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Stand up for sit down – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 21st November 2020 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 22 November 2020 17:16

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World Toilet Day on Friday made a bigger splash than this month’s third anniversary of the overthrow of Mugabe.

 

Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights called on the Mnangagwa government to ensure that everyone has access to a clean and safe toilet by 2030. It seems as likely to happen as the government’s promise that we will by then be an ‘upper middle income country’.

 

A recent government report said the majority of urban suburbs were exposed to drinking sewage – contaminated because of poor sanitation management by local authorities (see: https://www.thezimbabwean.co/2020/11/on-world-toilet-day-accelerate-implementation-of-measures-to-ensure-sustainable-sanitation/).

 

The situation is particularly bad in Bulawayo, where taps have been dry for months and people in poor suburbs face a daily struggle to get water. Diarrhoea outbreaks are a particular threat to young children – with or without toilets.

 

Bulawayo used to be an important industrial centre but it has been laid low over the last 20 years. Latest government figures show that now only 9% of Zimbabwe’s exports are manufactured goods (see: https://www.thezimbabwemail.com/economic-analysis/5-key-numbers-in-zimbabwes-new-economic-plan-show-erosion-of-a-once-solid-industrial-base/).

 

We in the diaspora are glad that, despite the Covid crisis, remittances sent back home have risen sharply and now contribute some US$658 million a year to the economy (see: https://www.businesslive.co.za/bd/world/africa/2020-11-19-zimbabwes-diaspora-remittances-surge-as-lockdowns-forced-use-of-official-channels/).

 

An small contribution in the form of a bribe would have been made by the Malawian millionaire Propheteer Shepherd Bushiri, who abandoned his gullible flock in South Africa to escape fraud charges he was facing there. He appears to have passed through Zimbabwe back to Malawi without a problem. The MDC Alliance said this showed how easily border management could be manipulated by corruption and bribery. The Profit said he and his wife had fled South Africa for their lives. ‘My wife and I strongly believe in our innocence but this cannot be proved if our lives are not preserved’, he said (see: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-54990694).

 

Under the Mnangagwa regime, there’s been no let up in corruption. The latest scandal involves the Red Cross whose acting secretary-general has been charged with firing subordinates who had reported corruption to the Anti-Corruption Commission.

 

You couldn’t invent it if you spent the whole day sitting on your brand new toilet – even if it was connected to a water supply . . .

 

Other Points:

  • Three years after Mugabe’s overthrow hopes for better government have faded. ‘Nothing has changed. Things have only got worse’, said Ibbo Mandaza, head of the Harare-based Southern African Political and Economic Series. The human rights monitoring group the Zimbabwe Peace Project says it has documented 7,962 cases of abuse of human rights in the last three years, including the abductions of about 100 activists and opposition figures by suspected state agents (see: https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/11/21/zimbabwe-3-years-after-mugabes-ouster-in-500-words).
  • The Zimbabwe Mail says the Mugabe family’s business empire Gushungo Holdings has become a pale shadow of its former self in the past three years. A reporter who visited Gushungo dairy estates in Mazowe says the once bustling dairy is now like a ghost factory. The nearby Amai Mugabe high school looked almost deserted (see: https://www.thezimbabwemail.com/business/robert-mugabes-business-empire-crumbles/).
  • Because of the coronavirus we can no longer physically meet outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London, so we have a virtual Vigil while the restrictions continue. We ask our activists to put on Vigil / ROHR / Zimbabwe regalia and take a photo of themselves holding an appropriate poster reflecting our protest against human rights abuses in Zimbabwe. The photos are uploaded on our Flickr site: https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/albums/72157716991446723. Our virtual Vigil activists today were Rosemary Maponga, Patience Bakasa and Lilian Kanyasa who all kindly contributed to Vigil funds.
  • For Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website.

 

Notices:

  • 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. 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
 
Terrorist threat to region – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 14th November 2020 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 15 November 2020 15:00

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President Mnangagwa has said Zimbabwe will help Mozambique in its struggle against Islamic terrorists in the north of the country. The Mozambiquan government has appealed for international assistance following new attacks by militants who have pledged allegiance to the extremist Islamic State group (see: https://www.herald.co.zw/zim-ready-to-assist-in-stamping-out-mozambique-insurgency/).

 

Armed militants chanting ‘Allahu Akbar’ (God is greatest) are reported to have set homes alight in a village, where a football pitch was turned into an execution ground and people beheaded. More than 50 people are said to have been killed in the area.

 

Several thousand people have been killed since the insurgency in the Cabo Delgado province began in 2017 with hundreds of thousands fleeing the area, where there has been discontent over government neglect.

 

Cabo Delgado, bordering Tanzania, has Africa’s largest energy project with a US$58 billion liquified natural gas programme. But even with the support of Russian and South African mercenaries, the government has not been able to halt Islamist attacks. In September they burnt down a holiday lodge frequented by international celebrities (see: https://www.arise.tv/mozambique-government-calls-for-help-as-more-than-50-beheaded-by-jihadists/).

 

The Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition has called for leadership by the African Union and SADC in the fight against the extremists. The AU, however, has been unable to do much to stem the spread of Islamic State jihadists down from the Sahel region through Mali to other West African countries, becoming a major scourge in northern Nigeria.

 

The Vigil doubts that SADC has the will to stem the IS advance down from Somalia through Kenya and Tanzania to Mozambique. The regional organisation is a hollow shell and the South African leadership is preoccupied with domestic issues.

 

Butt the Islamist threat is at Zimbabwe’s borders and Mnangagwa has no option but to help our close ally Mozambique. The question is can he avoid repeating Mugabe’s self-interested DRC disaster?   

 

Many would agree that, instead of reinforcing our police state, Zimbabwe’s soldiers could be better employed contributing to a regional military force. But who would lead it while South Africa is otherwise engaged?

 

This leaves only the United Nations. It would certainly expect French support, given that the French Total company is investing heavily in the Mozambiquan gas project. The UK could also help as it has given a billion pound loan to the project. The United States has already indicated willingness to help.

 

Now how about Zimbabwe’s all-weather friend China? It has shown a readiness to deal with Muslim dissidents without much criticism from the Islamic world. It sees itself as a global leader and could show this by joining a UN force to stem this threat to Africa.

 

Other Points:

  • About the time three years ago when Islamic terrorist violence became serious in Mozambique, the Zimbabwe Education Minister Lazarus Dokora made the surprising assertion that Islam was the biggest religion in Zimbabwe when it became independent, followed by Judaism and Hinduism with Christianity in fourth place! He said he had obtained a loan of $20 million from the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries to build the first 17 of 2,000 Muslim schools. We don’t know what happened about the schools but we have a good idea of what happened to the money . . . (see Vigil diary of 08/04/2017).
  • Because of the coronavirus we can no longer physically meet outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London, so we have a virtual Vigil while the restrictions continue. We ask our activists to put on Vigil / ROHR / Zimbabwe regalia and take a photo of themselves holding an appropriate poster reflecting our protest against human rights abuses in Zimbabwe. The photos are uploaded on our Flickr site: https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/albums/72157716896362632. Our virtual Vigil activists today were Esther Munyira, Rosemary Maponga, Patience Bakasa and Rudo Takiya who all kindly contributed to Vigil funds.
  • For Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website.

 

Notices:

  • 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. 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
 
‘The full Robert Mugabe’ – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 7th November 2020 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 08 November 2020 14:21

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The drama over the US presidential election, with long delays in releasing the results and angry disputes between the Republicans and Democrats, prompted a Vigil supporter to comment: ‘They could learn from Zimbabwe where they find it more efficient to count the votes before the election’.

 

This view was supported in a tweet by Samantha Power. US Ambassador to the UN under President Obama, who commented about President Trump’s behaviour: ‘He’s going the full Mugabe’. (See: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-election-2020/trump-2020-election-robert-mugabe-samantha-power-electoral-fraud-b1632130.html.)

 

Zimbabweans remember the prolonged delay in announcing the election results in 2008 while Zanu PF discussed what to do about their disastrous showing at the polls and how to rearrange the outcome. This was so unconvincing that South Africa had to step in and force a government of so-called national unity.

 

Since then, with the help of Nikuv the Israeli election rigging specialists, they have taken care they need no longer fear any unexpected outcome. The Election Commission with  military assistance ensures that everything goes efficiently.

 

The courts have gone the same way. The Chief Justice would like decisions to be made before the courts sit. This is much more convenient and reduces any disagreement about the outcome – except of course by the accused. But they would say they are innocent, wouldn’t they?

 

Zanu PF reasoning is that the president decides the national consensus and that there must be an end to the embarrassing protests and the anti-government propaganda. Look they say, how well it works in China where people work in harmony for the betterment of the people – except for ‘foreign-sponsored dissidents’.

 

The fate of the valiant journalist Hopewell Chin’ono shows all too clearly how Zanu PF plans to follow the Chinese model – endless harassment and arbitrary imprisonment for exercising his constitutional rights.

 

Chin’ono was arrested in July for exposing government corruption and held in the Chikarubi high security prison pending trial on the spurious charge of inciting violence. He was released on bail only in September but rearrested on Tuesday for breaking his bail conditions – apparently including comment on the case of Henrietta Rushwaya, the President of the Miners’ Federation arrested for trying to smuggle gold to Dubai.

 

Chin’ono was brought to court in leg irons late on Thursday, which his lawyers said was a deliberate tactic to delay proceedings and ensure the hearing was postponed. The European Union representative in Harare said exposing corruption was not a crime and Chin’ono’s detention sent a ‘chilling signal on freedom of opinion and expression in Zimbabwe’. (See: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/nov/06/zimbabwe-journalist-hopewell-chinono-has-bail-hearing-postponed).

 

Other Points:

  • The Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum goes further than former UN Ambassador Power and says the Mnangagwa regime is even worse than Mugabe’s. The Forum, which represents 21 non-governmental organisations,  talks of crimes against humanity and says ‘something must be done with urgency’ (see: https://allafrica.com/stories/202011060526.html).
  • In our report of the Rushwaya smuggling case last week we quoted the Times which incorrectly said she was accused of trying to smuggle 14 bars of gold. It should have been four. The weight of gold involved was the same.
  • Because of the coronavirus we can no longer physically meet outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London, so we have a virtual Vigil while the restrictions continue. We ask our activists to put on Vigil / ROHR / Zimbabwe regalia and take a photo of themselves holding an appropriate poster reflecting our protest against human rights abuses in Zimbabwe. The photos are uploaded on our Flickr site: https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/albums/72157716790679796. Our virtual Vigil activists today were Patience Bakasa and Lilian Kanyasa who both kindly contributed to Vigil funds.
  • For Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website.

 

Notices:

  • 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. 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

 
Curious business indeed – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 31st October 2020 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 05 November 2020 15:18

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The first curious thing about the Henrietta Rushwaya case is how she got the job of President of the Miners’ Federation after a stint as boss of the Football Association ended in disgrace over the fixing of international matches. Of course having connections with the Mnangagwa family wouldn’t have been a handicap . . .

 

Curiouser was the brazen confidence with which she tried to smuggle 6 kgs of gold bars in her hand baggage onto a plane for Dubai at Harare airport. Only someone who knew everything had been fixed would have displayed such élan. After all it wasn’t a small Grace Mugabe- type diamond ring. It was a pretty hefty weight: some 14 bars of gold valued at US $330,000.

 

Even curiouser was that the first police report made clear that they were ready for her. a detective stationed at the airport told the Mail and Guardian that well-connected travellers often turned up with treasures to smuggle abroad. ‘You can receive a phone call from these big people ordering you not to search their bags’, he said. Senior police officers and state security officials have also been arrested in connection with the case, accused of trying to whisk her through the diplomatic route, evading national security checks.

 

They include Steven Tserayi, one of Mnangagwa’s security aides, who said he’d been asked to escort Rushwaya to the airport. Also arrested was an associate of Rushwaya at the Miners’ Federation, Gift Keraka, who told police that the gold she was carrying belonged to Mnangagwa’s wife Auxillia and her son Collins.

 

Curiouser and curiouser was that the state initially agreed to Rushwaya’s release on bail when she first appeared in court – only later to change their mind. At the same time the Prosecutor-General denied being in a relationship with Rushwaya . . .

 

Like Alice in Wonderland, Henrietta Rushwaya must have wondered whether she had taken the wrong potion: in the elite or out, bigger or smaller? One moment among the elite and the next in a cell.

 

It suggests that the regime might have concluded that corruption should be limited to the upper levels only. A difficult decision, admittedly. It will involve sacrifices by lower level thieves. But they must draw comfort from the assurance that it is all for the sake of Zanu PF.

 

Being as superstitious as most people, the Vigil noticed that the number of gold bars found in Rushwaya’s handbag was 14 – and 14 was the number of people who apparently watched the all-night musical extravaganza put up on Zanu PF’s facebook page last weekend to rally people against Western sanctions. Alas, the ‘cream of the country’s musical talent’ was snubbed . . . (see: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/1104-zimbabwe-presidents-relative-arrest-at-airport-after-gold-bars-found-in-handbag).

 

Other Points:

  • The cabinet has given the go-ahead for legislation that would make it a crime for activists to make ‘unsubstantiated claims” of human rights abuses, hold anti-government protests that could draw international attention or speak with foreign governments without state approval’. The Director of Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, Blessing Vava, said: ‘It’s a calculated attempt to silence critical voices and part of a broader agenda to entrench a de-facto one-party state’. (See: https://wtop.com/africa/2020/10/zimbabwe-cabinet-approves-proposal-to-criminalize-protests/.)
  • Because of the coronavirus we can no longer physically meet outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London, so we have a virtual Vigil while the restrictions continue. We ask our activists to put on Vigil / ROHR / Zimbabwe regalia and take a photo of themselves holding an appropriate poster reflecting our protest against human rights abuses in Zimbabwe. The photos are uploaded on our Flickr site: https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/albums/72157716691887711.  Our virtual Vigil activist today was Deborah Harry who kindly contributed to Vigil funds.
  • For Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website.

 

Notices:

  • 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. 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

 

Correction: The Times report we quote wrongly said 14 bars of gold were involved. This should have been 4 bars. The actual weight of gold was correct.

LAST_UPDATED2
 
Zimbabwe president’s relative arrest at airport after gold bars found in handbag PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 01 November 2020 15:03

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/zimbabwe-president-s-relative-arrested-at-airport-after-gold-bars-found-in-handbag-6gblw2zq8

 

Zimbabwe president’s relative arrest at airport after gold bars found in handbag

 

Jane Flanagan, Cape Town – 27/10/2020

 

A prominent figure in Zimbabwe’s ruling party allegedly tried to smuggle 14 bars of gold on a flight to Dubai.

 

Airport scanners at Harare on Monday picked up 6kg of gold valued at £280,000 in the handbag of Henrietta Rushwaya, who is head of the Zimbabwe Miners Federation and a relative of President Mnangagwa.

 

Steven Tserayi, one of the president’s long-term aides, was detained with her, according to local reports, and has been sacked by the president, but not arrested.

 

The scandal has highlighted Zimbabwe’s murky gold sector which, analysts claim, has drawn “untouchable” members of its political elite into smuggling cartels, costing the bankrupt state millions of pounds.

 

Ms Rushwaya, 53, who appeared in court today charged with smuggling, allegedly told officers she was acting as a mule for a licensed dealer in Harare called Ali Japan and was due to hand the gold to “an unidentified person” in Dubai. The gold did not have the paperwork required for its export.

 

Political analysts said the arrest of Ms Rushwaya was possibly the latest salvo in a power struggle within the ruling party.

 

A detective who is stationed at Robert Mugabe International Airport said that well-connected travellers often turned up with treasures to smuggle abroad. “You can receive a phone call from these big people ordering you not to search their bags when they come through,” he told the Mail & Guardian.

 

Grace Mugabe, the widow of the late president, and Joyce Mujuru, his vice-president, have both been linked to smuggling gold and diamonds worth millions of pounds. No charges have been brought and both have denied any wrongdoing.

 

Mthuli Ncube, the finance minister, has estimated that $100,000 of gold illegally leaves the country each month, often to Dubai, robbing the state of much-needed foreign currency.

 

Ms Rushwaya’s association of small-scale miners produces more gold than large-scale operations. The collapse of commercial agriculture, once the country’s largest employer, has pushed thousands of people into illegal mining with their finds being sold to black-market middlemen and often trafficked to states where prices are higher.

 

Police documents revealed that detectives had been tracking Ms Rushwaya after they received a tip-off. A spokesman for the government hailed the operation and said it followed warnings by Mr Mnangagwa, 78, to “those close to power to desist from wayward ways”.

 

The allegations are not Ms Rushwaya’s first brush with scandal. She was sacked from her role as head of Zimbabwe’s football association after it emerged that the national side was competing in obscure tournaments in Asia, north Africa and the Middle East where players and coaches were bribed to throw games.

 

She has not yet made a statement on the gold smuggling charges she is facing.

 
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