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Grace Mugabe’s vendetta against her ‘snake’, Emmerson Mnangagwa PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 27 May 2018 12:25

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/grace-mugabes-vendetta-against-her-snake-emmerson-mnangagwa-k0ckcwgzq

Zimbabwe’s new leader had to flee for his life when Grace Mugabe tried to destroy him. His son reveals how he survived

Christina Lamb, Harare May 20 2018, 12:01am, The Sunday Times

The old man sitting on a briefcase at a bus stop in the Mozambican city of Beira was covered in dirt, his shoes in tatters. No one gave him a second look. Yet his briefcase was Louis Vuitton and inside were a passport, a wad of dollars and a letter to Robert Mugabe, who had sacked him. Two days earlier, Emmerson Mnangagwa, 75, had been one of the most powerful people in Zimbabwe. Now he was a “very vulnerable man, dirty, sick and betrayed”, in the words of his son. 


Father and son had spent the night on foot, crossing rocky mountains, and dodging snakes, Mugabe agents, bandits and landmines, in a dramatic flight from Zimbabwe revealed in detail for the first time to The Sunday Times.

 

Their great escape set off a chain of events that ended in the fall of Mugabe after 37 years and Mnangagwa’s installation as president. The extraordinary story reveals how narrowly Zimbabwe’s new leader got away with his life from the machinations of those around Mugabe’s ambitious wife, Grace.

 

Mnangagwa, known as the “Crocodile”, had been Mugabe’s right-hand man for decades when he became vice-president in December 2014, putting him in pole position to succeed the nonagenarian head of state — and into dangerous contention with Grace Mugabe and her supporters in the Zimbabwean regime.

 

That was when the trouble started, his son Emmerson Jr, 33, recounted last week: “There were six break-in attempts, no police investigation; he was hit by a car and they tried to kill him, no investigation; he was poisoned, no investigation; they put cyanide in his office, no investigation; all his projects as vice-president were sabotaged, and ministers were not reporting to him.”

 

He said his father refused to believe that the Mugabes were out to get him — until he was given a vanilla ice-cream cone at a rally of the governing Zanu-PF party last August, and was violently ill. He was airlifted to South Africa where doctors identified arsenic. The ice-cream allegedly came from Grace’s dairy.

 

She denied allegations of poisoning, but hurled accusations and insults at Mnangagwa, denouncing him as a “snake”. “We saw my dad break down piece by piece,” said Emmerson Jr.

 

Mnangagwa was frequently visited, however, by General Constantino Chiwenga, the head of the Zimbabwean military, who “would come and offer his shoulder to Dad”. The two men had known each other since the 1970s liberation war against the Rhodesian government. Chiwenga would play a crucial role in the endgame of this drama.

 

Emmerson Jr believes the turning point was a rally last November 4 in Bulawayo, when Grace was loudly booed after insulting his father. Mugabe, incensed, publicly warned Mnangagwa, saying, “I can drop him tomorrow.”

 

Around 4pm two days later, he did so: Mnangagwa was fired. Emmerson Jr and two of his brothers, Sean, an army officer, and Collins, an engineer, drove to their father’s house. All his security had gone.

 

“People were phoning to say, they’re coming to arrest you and will put you in a police station and poison you or hang you and make it look like you committed suicide,” Emmerson Jr said.

 

“So my brothers and I told him it’s not safe for you to be here. Usually he didn’t take us seriously, but to our surprise he said, ‘OK, let’s get in the car and go.’” They took temporary shelter in an unfinished house one of their other brothers — Mnangagwa has 18 children — was building in a Harare suburb. Plans to escape in a private jet fell through. Plan B was medical evacuation.

 

Overcoming Mnangagwa’s resistance — “Dad kept saying, ‘I’m not sick’” — they got a doctor to write a letter authorising the evacuation. In a bizarre act of subterfuge, it had to be smuggled out of the lavatory window of a Chinese restaurant, as Mugabe’s agents were everywhere.

 

By then, however, the airport was swarming with police. The only escape route left was by road. Around midnight, with a cousin who came along to help, the Crocodile and his sons began the three-hour journey southeast to Mutare, near the frontier with Mozambique. They hid in an abandoned lodge the Crocodile knew from his days in the liberation war and were first in line when the Forbes border post opened at 6am.

 

Their passports were checked with no problem, but at the next checkpoint for clearance of the car, security agents realised who was in it and began to delay.

 

“Dad said, ‘I know only too well what this means, they are calling for backup to come and arrest me,’” said Emmerson Jr. “That’s when all hell broke loose.”

 

The cousin with them made a commotion to distract the guards while Mnangagwa sneaked out of the car and tried to escape, followed by his sons. He was 50 yards from an exit gate when an officer started screaming at the guards manning it: “Shoot, shoot, shoot!”

 

Sean shouted at his father to run and dashed to block the guards’ line of fire.

 

“We were lucky because the police on the exit gate had to get their weapons,” said Emmerson Jr. “They cocked their AK-47s very loudly and my brother jumped in the way and held the two barrels against his chest. I was terrified they would blow him up.”

 

In the commotion Mnangagwa fled with Collins to a mountain cave the old man knew from his war days. “Dad was talking to himself a lot, as if he couldn’t believe what had happened to him, that the order had gone out to kill him.”

 

Sean and Emmerson Jr escaped on foot before commandeering a taxi to Mutare, where they hid in “an old car wash” as the streets were crawling with police. “Every car was being stopped and searched.”

 

Emmerson Jr managed to link up with his father again, and they decided to try to reach Mozambique on foot. They secretly contacted local officers from military intelligence — which Mnangagwa used to run — who arranged a guide to the border, and for a taxi to meet them there.

 

Around 10pm they set off, sneaking past Marymount Teachers’ College on the edge of Mutare. Father and son were still in the business suits and shoes they were wearing when they had fled Harare.

 

“It was terrifying,” said Emmerson Jr. “So many times we had to duck because we could see searchlights, hear dogs, and see the patrol cars. My dad was in front of me on his belly doing the army crawl in the tall grass. I am a businessman and couldn’t do it, so just crouched down.

 

“He’s 76 this year, a man who had just been poisoned and didn’t have his medicines, he’s old, his blood pressure up, I was worried but I couldn’t keep up.”

 

Because of the police, the guide used an alternative route, which made the journey much longer, and missed the taxi rendezvous on the border. Tramping up and down the granite mountains in their formal shoes in the dark was tough. “We were slipping and sliding, and coming down we had to walk sideways to brake. I was so tired, I remember praying to God, just give us 100m of walking upright. Dad fell a couple of times and I was so sad.”

 

Suddenly they came to an area flagged with banners warning of landmines. Mozambique is one of the most heavily mined countries on earth. “We stood there deciding what to do. The area seemed to stretch for miles, so there was no way to go round it. I was happy to stop for the first time and get some rest.

 

“Dad looked at me said, ‘Give me 30 metres head start and try to see where I step.’ I thought, dude, these are landmines and it’s dark, how am I going to see? But he set off and we followed and somehow we were not blown up.”

 

There was more danger. Emmerson Jr had forgotten he had left his phone on and the flashing in his back pocket attracted attention. “Suddenly there was this Renamo bandit with an AK-47 which he pointed at my dad’s head.” Renamo was the losing side in Mozambique’s civil war decades ago but its remnants linger on. Mnangagwa handed over $2,000.

 

They walked on in darkness through rivers up to their bellies, past villages where dogs barked at them and into a banana plantation where it became clear they were lost. “It was full of snakes and mosquitoes and we were getting desperate when suddenly we heard the noise of a small motorbike just above us.”

 

They walked up and found a road. “We were so happy.” It was around 5am, so they stopped to rest. “Dad sat under a mango tree but I couldn’t sit because my legs were shaking. He said, ‘Young man, in the war I used to walk to Zambia from Mozambique — this is nothing.’”

 

They walked on to the nearest town, Manica. “We found a very old motel, $6 a night, all of us in one room, I remember Dad sat on the filthy bed and took off his shoes, and his socks were ripped and his toes bleeding and wet because of the mud. I almost cried, seeing him like that.”

 

Mnangagwa, however, was able to call Justice Maphosa, a wealthy Zimbabwean businessman based in South Africa, who offered to send a plane to Beira, a 170-mile taxi ride from Manica.

 

By 6pm they were in Beira airport, only for immigration officers to disappear with their passports. “We were freaking out. Dad said it makes sense: Mozambique intelligence work with Zimbabwe intelligence. We presumed they were calling back up.”

 

Then the pilot, a young white South African, arrived. “He didn’t know who we were — just thought we were clients and was furious with the immigration. Eventually this large man appeared with all these badges and seven men. We thought he was going to arrest us, but instead he apologised that he hadn’t been expecting a plane and had gone to his village, locking the computer so his men couldn’t scan our passports.”

 

On the plane, Emmerson Jr lay down to sleep, exhausted. “That’s when Dad says something very strange: ‘You wanna die in your sleep?’”

 

Mnangagwa told his son: “If I was Zimbabwe security, I’d shoot this plane down. Tomorrow it would always be a mystery what happened, just like the death of [Mozambique’s former president] Samora Machel, maybe it was the mountains or the weather . . .”

 

His son looked at him in horror. “We were on the runway about to take off and I’ve never been so scared in my life. All I could think about was my wife and kids. I’m thinking what distance can a missile or bullet hit, and I asked the pilot, please, go as high as you can.”

 

After just over an hour, they reached an airport near Pretoria. To their dismay, the tarmac was full of police cars. “We thought they were there to arrest us, so I said, Dad, let me go and speak to them, so at least there are no cameras when they arrest you.” It turned out, however, that they were escorting a visiting dignitary.

 

Maphosa was waiting with a phalanx of Afrikaner security guards in black Range Rovers with no numberplates which whisked Mnangagwa and his son to a one-bedroom flat in a Pretoria township. For the next two weeks they hid there, the curtains closed, living off takeaways from Nando’s.

 

Their guards told them a bounty of $10m (£7.4m) had been put on their heads and that 50 Zimbabwean intelligence agents had been sent to South Africa to search for them. Emmerson Jr started looking for countries where they could seek asylum. Maphosa came to pray with them every day and brought dozens of mobile phones that they could use and then discard to avoid bugging.

 

Mnangagwa called his old comrade, General Chiwenga, who had been visiting China when they escaped — and was still there. Emmerson Jr was suspicious. “I thought he must have been part of the plan against Dad, as why hadn’t he come back but continued with his schedule?”

 

When Chiwenga did return to Harare, however, Mugabe sent police to the airport to try to arrest him. “Then I knew he was not part of the plan.”

 

Two days later they got a call in the early hours in Pretoria to say tanks were on the streets of Harare and the Mugabes were under arrest. “We were so happy — me and the security guys were high-fiving each other,” Emmerson Jr said.

 

Their apartment had a small TV and they watched in astonishment as hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans took to the streets demanding Mugabe’s exit and Mnangagwa’s return. Soon he was getting calls from party officials and generals, discussing how Mugabe could be persuaded to step down.

 

Then Mugabe himself was on the phone. “Dad was very respectful. I heard him say, ‘If you don’t know what to do, listen to the people — the voice of the people is the voice of God.’ I heard him saying, ‘I have nothing to do with this, how can I tell people to go marching in the streets from here?’”

 

Three days later, November 21, Mugabe resigned and Mnangagwa was named president. The following day, he and his son flew home to be met by huge crowds. Mnangagwa’s posters for Zimbabwe’s forthcoming elections proclaim: “The voice of the people is the voice of God.”

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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:
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‘Out with the old: youth must rise’ – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 28th April 2018 PDF Print E-mail
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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:
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