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Difficult democracy – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 16th March 2019 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 17 March 2019 12:12

Zimbabweans in the UK have enthusiastically engaged in the Brexit debate on whether the country should pull out of the European Union. Many have passionately taken sides – most, it appears, keen to stay in the Union.

Since the dangerously narrow victory of the Brexiteers in the referendum three years ago, there has been fierce debate on what would be best way for the nation to leave, not surprising since most members of parliament disagreed with the electorate.

But despite the differences there has been remarkably little violence – in contrast to the situation in neighbouring France, which has seen months of riots against the policies of President Macron, or the clashes in Germany involving the emergent right wing party opposed to Muslim immigration.

Despite the irritation and regret of the other 27 members of the EU at the UK’s difficulty in reaching agreement on the type of post-Brexit relations it wants with them, there has been an unexpected side effect: fascination with the Britain’s parliamentary system.

Television audiences in Germany, particularly, have been transfixed by scenes from the House of Commons, where 650 members of parliament have crowded in for boisterous, close-quarters debate. This audience has found it to be high drama, not just something to be exasperated by. It is democracy in action, not some dry, token, neat, pre-determined affair characteristic of hygienic European legislatures.

We Zimbabwean exiles in the UK still don’t know how this drama will end. But following President Ramaphosa’s visit to Zimbabwe we are profoundly depressed about how Zimbabwe’s situation will turn out. Ramaphosa’s refusal to even meet MDC president Chamisa seems to rule out hope of his playing a role in bringing about a dialogue between the rival parties in Zimbabwe. Not much democratic debate there – more the usual Afro-elite self-interest..

The Brexit debate has embraced all voices and tried to reach a consensus. This used to be known in Africa as Ubuntu. In the UK it has indeed taken time – but not nearly as long as Zimbabwe’s failure to fully implement the 2013 constitution . . . And unlike in Zimbabwe, the UK has an economy which is buoyant, with employment at a record high, while Zimbabweans face the total collapse of the vestigial health service, where gynaecological oncologist Bothwell Guzha of Parirenyatwa Hospital said ‘I am just seeing patients, make a diagnosis and send them away to die.’ See: https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-zimbabwe-doctors/zimbabwe-doctors-say-patients-dying-due-to-drug-equipment-shortages-idUKKCN1QU2HT and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kPsHSV1Wpe0.

Other points

FOR THE RECORD: 16 signed the register.

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • ROHR Reading Branch outreach and general meeting. Saturday 23rd March. Community outreach from 11.30 am – 1.30 pm. Venue: Broad street, Reading. Awareness campaign on deteriorating human rights in Zimbabwe. General meeting from 2 – 5 pm. Venue: The RISC, 35-39 London Street, Reading RG1 4PS. Contact: Sihle (Vice Chair) 07985712749, Josephine (Vice Organising Secretary) 07455166668, Shylette (Vice Secretary) 0782892980.
  • ROHR general members’ meeting. Saturday 13th April from 11 am. Venue: Royal Festival Hall. Contact: Ephraim Tapa 07940793090, Patricia Masamba 07708116625.
  • ROHR fundraising dinner. Saturday 27th April from 6 – 11.30 pm. Venue Zazas, 108 Whitechapel Road, London E1 1JE. Contact: Sipho Hobane 07400566013, Esther Munyira 07492058109, Fungisai Mupandira 07468504393, Casper Nyamakura 0757766912, Margaret Munenge 0739211743, Bianca Mpawaenda 07400566013 and Patricia Masamba 07708116625.
  • 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.
  • MDC Reading Branch restructuring meeting. Saturday 23rd March from 12 noon – 4 pm. Venue: RISC, 35-39 London Street, Reading RG1 4PS. Contacts: Charles Mararirakwenda 07588275745, Josephine Jombe 07455166668, Deborah Harry 07478894896.
  • MDC London Branch meeting. Saturday 6th April from 12 noon – 2 pm. Venue: Royal Festival Hall. Contact: Netsai Makarichi 07592619201 and Flemming Diza 07960838847.
  • 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 for £10. 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:

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.

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Lipstick on a pig – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 9th March 2019 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Monday, 11 March 2019 05:47

Former Tourism Minister Walter Mzembi used to be keen on what he called ’rebranding’ Zimbabwe. He could see that the country’s image abroad had been tainted by Mugabe’s misrule and thought cosmetic public relations would help bring in tourists.

Mzembi is now on the run from corruption charges but his propaganda idea has been picked up by the Mnangagwa government which has decided to pay half a million dollars a year to an American Trump-supporting PR firm to try to persuade the US authorities that sanctions against Zimbabwe are not justified.

The Vigil was skeptical at the time about Mzembi’s rebranding efforts and we think that the money now being spent could more usefully buy drugs for hospital patients or fix the water supply in Harare, where some areas have been told that they will only have running water for one or two days a week, if that.

It is clear there are two divergent forces in the government: reformers and old school Zanu PF diehards. The mere fact that the government is still trotting out the tired Mugabe mantra of ‘illegal sanctions’ would seem to suggest that the blockheads are in charge.

Zimbabwean constitutional lawyer Fadzayi Mahere points out US sanctions could not be illegal as they were authorized by the American legislature. But the Zimbabwean government seems to have learned nothing from its failed legal challenge against the sanctions imposed by the European Union.

Former US Ambassador to Zimbabwe Bruce Wharton lamented that Zimbabwe had missed a great opportunity to move forward following the coup. ‘Hopes that Zimbabwe, through Mnangagwa, would be one of those rare examples of a military coup that restores democracy are slowly and methodically being dashed by a military not willing to allow change.’

A more positive attitude has been taken by reformers in the government. Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube has openly condemned Mugabe’s land reform programme, saying the cancellation of property rights and security of tenure had reduced land to a ‘dead asset’, giving farmers little access to loans. Furthermore, it appears that the misconceived indigenisation policy is to be binned.

Reformers received encouragement from an unlikely source, the Zanu PF Youth League. Its leader Pupurai Togarepi suggested Mugabe could be stripped of all honours bestowed on him during his time in office. ‘Can we walk on roads named after a person who destroyed the dreams and aspirations of a generation, these are questions that we need to discuss and debate.’ (See:https://www.dailynews.co.zw/articles/2019/03/05/zanu-pf-wants-mugabe-stripped-of-honours).

The Vigil thinks that rather than ‘rebranding’ Zimbabwe the government should ‘debrand’ it – perhaps starting by renaming the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport.

Other points

  • Thanks to those who came early to help set up the front table and put up the banners: Abigail Chidavayenzi, Tinotenda Chihope, Marvellous Chinguwa, Daizy Fabian, Deborah Harry, Simbarashe Jingo, Josephine Jombe, Jonathan Kariwo, Rosemary Maponga, Nyarai Masvosva, Joyce Mbairatsunga, Bianca Mpawaenda, Margaret Munenge, Esther Munyira, Collen Mupazviriho, Tapiwa Muskwe, Sipho Ndlovu, Casper Nyamakura, Simon Nyanhi, Bigboy Sibanda, Ephraim Tapa and Reuben Waretsa. Thanks to Josephine, Rosemary and Deborah for looking after the front table, to Bigboy, Esther, Bianca and Simon for handing out flyers and to Jonathan, Deborah, Casper and Patricia Masamba for photos.
  • 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: 36 signed the register.

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • ROHR Reading Branch outreach and general meeting. Saturday 23rd March. Community outreach from 11.30 am – 1.30 pm. Venue: Broad street, Reading. Awareness campaign on deteriorating human rights in Zimbabwe. General meeting from 2 – 5 pm. Venue: The RISC, 35-39 London Street, Reading RG1 4PS. Contact: Sihle (Vice Chair) 07985712749, Josephine (Vice Organising Secretary) 07455166668, Shylette (Vice Secretary) 0782892980.
  • ROHR general members’ meeting. Saturday 13th April from 11 am. Venue: Royal Festival Hall. Contact: Ephraim Tapa 07940793090, Patricia Masamba 07708116625.
  • ROHR fundraising dinner. Saturday 27th April from 6 – 11.30 pm. Venue Zazas, 108 Whitechapel Road, London E1 1JE. Contact: Sipho Hobane 07400566013, Esther Munyira 07492058109, Fungisai Mupandira 07468504393, Casper Nyamakura 0757766912, Margaret Munenge 0739211743, Bianca Mpawaenda 07946230419 and Patricia Masamba 07708116625.
  • 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.
  • MDC Reading Branch restructuring meeting. Saturday 23rd March from 12 noon – 4 pm. Venue: RISC, 35-39 London Street, Reading RG1 4PS. Contacts: Charles Mararirakwenda 07588275745, Josephine Jombe 07455166668, Deborah Harry 07478894896.
  • 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 for £10. 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:
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Our Ponzi Country – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 2nd March 2019 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 03 March 2019 14:43

https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/33391923648/sizes/m/

Zimbabwe’s financial system has been described as a Ponzi scheme. It’s obviously true. But it is not the whole truth. The reality is that Zimbabwe is a Ponzi country, a hotbed of fraud.

A Ponzi scheme, for those unfamiliar with the term, is a way of creaming off money from deluded investors. They initially receive handsome returns but this does not come from profits on their investment but from new suckers drawn into the scheme, which inevitably ends up going bust. It’s like a raft floating down the Zambezi towards the Falls (see: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-02-28/how-a-giant-ponzi-scheme-destroyed-a-nation-s-economy).

MDC leader Nelson Chamisa told the French broadcaster France 24 that President Mnangagwa was out of touch with reality. ‘He has chosen to institutionalise deceiving the world, deceiving the people and deceiving himself.’ See: https://www.newsday.co.zw/2019/02/ed-out-of-touch-chamisa/.

The hysteria in government-controlled media hailing a supposed huge investment by Botswana reflects the government’s desperation. Any sign of an inflow of money postpones looming bankruptcy.

Botswana’s President Masisi had to tell reporters back in Gaberone that reports that he was giving Zimbabwe hundreds of millions in loans was totally untrue. All he agreed was to support a private credit line of $100 million for Botswana companies to invest in Zimbabwe (see: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-zimbabwe-botswana/botswanas-president-denies-report-of-600-million-loan-to-zimbabwe-idUSKCN1QI4TL?il=0).

The financial reality was brought into sharp focus this week by the German Ambassador Thorsten Hutter. Like all Ponzi victims he lamented the failure of Zimbabwe to repay its debts. He said Zimbabwe owed Germany $550 million. It was prepared to offer further financial assistance but there must be a commitment to repay debt and a return to the rule of law and human rights by Harare. The ambassador urged SADC to intercede and arranged talks between the opposing parties in Zimbabwe to deal with the crisis (see: https://bulawayo24.com/index-id-news-sc-national-byo-157227.html).

And crisis it is. Far from planning military intervention as some of the more excitable observers claim, the United Nations has launched an appeal for $234 million to help an estimated 5.3 million Zimbabweans facing starvation this year.

While Mnangagwa flits around the world like Mugabe on his expensive jaunts, a teachers’ spokesman says a quarter of children are not in school . . .  and meanwhile customs duty has suddenly soared . . . and petrol shortages continue. It’s what happens when Ponzi hits the fan.

Other points

  • Action for Southern Africa (ACTSA) asked for a representative from the Vigil to participate in a video to promote their proposed action: ‘long walk for freedom’. Vigil activist Sipho Ndlovu has been selected as our representative. He is to be remembered for his marathon bike ride in May 2017 – see: http://www.thezimbabwean.co/2017/05/wet-road-freedom-zimbabwe-vigil-diary/.
  • A big thank you to Patience Muyeye for new posters for the Vigil: ‘Zanu PF must go to save Zimbabwe’, ‘No to Zanu PF corruption’, ‘No to army brutality in Zimbabwe’, ‘No to election rigging in Zimbabwe’, ‘Zanu PF – illegitimate government’, ‘No to state capture’ and ‘Zanu PF are a clueless bunch’.
  • Thanks to those who came early to help set up the front table and put up the banners: Tinotenda Chihope, Patrick Hale, Josephine Jombe, Jane Kaphuwa, Ndodana Maphosa, Agnes Mukumba, Margaret Munenge, Richard Munyama Esther Munyira and Ephraim Tapa. Thanks to Josephine, Margaret and Agnes for looking after the front table, to Bigboy Sibanda, Agnes and Jane for handing out flyers and to Fungisai Mupandira and Josephine for photos.
  • 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: 31 signed the register.

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • ROHR general members’ meeting. Saturday 9th March from 11 am. Venue: Royal Festival Hall. Contact: Ephraim Tapa 07940793090, Patricia Masamba 07708116625.
  • 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.
  • MDC Reading Branch restructuring meeting. Saturday 23rd March from 12 noon – 4 pm. Venue: Risk. 35-39 London Street, Reading RG1 4PS. Contacts: Charles Mararirakwenda 07588275745, Josephine Jombe 07455166668, Deborah Harry 07478894896.
  • 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 for £10. 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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Zanu PF returns to terror tactics – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 23rd February 2019 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 24 February 2019 20:11

https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/46465386134/sizes/m/

Lawyer and former education minister Dave Coltart has appealed to the world to take action to halt the Mnangagwa regime’s terror tactics against the opposition MDC.

Senator Coltart was commenting on a statement by the MDC’s Manicaland spokesman Trevor Saruwaka, who said heavily armed soldiers had abducted two brothers who were MDC officials. One was Robert Saunyama, known as Jack Roberts, who was a parliamentary candidate in last year’s elections. The other was his younger brother Danmore Saunyama, a ward councillor.

The statement said about eight soldiers arrived in Zimunya Township in Mutare South in an unmarked Toyota double-cab truck. ‘They forced their entry into Jack's house where he was hosting his brother who was visiting him with his wife and that of his other brother, Jericho. The soldiers started assaulting the wives of the three brothers and their children, together with Clr Danmore. All this while four soldiers were training their guns on Jack Roberts threatening to shoot him should he attempt to fight them. The victims of this barbaric military brutality bled profusely and suffered various degrees of injuries. The soldiers then bundled the two brothers and took them to an unknown destination.’

Saruwaka’s statement continued: ‘What is clear from this incident is that Zimbabwe is descending into a dark period of kidnappings, abductions, beatings, murders and extrajudicial killings. The dark days of Gukurahundi and 2008 run-off killings are upon us once again.’

Coltart said the modus operandi was identical to that used in those days: ‘relatively low ranking, unknown second or third tier leaders were then systematically abducted and disappeared. In that way the regime can decimate the structures of the opposition without too much negative publicity.’ Senior leaders who had ‘strong name recognition’ were dealt with more carefully by harassing them through the legal system. 

‘It is time for the world to act. And those apologists of the regime need to make a decision - are they going to continue supporting this regime? If they do they will inevitably be tainted and become complicit themselves for the crimes against humanity being committed . . . We all have a duty to shout from the rooftops against these crimes; if we all don’t do this they will continue and indeed escalate.’  (See: https://www.facebook.com/david.coltart/posts/10156282468062613).

The army has of course dismissed allegations of systematic brutality by soldiers. It has announced it is to conduct countrywide door-to-door searches to look for army regalia allegedly used by rogue elements to commit crimes – a move dismissed by the MDC as a cover-up. Nelson Chamisa’s spokesman said: ‘They can’t expect us to believe that state security agents were robbed of their own uniforms. Even the government-controlled Herald reports: ‘Last week‚ a Harare man‚ Shepherd Magorimbo‚ admitted in court to terrorising residents while wearing a military uniform he got from the Zanu PF headquarters. “We were given the uniform at the party office‚” he told the Harare magistrate’s court.’ (See: https://www.heraldlive.co.za/news/world/2019-02-22-zim-army-targets-military-apparel-used-by-criminals/). 

Other points

  • People confused by the government’s new move to deal with the currency crisis should read Cathy Buckle’s latest letter (see: https://www.thezimbabwean.co/2019/02/the-rtgs-smoke-screen-where-are-all-our-us-dollars/). It is just over two years since the bond notes were introduced. Here’s what the Vigil diary noted on 26th November 2016; ‘The Reserve Bank has announced that it is to release its monopoly money on Monday – widely seen as the final nail in the coffin of the Zimbabwe economy . . . The Reserve Bank says $10 million of bond notes in denominations of 2 dollars and 5 dollars are to be issued along with $2 million worth of $1 bond coins. But few believe it will stop there. Because Zimbabweans have lived through this asset-stripping before, they know exactly what to expect. Savings will be wiped out by rapidly depreciating Micky-mouse money for the benefit of the elite which will externalise the remaining US dollars in the country.’
  • With the theme ‘living legend’, well-heeled guests attended a lavish 95th birthday party at Mugabe’s luxurious Borrowdale mansion. The living legend criticised the heavy-handed way the military was treating people. The man behind Gukurahundi said ‘Let us not be killers of our own people’.
  • Last week Nomusa Dube and others joined us at the Vigil to protest about the sale of Zimbabwean baby elephants to China and the likelihood of the proceeds being used to fund the security forces’ violation of human rights in Zimbabwe. She has written an article about this – see: https://africanelephantjournal.com/the-link-between-the-sales-of-baby-elephants-and-human-rights-abuses-in-zimbabwe/.
  • We had a wonderful new banner at the Vigil today: ‘No to military dictatorship in Zimbabwe’. A very big thank you to Esther Munyira for her hard work sewing the banner. Thanks to those who contributed to a new portable table for the Vigil: Shylette Chipangura, Esther Luckett, Cephas Maswoswa, Joyce Mbairatsunga, Rachel Mudzana, Lucia Mungwari and Fungisai Mupandira.
  • Thanks to those who came early to help set up the front table and put up the banners: Shylette Chipangura, Josephine Jombe, Cephas Maswoswa, Joyce Mbairatsunga, Agnes Mukumba, Esther Munyira, Fungisai Mupandira, Tapiwa Muskwe and Ephraim Tapa. Thanks to Josephine, Shylette and Agnes for looking after the front table and to Bigboy Sibanda and Esther for handing out flyers.
  • 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: 18 signed the register.

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • ROHR general members’ meeting. Saturday 9th March from 11 am. Venue: Royal Festival Hall. Contact: Ephraim Tapa 07940793090, Patricia Masamba 07708116625.
  • 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.
  • MDC Reading Branch restructuring meeting. Saturday 23rd March from 12 noon – 4 pm. Venue: Risk. 35-39 London Street, Reading RG1 4PS. Contacts: Charles Mararirakwenda 07588275745, Josephine Jombe 07455166668, Deborah Harry 07478894896.
  • 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 for £10. 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:
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Step up Ramaphosa – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 16th February 2019 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 17 February 2019 16:07

Mnangagwa’s nickname was never complimentary. Crocodiles are feared not admired. There is certainly much to fear in the hooded eyes of Mnangagwa – and nothing to admire in the bare-faced lies he told French television when he was interviewed at the AU summit in Addis Ababa.

The recent unrest was basically part of the West’s regime-change agenda, he said, engineered by NGOs and the MDC alliance and funded from abroad. The security forces had been the target of co-ordinated violent attacks ‘in every single town’.

As for the women who claimed to have been raped: ‘let them be paraded so we can see them . . . What we are doing is good for our people, good for Zimbabwe’, he declared (see: https://www.france24.com/en/f24-interview/20190210-emmerson-mnagagwa-zimbabwe-protests-interview-mugabe-regime-change-operation).

Well, of course it was good enough for the AU – but the bar there is so low a crocodile can easily slither over it and slurp down another bottle of comfort with his cronies.

Like the AU, SADAC showed no interest in the unrest in Zimbabwe, merely blaming sanctions. As UK-based law lecturer Alex Magaisa observed ‘SADC grabs and elevates Zanu PF's cheap propaganda. No word on the egregious human rights abuses by the security services and Zanu PF sponsored youths, even as they confess. Villains cast as victims, victims as villains. And they expect the world to take them seriously?’ (See: https://bulawayo24.com/index-id-news-sc-national-byo-156036.html).

But Mnangagwa hasn’t persuaded the West. The EU parliament has now recommended tougher sanctions against Zimbabwe. For its part the United States has called on all sides to come together in a national dialogue. It said: ‘in order for such a dialogue to succeed, the Government of Zimbabwe should end its excessive violence and intimidation, immediately release the civil society activists who have been arbitrarily detained, and hold security force members responsible for human rights violations and abuses accountable’.

It said the dialogue should be mediated by a neutral third party but who could that be? The Vigil thinks its time for Cyril Ramaphosa to take on the burden of Zimbabwe. The future of Zimbabwe and South Africa is inextricably linked and, despite his reluctance, the South African President must try and succeed where Thabo Mbeki failed. 

Other points

  • It was good to have with us Nomusa Dube and others who were protesting against the sale of baby elephants to China by the Zimbabwean government. They said these sales are helping to fund the security forces who so viciously and randomly attacked the citizens of Zimbabwe.
  • Action for Southern Africa (ACTSA) has had a letter published in the British Guardian newspaper calling for an independent investigation into the violent repression of Zimbabwean protesters. The letter was signed by Peter Hain, a prominent member of ACTSA’s predecessor the Anti-Apartheid Movement. Among the signatories were the three Vigil co-ordinators (see: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/feb/15/call-for-zimbabwe-to-halt-repression).
  • Thanks to those who came early to help set up the table and put up the banners: Josephine Jombe, Rosemary Maponga, Bianca Mpawaenda, Tapiwa Muskwe, Pearl Shambare, Bigboy Sibanda and Ephraim Tapa. Thanks to Bianca, Josephine, Rosemary and Pearl for looking after the front table, to Bigboy, Tapiwa, Gertrude Mudede, Agnes Mukumba, Kelvin Beja and Farai Mutumburi for handing out flyers and to Jonatha Kariwo for taking photographs.
  • 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: 22 signed the register.

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • ROHR general members’ meeting. Saturday 9th March from 11 am. Venue: Royal Festival Hall. Contact: Ephraim Tapa 07940793090, Patricia Masamba 07708116625.
  • 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 for £10. 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:
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