil will work with any organisation whose aims are compatible with our mission statement to secure free and fair elections and end human rights abuses in Zimbabwe, while maintaining our own identity.’ A second resolution was also approved complaining about the growing number of Zimbabwean failed asylum seekers being sent home at a time when the Zimbabwean economy is collapsing. The British government has expressed concern at the corruption in Zimbabwe. Their comment came in a letter to the Vigil in reply to one we had written to Prime Minister David Cameron urging him to boycott the EU / Africa Summit. The letter to the Vigil said the UK was supporting efforts to tackle corruption in Zimbabwe through a number of initiatives. It continued ‘We believe that significant improvements in the electoral process are required along the lines proposed by international and domestic observers, if future elections are to be both credible and transparent’.

Craven Europe – Saturday 19th April: As Zimbabwe marked 34 years of independence amid deepening hopelessness, the Vigil received a letter from the European Union which confirmed our worst fears about their pusillanimous policy towards Mugabe. We had asked them what progress there had been in Zimbabwe that the EU used to justify the suspension of targeted measures?  In their reply the EU cannot think of any progress beyond the generally peaceful manner in which the 2013 elections were conducted’ . . . It’s rather like commending the generally peaceful manner in which the Nazis gassed millions of Jews. The EU letter says: ‘Normalising the relationship with the government will enable the EU to play a stronger role in supporting the return to economic stability, improving the democratic environment, rule of law, respect for human rights, and the living conditions for ordinary Zimbabweans.’ The Vigil believes Europe’s aid money would be better spent in promoting desperately needed change in Zimbabwe – not in propping up this geriatric mafia.

Zanu PF at Chatham House – Saturday 26th April: The Royal Institute of International Affairs in London, known as Chatham House, claims to be an objective and independent-minded think tank. It is nothing of the sort, judging by the Vigil’s experience of how it deals with Zimbabwe. It has just published a long report on Zimbabwe which betrays its bias from the outset: ‘A landslide victory by the Zimbabwe African National Union–Patriotic Front (ZANU–PF) in Zimbabwe’s elections in 2013 resulted in its comprehensive recapture of the state. The endorsement of the results by the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the Common Marketfor Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), the African Union (AU) and the UN confirmed ZANU-PF’s grip on power. It also symbolized Zimbabwe’s re-admittance into the international community . . .’ Along with Botswana, the Vigil is convinced that the elections were comprehensively rigged and that Zanu PF has no mandate to govern Zimbabwe. Who is Chatham House trying to fool? We hope to have an opportunity to ask them at a discussion on the report at Chatham House on 14th May.

 

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: 12 signed the register.

 

 

 

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • Next Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 10th January from 10 am to 1 pm outside the Swaziland High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.

  • Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF). Saturday 17th January from 6.15 pm. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA. From the Vigil it’s about a 10 minute walk, in the direction away from Trafalgar Square. The Strand Continental is situated on the south side of the Strand between Somerset House and the turn off onto Waterloo Bridge. The entrance is marked by a sign at street level. It's between a newsagent and Pizza Express. Nearest underground: Temple (District and Circle lines) and Holborn.

  • Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF) meets regularly after the Vigil to discuss ways to help those back in Zimbabwe to fight oppression and achieve true democracy.

  • Zimbabwe meeting in Parliament. Monday 19th January from 3.30 – 6 pm. Venue: House of Commons. For information contact: Nicodimus Muganhu – 07877386792, Erick Eluwasi – 07532021348, Charles Ndlovu – 07413879590, Sally Mutseyami – 07448730581, Thandiwe Gwarumba - 07503512308

  • Zimbabwe Yes We Can meeting. Saturday 31st January at 12 noon. Venue: The Theodore Bullfrog, 26-30 John Adam Street, London WC2N 6HL.

  • Zimbabwe Yes We Can Movement holds monthly meetings in London as the political face of ROHR and the Vigil.

  • 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.

  • Zimbabwe Vigil Highlights 2013 can be viewed on this link: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/560-vigil-highlights-2013. Links to previous years’ highlights are listed on 2013 Highlights page.

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