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Questions over Britain’s new relationship with Zimbabwe – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 19th May 2018 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 20 May 2018 15:40

https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/27347152287/sizes/m/
https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/42217513551/sizes/m/ 

The revelation that the British government is to support a loan to Zimbabwe ahead of the elections has alarmed those opposed to Mnangagwa’s Zanu PF government.

Former Finance Minister Tendai Biti said foreign governments should not back such loans until credible elections have taken place. ‘The elections are only a few months away’, he pointed out. ‘Let’s see the quality of this election first’.

The opposition sees the move as further unbalancing the electoral playing field, arguing that it will give international credibility to the military regime, which has promised reforms but so far delivered little.

The British move was reported by London’s influential Financial Times newspaper, which said this will be the first time the British government has been directly involved in a commercial loan to Zimbabwe’s private sector for more than 20 years.

The amount involved is $100 million and will come from the Standard Chartered Bank with backing from the CDC Group, the government’s development finance institution owned by the Department for International Development. They will share the default risk on the loan facility, said to be intended to provide desperately-needed foreign exchange to struggling businesses.

CDC’s chief executive Nick O’Donohoe, insisted that the move did not represent an endorsement of the Zimbabwean government. But sceptics say that, following the overthrow of Mugabe, the UK seems to be taking a pragmatic ‘realpolitik’ approach to Zimbabwe. This would confirm fears expressed by MDC President Nelson Chamisa during his recent visit to Britain that the British government was focusing on political stability and trade and commerce at the expense of democracy.

Other points

  • The Vigil demonstrated today in support of electoral reforms. A banner strung above the front table read: ‘Free & fair credible elections in Zimbabwe’. A big thank you to Patience Muyeye who organised the protest and generously paid for the new banner and a large number of placards such as ‘Electoral reforms first in Zimbabwe’ and ‘End corruption and state looting’.
  • Thanks to those who came early to help set up: Isaac Chawasarira, Isabell Gwatidzo, Jonathan Kariwo, Tozonziani Musanhi, Patience Muyeye, Tryness Ncube and Ephraim Tapa. Thanks to Tryness, Patience and Daizy Fabian for looking after the front table, to Isaac for handing out flyers and to Jonathan, Isaac, Tozonziani,  Patience, Isabell, Tryness and Ephraim for putting up the banners. A special thank you to Heather Makawa for printing flyers to hand out to the public at the Vigil.

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:

  • Demonstration for voters’ rights and voter safety in Zimbabwe. Saturday 26th May from 2 – 5 outside the Zimbabwe Embassy. Join us to demonstrate for voter safety in Zimbabwe – no violence, no threats, no bribes, all parties able to campaign freely. For more information, contact the organiser: Esther Munyira 07492058107. This ties in with the walk to fundraise for voter education. See below.
  • ROHR Reading Fifth Anniversary celebration. Saturday 26th May from 2 pm till late. Venue: Pakistani Community Hall, London Road, Reading West RG1 3PA. There will be food, drinks, music, games, prizes and raffle and ROHR Reading will be presenting food donations to local food banks. Contact: Nicodimus 07877386792, Josephine 07455166668, Shylette 07828929806 and Deborah 07578894896.
  • ROHR fundraising walk. Saturday 9th June. This will be a sponsored fundraising walk ending at the Vigil. Proceeds will go to pre-election voter education by the Zimbabwe Peace Actors’ Platform (ZimPAP). More information as plans develop. If you wish to take part or contribute, contact: Daizy Fabian 07708653640.
  • ROHR Central London branch meeting. Saturday 16th June from 11.30 am – 1.30 pm. Venue: Royal Festival Hall. Contact: Daisy Fabian 07708653640, Maxmus Savanhu 07397809056, Sipho Ndlovu 07400566013.
  • 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.
  • Cycle ride for the Human Rights Defenders’ Project. Vigil activist Sipho Ndlovu will be cycling 219 miles from 28th May – 2nd June to raise funds for the Human Rights Defenders’ Project of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights. Sipho will cycle through 6 cities: Luton, Cambridge, Colchester, Chelmsford, Southend-on-Sea and back to London. To donate, visit: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/sipho-ndlovuhdrproject
  • MDC London branch meeting. Saturday 2nd June from 12 noon to 2 pm. Venue: Royal Festival Hall. For more information, contact: Sharon Moyo 07877224113 and Clemence Munyukwi 07889667686.
  • Save the Zimbabwe elephants protest. Friday 15th June from 1 noon – 2 pm outside the Zimbabwe Embassy. One of our activists Nomusa Dube is organising a protest about the export of baby elephants from Zimbabwe to China. She asks Vigil activists to join her at this protest. 
  • The Vigil’s book ‘Zimbabwe Emergency’ is based on our weekly diaries. It records how events in Zimbabwe have unfolded over the past 15 years 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 will 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.
  • Zimbabwe Action Forum meets regularly after the Vigil to discuss ways to help those back in Zimbabwe to fight oppression and achieve true democracy.
  • Zimbabwe Yes We Can Movement holds meetings in London as the political face of ROHR and the Vigil.
  • 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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Open for deceit – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 12th May 2018 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 13 May 2018 15:50

Just what sort of ‘open for business’ does President Mnangagwa have in mind for his new Zimbabwe? Transport Minister Joram Gumbo seems to think it means telling lies in the national interest.

Talking about the can of worms that is the new national carrier Zimbabwe Airways, Gumbo said the government had decided to mislead people about the ownership of the airline to avoid attachment of its planes by creditors of bankrupt Air Zimbabwe.

‘That is when we also came up with the story that the diasporans were buying the ($70million) aircraft . . . Otherwise we could have lost the money as the country and government.’ (See: https://www.dailynews.co.zw/articles/2018/05/12/zim-airways-circus-continues).

It is not only the government that is given to ‘flights of fancy’. Nelson Chamisa’s HARDtalk interview this week with the BBC’s Stephen Sackur was uncomfortable for MDC wellwishers. Some lessons need to be learned from this if the party is to win confidence abroad.

Agitated comments on social media accuse Sackur of bias. This is nonsense. He is certainly challenging: this is what the programme is about. Anyone who agrees to take part had better be prepared. Chamisa was not.

If you are in the public spotlight you must be expected to be asked about a blue moon promise you made in Bindura of a bullet train from Harare to Bulawayo, or claims that Donald Trump had promised $15 billion in aid if you won the elections. And suggestions you would be able to fix the country’s liquidity problems in two weeks is certain to attract skepticism . . .

Mr Chamisa made a good impression on many people during his trip to the UK but the party leadership would be advised to ensure that he is properly briefed before giving interviews like the HARDtalk one. He has much to say that people in Zimbabwe and abroad are keen to hear. Speaking on several occasions during his visit, he addressed the question of electoral reforms, but they hardly got a look in the HARDtalk interview. You can’t blame this on Sackur.

At the Foreign Affairs Institute at Chatham House, Chamisa cautioned against what he perceived to be ‘a bit of a shift on the part of the British government in terms of focusing more on political stability and trade and commerce at the expense of democracy’.

He went on: ‘For a long time, the British government has been emphasising norms, values – let those norms and values of free and fair elections be respected. That is all we want – we’re not asking for money. We’re asking for the solidarity of a global coalition for free and fair elections’. (See: https://www.newsday.co.zw/2018/05/zim-needs-democracy-not-managed-stability-chamisa/). That’s more like it.

Mr Chamisa ought to have been aware that the bullet train idea was put forward by Zanu PF a few years ago. He certainly should have been alert enough to point out the fantasy of Zanu PF’s new manifesto promise of building 1.5 million houses in the next 5 years . . . like the millions of jobs they promised last time around.

Other points

  • Mr Chamisa was accompanied on the trip by former Finance Minister Tendai Biti and the former Education Minister David Coltart, who said they had pointed out there was a gulf between the rhetoric of the Mnangagwa administration and action on the ground. ‘We explained that for all the statements of commitment to a "free, fair and credible election" the reality is that less than 3 months from the election ZEC remains a biased, militarised institution; the opaque process for the printing of the ballots using the same tricks as 2013, the deployment of troops in rural areas, subtly intimidating the electorate and the ongoing use of the ZBC, Herald and Chronicle as propaganda vehicles (in brazen defiance of clear constitutional obligations) all show that this regime is not committed to a fair election. We stated that a fair election cannot solely consist of an election which is relatively violence free.’
  • Upcoming events at the Vigil: Saturday 19th May – demonstration for electoral reforms in Zimbabwe and Saturday 9th June – fundraising walk: proceeds to go towards voter education. For more information, check ‘Events and Notices’.
  • Thanks to those who came early to help set up the Vigil: Deborah Harry, Jonathan Kariwo, Rosemary Maponga, Patricia Masamba, Cephas Maswoswa, Esther Munyira, Patience Muyeye and Ephraim Tapa. Thanks to Patricia and Rosemary for looking after the front table, to Rosemary and Heather for handing out flyers and to Jonathan, Cephas, Rosemary, Deborah, Patience, Esther, Patricia and Ephraim for putting up the banners and tarpaulin on a very damp day.

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:

  • Demonstration for electoral reforms and good governance in Zimbabwe. Saturday 19th May from 2 – 5 pm outside the Zimbabwe Embassy. Join us to demonstrate for free and fair elections and the diaspora vote. For more information, contact the organiser: Patience Muyeye 07512383391.
  • ROHR Central London branch meeting. Saturday 19th May from 11.30 am – 1.30 pm. Venue: Royal Festival Hall, Contact: Daisy Fabian 07708653640, Maxmus Savanhu 07397809056, Sipho Ndlovu 07400566013.
  • ROHR Reading Fifth Anniversary celebration. Saturday 26th May from 2 pm till late. Venue: Pakistani Community Hall, London Road, Reading West RG1 3PA. There will be food, drinks, music, games, prizes and raffle and ROHR Reading will be presenting food donations to local food banks. Contact: Nicodimus 07877386792, Josephine 07455166668, Shylette 07828929806 and Deborah 07578894896.
  • ROHR fundraising walk. Saturday 9th June. This will be a sponsored fundraising walk ending at the Vigil. Proceeds will go to voter education before the elections by the Zimbabwe Peace Actors’ Platform (ZimPAP). More information as plans develop. If you wish to take part or contribute, contact: Daizy Fabian, 07708653640.
  • 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.
  • Save the Zimbabwe elephants protest. Friday 15th June from 1 noon – 2 pm outside the Zimbabwe Embassy. One of our activists Nomusa Dube is organising a protest about the export of baby elephants from Zimbabwe to China. She asks Vigil activists to join her at this protest. 
  • The Vigil’s book ‘Zimbabwe Emergency’ is based on our weekly diaries. It records how events in Zimbabwe have unfolded over the past 15 years 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 will 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.
  • Zimbabwe Action Forum meets regularly after the Vigil to discuss ways to help those back in Zimbabwe to fight oppression and achieve true democracy.
  • Zimbabwe Yes We Can Movement holds meetings in London as the political face of ROHR and the Vigil.
  • Facebook pages:
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Country for sale – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 5th May 2018 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 06 May 2018 15:01

An influential American senator, Chris Coons, has accused President Mnangagwa of not ‘walking the talk’ to introduce promised democratic reforms to clear the way for free and fair elections due by August.

Coons was a member of a delegation of US senators – members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee – which visited Zimbabwe early last month. Coons said that, in lengthy talks with the delegation, the president had pledged himself to promote democracy, free and fair elections, to protecting human rights and to returning to a rules-based open economy.

‘But frankly,’ he said, ‘We’ve seen no concrete steps in response’. Coons added that the delay risked derailing American moves to lift sanctions against Zimbabwe (see: https://bulawayo24.com/index-id-news-sc-national-byo-134642.html).

Coons’ comments come amid apparent differences between Mnangagwa and military commanders suggested by the chaotic Zanu PF preliminary elections – run by the military – which saw some the the President’s allies defeated.

Mnangagwa’s adviser Christopher Mutsvangwa has refused to accept his defeat in the primaries, complaining of an unconstitutional use of police as election returning agents, accusing them of ‘uninhibited rigging’. Mnangagwa backed him up with a statement that he didn’t want the police or any arm of the security establishment to help with any party function, which would amount to a flagrant violation of the law.

The Zimbabwe Independent goes so far as to say that the President and Vice-President General Chiwenga are openly fighting for ‘the heart and soul’ of Zanu PF (see: https://www.theindependent.co.zw/2018/05/04/mnangagwa-chiwenga-power-clashes-intensify/).

A Vigil activist just returned from Zimbabwe says the whole political process is diseased. The election campaign by all sides was largely driven by self interest to the detriment of the nation.

He told us that he had been offered some inducements by potential parliamentary candidates in exchange for financial support. ‘Zimbabwean politics is just a process of opening doors to facilitate corrupt self-interest', he said. He added that talk about a free and fair election by the military backed regime was 'mere talk' in the absence of electoral reforms. 

Thanks to those who came early to set up the Vigil by putting up the banners and looked after the front table throughout: Margaret Munenge, Patricia Masamba and Alice Majola.

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:  14 signed the register.

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • ROHR Central London branch meeting. Saturday 19th May from 11.30 am – 1.30 pm. Venue: Royal Festival Hall, Contact: Daisy Fabian 07708653640, Maxmus Savanhu 07397809056, Sipho Ndlovu 07400566013.
  • ROHR Reading Fifth Anniversary celebration. Saturday 26th May from 2 pm till late. Venue: Pakistani Community Hall, London Road, Reading West RG1 3PA. There will be food, drinks, music, games, prizes and raffle and ROHR Reading will be presenting food donations to local food banks. Contact: Nicodimus 07877386792, Josephine 07455166668, Shylette 07828929806 and Deborah 07578894896.
  • 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 over the past 15 years 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 will 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.
  • Zimbabwe Action Forum meets regularly after the Vigil to discuss ways to help those back in Zimbabwe to fight oppression and achieve true democracy.
  • Zimbabwe Yes We Can Movement holds meetings in London as the political face of ROHR and the Vigil.
  • Facebook pages:
LAST_UPDATED2
 
‘Out with the old: youth must rise’ – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 28th April 2018 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 29 April 2018 14:36

https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/40761784825/sizes/m/
Vigil activists outside Chatham House with British Ambassador to Zimbabwe

Campaigning outside Zimbabwe House on a chilly, overcast day was no compensation for missing Thomas Mapfumo’s Saturday concert at Glamis Stadium in Harare – his first home gig for 17 years.

What was a compensation, however, was the typically forthright interview he gave to the Daily News in which he dismissed the presidential transition from M to M as ‘cosmetic changes’ and called on young people to ‘rise and stand up’ to claim their country.

‘The people want a good leader — a man who is not a thief, a man who does not steal from the people, a man of the people, a man who will stand for the people, a man who will stand for the poor,’ he said.

Mapfumo added that it was impossible for the current leaders, in the twilight of their careers, to clear up the mess they had created in nearly four decades. ‘After 14 years away in the US, I come back to see people living in squalor, people are selling anything on the street and everywhere there are potholes. Amidst the poverty, you have others smartly dressed in suits and driving beautiful cars,’ he said. (See: http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/mapfumo-blasts-ed-government/).

‘Cosmetic changes’ is the message the Vigil gets from family and friends in Zimbabwe. Nothing has improved except the banditry of police road blocks which even the Zanu PF government realized was deterring tourism and prospective investors. The MDC MP Eddie Cross points out that, despite the promises of the new regime, ‘not a single significant case of corruption has been initiated’.

He goes on: ‘The Army may be back in the barracks but believe me their control over most of what is going on in Government has not changed at all, in fact it may be more open and pervasive. We are headed for a “smart election”, not free and fair in the conventional sense but one which will be controlled and directed by the same team that won the 2013 elections. Its outcome is being predicted with total certainty as being a two-horse race with Emmerson Mnangagwa the clear winner, Nelson Chamisa a close second and the also rans miles behind.

 ‘But I think they will be able to claim after the election that the “people have spoken”. The fact that they had their hands tied behind their backs, were subjected to a constant steam of propaganda and their basic needs delivered on a “command basis” by the military in mufti, will be very difficult to see and the international Community will begin to recognise the new regime once it takes over.’  (see: http://www.eddiecross.africanherd.com/180426.html).

 Other points

  • Vigil activists were outside the Royal Institute of International Affairs at Chatham House on Monday to give an alternative view to people attending a talk by the Zimbabwean Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister General Sibusiso Moyo. The meeting was attended by British Ambassador to Zimbabwe Catriona Laing, who accepted one of our flyers and stopped to discuss the situation. Thanks to those who took part in the demonstration: Bianca Mpawaenda, Dennis Benton, Patience Muyeye, Patricia Masamba, Rose Benton, Rosemary Maponga, Sharon Moyo and Tozonziani Musanhi.
  • The Vigil believes that Mnangagwa’s mantra ‘Zimbabwe is open for business’ will not amount to much if a report in ZWNews is correct and the butcher of Ethiopia, Mengistu Haile Mariam, has been appointed special adviser to Vice President General Chiwenga. Mengistu, wanted for genocide, has been sheltered in Harare by Zanu PF since 1991 (see: https://zwnews.com/ethiopian-murderer-mengistu-is-now-chiwengas-advisershocking-details-revealed/).
  • The Vigil is sceptical about reports that the Zimbabwean diaspora is flooding home for medicinal purposes (see: https://www.herald.co.zw/govt-legalises-mbanje-farming/).
  • Thanks to those who came early to help set up: Jonathan Kariwo, Michelle Makoni, Barnie Mandimika, Rosemary Maponga, Bianca Mpawaenda, Fungisai Mupandira, Sally Mutseyami, Jennifer Senzere and Pearl Shambare. Thanks to Rosemary and Bianca for looking after the front table, to Pearl, Michelle, Jennifer and Simon Nyanhi for handing out flyers and to Jonathan, Barnie, Jennifer, Pearl, Rosemary and Bianca for putting up the 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 THE RECORD: 17 signed the register.

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • ROHR Central London branch meeting. Saturday 19th May from 11.30 am – 1.30 pm. Venue: Royal Festival Hall, Contact: Daisy Fabian 07708653640, Maxmus Savanhu 07397809056, Sipho Ndlovu 07400566013.
  • ROHR Reading Fifth Anniversary celebration. Saturday 26th May from 2 pm till late. Venue: Pakistani Community Hall, London Road, Reading West RG1 3PA. There will be food, drinks, music, games, prizes and raffle and ROHR Reading will be presenting food donations to local food banks. Contact: Nicodimus 07877386792, Josephine 07455166668, Shylette 07828929806 and Deborah 07578894896.
  • 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 over the past 15 years 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 will 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.
  • Zimbabwe Action Forum meets regularly after the Vigil to discuss ways to help those back in Zimbabwe to fight oppression and achieve true democracy.
  • Zimbabwe Yes We Can Movement holds meetings in London as the political face of ROHR and the Vigil.
  • Facebook pages:
LAST_UPDATED2
 
Commonwealth to save Zimbabwe? – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 21st April 2018 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 22 April 2018 15:20
Mnangagwa lookalikes

The Commonwealth is reported to have agreed to a rescue mission for Zimbabwe at its meeting in London this week during the visit by Zimbabwe’s Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Lieutenant-General Sibusiso Moyo.

The London weekly newsletter Zimbabwe Confidential says Commonwealth countries hosting exiled Zimbabweans have agreed to organize airlifts back to Zimbabwe to allow them to vote in the elections, expected in July or August.

The decision follows General Moyo’s announcement that, although no date has yet been announced for the elections, it was too late to organize voting in the diaspora as Zimbabwe’s diplomatic missions are hardly ever open and staff had not been approved by the Israeli Nikuv company which traditionally arranges Zimbabwe’s elections.

The UK’s ‘fly to vote’ operation is expected to be funded by its foreign aid budget and the new Zimbabwe Airways, apparently connected to the Mugabe family, will provide planes. All travel arrangements are in the hands of Vice-President General Chiwenga’s wife Mary and the diaspora will cast their ballots at a special polling station set up by the military on the Agriculture Rural Development Authority seed farm she recently seized near Harare.

The Vigil has done exhaustive research and is sorry to say that this is all fake news, or what we used to call Herald or ZBC news. We are particularly sorry because this scenario is the only way we can see that the millions of people in the diaspora will be able to exercise their constitutional right to vote and because it reflects our skepticism about the running of the elections.

With only three months or so to go before the polls, the Zimbabwe Election Support Network says it is dismayed at the lack of progress in implementing electoral reforms (see: https://www.dailynews.co.zw/articles/2018/04/19/reforms-delay-jeopardises-polls). And now we learn of an MDC T activist being assaulted  by soldiers and kidnapped in Bindura on Independence Day (see: https://bulawayo24.com/index-id-news-sc-national-byo-133628.html).

We at the Vigil have been busy following General Moyo’s visit to London (see: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/press-releases/934-zimbabwe-vigil-media-release-19th-april-2018-). As we gathered outside the Embassy today there was an unusual amount of activity at the normally recumbent Embassy and we were told that Moyo was there and that it had been suggested that he should come out and speak to us. He didn’t appear. We questioned those coming out and learned that it was an open meeting for the diaspora but when our activists tried to get in they were turned away. So much for ‘open meeting’. It was open for Zanu PF supporters only.

Other points

  • After a bitterly cold early Spring, we are experiencing a mid-April heatwave and would advise General Moyo and his coterie that it looks ridiculous in London to wear a woolly scarf in this weather – even it’s only in slavish imitation of President Mnangagwa who seems to have adopted the custom of wearing a scarf in Zimbabwean colours.
  • Vigil activists will be outside the Royal Institute of International Affairs at Chatham House on Monday when General Moyo is to speak. Check ‘Events and Notices’ for details.
  • Check: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/04/20/boris-johnson-says-britain-will-support-zimbabwe-return-commonwealth/amp/ for a comment from one of our activists Salani (Sally) Mutseyami on the premature nature of Boris Johnson’s comments that Britain would back a Zimbabwean bid to rejoin Commonwealth if presidential elections go smoothly.
  • Thanks to those who attended our weekday protests: Abigail Chidavayenzi, Chido Makawa, Daizy Fabian, Dennis Benton, Dumi Tutani, Eletha Mpofu, Heather Makawa, Martin Chinyanga, Mary Ndoro, Michelle Makoni, Rose Benton, Rosemary Maponga and Sipho Ndlovu on Wednesday outside the Zimbabwe Embassy and Abigail Chidavayenzi, Michelle Makoni, Rose Benton and Tozonziani Musanhi on Thursday in support of the Swazi protest outside the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting.
  • Thanks to those who came early to help set up: Abigail Chidavayenzi, Daizy Fabian, Isabell Gwatidzo, Heath Jiri, Chido Makawa, Heather Makawa, Kennedy Makonese, Lucia Mudzimu, Margaret Munenge, Esther Munyira, Maria Mwaruwari, Morella Nhau, Ulibile Nkwate, Simon Nyanhi and Innocent Zvihwati. Thanks to Esther, Abigail, Ulibile and Chido for looking after the front table, to Isabell, Ulibile, Abigail, Maria, Heath, Simon, Heather and Chido for handing out flyers and to Daizy, Margaret, Abigail, Morella, Maria, Ulibile and Heath for putting up the banners. Thanks to Heather 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: 21 signed the register.

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • Protest outside Chatham House. Monday 23rd April from 4 pm. Venue: 10 St James's Square, London SW1Y 4LE. Zimbabwean Foreign Minister Moyo is speaking from 4.30 – 5.30. Vigil supporters will be outside to once again press our message for reforms to ensure truly free and fair elections. For more information check: https://www.chathamhouse.org/event/zimbabwe-s-international-re-engagement-and-socio-economic-recovery.
  • ROHR Central London branch meeting. Saturday 19th May from 11.30 am – 1.30 pm. Venue: Royal Festival Hall, Contact: Daisy Fabian 07708653640, Maxmus Savanhu 07397809056, Sipho Ndlovu 07400566013.
  • ROHR Reading Fifth Anniversary celebration. Saturday 26th May from 2 pm till late. Venue: Pakistani Community Hall, London Road, Reading West RG1 3PA. There will be food, drinks, music, games, prizes and raffle and ROHR Reading will be presenting food donations to local food banks. Contact: Nicodimus 07877386792, Josephine 07455166668, Shylette 07828929806 and Deborah 07578894896.
  • 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 over the past 15 years 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 will 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.
  • Zimbabwe Action Forum meets regularly after the Vigil to discuss ways to help those back in Zimbabwe to fight oppression and achieve true democracy.
  • Zimbabwe Yes We Can Movement holds meetings in London as the political face of ROHR and the Vigil.
  • Facebook pages:
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