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Topsy-turvy land – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 27th August 2016 PDF Print E-mail
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Sunday, 28 August 2016 17:18

The Mugabe ‘official’ view of the chaos in Harare on Friday is that it was the work of paid demonstrators for the imperialist West aiming at regime change. And, as everyone has learnt from the Herald, regime change is un-African.

This is not just a Zanu-PF attitude. Zuma, mired in corruption, spouts the same mantra. In fact there are all too many African leaders who view political opposition and any threat to their position as treasonous, justifying a change in the constitution to make this impossible.

In the topsy-turvy land of Zimbabwe, it was as if the demonstrators were the ones wielding the batons, indiscriminately spraying teargas around and blasting people with water cannons or worse. One would have thought it was the police who had been ordered by the High Court to stop a peaceful demonstration instead of being specifically told ‘not to interfere’.

If nothing else, Friday’s events show graphically how law and the constitution count for nothing in Mugabeland.

In a vivid account, the opposition MP Eddie Cross describes how he was on his way to take part in the protest when he was warned that it was dangerous to go any further.

‘I proceeded to the collection point through rock strewn roads, burning tyres and saw running battles between young people and the police. I saw water cannons in action with blue dye in the water and one machine putting out a fire . . .

‘I left the area and drove to Parliament to wash my face and get the tear gas out of my eyes. Then I tried to go back but was completely blocked by cars fleeing the battles in the central business district. Subsequently the street battles raged over much of the city, business closed down and the streets deserted. The army was deployed and helicopters were put up to monitor the people.

‘Was there any need for this? Absolutely not! I had participated in four previous marches and had not felt for one instance any threat or danger. Just cheerful thousands celebrating their right to protest at the state of crisis through which we are all living. The violence was instigated by the police who were totally responsible for what followed’ (see: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/816-the-precipice).

Mugabe’s spokesman who goes by the pseudonym Nathaniel Manheru justifies the unprovoked police brutality in a turgid article in the Herald running to nearly 3,000 words. The Vigil advises you skip the tired rants on the CIA, Yugoslavia, Cuba, Chile, Iraq, Libya, Ghana, Syria etc and go to the end, where he notes that the demonstration took place within days of the opening of the agricultural show by the Vice President of Sierra Leone.

‘Couldn’t the demonstration have waited? Or is a right delayed already denied? How about the rights of the teeming multitudes who broke day in the hope of fun? How about Zimbabwe’s obligations to citizens of other countries (leaders at that) under international law? How about public safety, law, order, life, limb? We sacrifice all that to look good in the eyes of the West?’ 

Sounding like Hitler in the bunker, he concludes: ‘The line has been crossed. From now onwards, it shall be another country. This so ‘caring’ world can go hang. We have a country to protect. And govern. After all, we have hit the bottom. We can’t fall’ (see: http://www.herald.co.zw/zimbabwe-to-decide-is-to-govern/). 

The Vigil thinks Charamba  (Manheru’s real persona) was ill-advised to mention the agricultural show, at which the nonagenarian Mugabe nearly fell as he climbed out of his car, had to be helped to walk in slippers and then sat silent and half asleep.

Other points

  • Vigil supporters demonstrated outside the Embassy on Thursday when Lynda Masarira of our sister organisation ROHR appeared in court in Mbare on trumped-up charges in connection with political activism. Lynda has been in jail for the past two months and was again remanded in custody until Wednesday 31st August. Lynda is in poor health and has been denied bail despite having young children. Thanks to the demonstrators: Anna Mwanza, Cephas Maswoswa, Chipo Kamhunga, Chipo Parirenyatwa, Dennis Benton, Edna Mdoka, Enniah Dube, Flemming Diza, George Chinamora, Grace Logia, Honest Madondo, Mduduzi Patrick Ndlovu, Nancy Makurira, Percy Dube, Rose Benton, Roseline Mukucha, Sharon Nziramasanga, Sharon Zimuto, Simbarashe Mutero and Zondiwe Gumede. Thanks to Enniah and Roseline for handing out flyers and selling our 'Mugabe must go / has gone' wristbands.
  • The Care Quality Commission has condemned a medical centre in Nottingham which was closed in June after the Vigil staged a series of protests outside. The clinic was run by a Zimbabwean doctor Sylvester Nyatsuro and his wife Veronica, who earlier this year violently seized a farm in Zimbabwe owned by a white couple. The Commission described the clinic as chaotic and noted that there was a culture of fear with staff being reprimanded and shouted at by management. It said an unregistered health care assistant had been passed off as a doctor at the clinic and allowed to carry out examinations. Dr Nyatsuro has lost his job for which he was paid more than £100,000 a year. It is not known how much his wife earned as the practice manager. The Vigil has presented a petition to 10 Downing Street calling for Dr Nyatsuro’s British citizenship to be revoked so he can start farming  (see: http://www.nottinghampost.com/willows-medical-centre-gp-resigns-as-damning-report-released/story-29655883-detail/story.html and http://www.cqc.org.uk/sites/default/files/new_reports/AAAF5260.pdf).
  • Thanks to those who arrived early to help set up: Rashiwe Bayisayi, Isaac Chawasarira, Mavis Chisvo, Joseph Chivayo, Humphrey Dube, Barbara Kachidza, Jonathan Kariwo, Fungayi Mabhunu, Honest Madondo, Phillip Mahlahla, Marian Mangani, Tafadzwa Mpumve, Nicodimus Muganhu, Roseline Mukucha, Alfredy Mukuvare, Esther Munyira, Sally Mutseyami, Anna Mwanza, Chipo Parirenyatwa, Michael Sirewu, Nathan Tanyanyiwa and Sharon Zimuto. Thanks to Roseline, Cathrine Musa and Isaac for looking after the front table, to Chipo P for selling our wristbands and to Phillip, Alfredy, Honest, Humphrey and Joseph for putting up the banners. A special thank you to Phillip for expertly mending our very tattered plastic banners.

For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website. For videos of Vigils and other events, check the ROHR facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/www.rohrzimbabwe.org/videos?fref=photo.

FOR THE RECORD: 40 signed the register.

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • ROHR South Yorkshire branch meeting. Monday 29th August from 1.30 – 3.30 pm. Venue: Christ Church, Ridge Road, Armley, Leeds LS12 3LE. For more information please contact: Sipilien Birani 07783149999, Patricia Nyawo 07443897919, Rosemary Mupunga 07446380110.
  • ROHR National Executive meeting. Saturday 3rd September from 12 noon. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA. For directions see below.
  • 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 Action Forum (ZAF). Saturday 3rd September 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 a shop. 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.
  • Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 3rd September from 10 am to 1 pm outside the Swaziland High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.
  • Monthly Itai Dzamara protest Saturday 10th September From 2 – 6 pm outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London. The protest is to mark eighteen months since Dzamara’s abduction by intelligence agents.
  • ROHR Central London branch meeting. Saturday 17th September from 12 noon – 2 pm. Venue: The Theodore Bullfrog, 26-30 John Adam Street, London WC2N 6HL.Contact: Fungayi Mabhunu 07907089899, Mavis Chisvo 07944612944.
  • ROHR Reading branch general meeting, summer BBQ and foodbank donation. Saturday 17th September from 12 noon to 9 pm. Venue: Pakistani Community Hall, London Road, Reading, RG1 3PA. For further enquiries contact: Nicodimus Muganhu 07877386792, Charles Mararirakwenda 07964731721, Joshua Kahari 07877246251, Saziso Zulu 07780067899, Deborah Harrry 07578894896, Sihle Sibanda 07985712749.
  • Zimbabwe Yes We Can Movement holds meetings in London as the political face of ROHR and the Vigil.
  • Zimbabwe Vigil Highlights 2015 can be viewed on this link: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/746-zimbabwe-vigil-highlights-2015. Links to previous years’ highlights are listed on 2015 Highlights page.
  • Facebook pages:
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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.