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Voter aged 141 casts shadow on Zimbabwe polls PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 15 July 2018 11:45

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/voter-aged-141-casts-shadow-on-zimbabwe-poll-pzcwpl50w

Voter aged 141 casts shadow on Zimbabwe polls

 

Jane Flanagan – 13th July 2018 

The inclusion of voters aged 141 and 134 on Zimbabwe’s electoral roll has prompted concerns that the country’s first vote of the post-Mugabe era may be as crooked as any held during his time in power.

The main opposition party has cited “ghost voters” as a clear sign that the credibility of the election on July 30 is in doubt. The list, which was made public after a court order, also has more than 100 voters sharing a single identity number and registered at one address.

This month’s election will be a crucial test of President Mnangagwa, 75, who masterminded Mr Mugabe’s ousting last November. He is anxious to win his own mandate and unlock foreign investment and diplomatic support.

His invitation to international journalists and European observers to witness voting for the first time in 16 years has been welcomed as a positive departure from the violent campaigns of the past.

As Mr Mugabe’s enforcer for 37 years, Mr Mnangagwa has had a direct hand in much of the election rigging and violence that has delivered uninterrupted power for the ruling Zanu (PF) party since Zimbabwe won independence in 1980. Foreign governments have made a peaceful and credible election a condition for lifting sanctions and providing financial support.

Political observers and opposition parties have already identified tactics suggesting that the ruling party’s campaign is shady. Thousands of voters received unsolicited, personalised text messages last week in the language of the area where they are registered. Since political parties can access the phone numbers only of registered supporters, collusion with the electoral authorities or mobile phone companies seems likely.

“Zanu (PF) has been caught with its hands in the cookie jar,” Nelson Chamisa, leader of Movement for Democratic Change, the main opposition, said. “There is no legal way for any political party to access voter phone numbers.”

A leaked government letter has revealed that members of the police and the army will get an unscheduled pay rise of up to 20 per cent this month.

Despite Zanu (PF)’s ruinous policies, which have brought economic and political chaos, polls have put Mr Mnangagwa ahead. Forty-two per cent of those interviewed said they backed him, compared with 31 per cent for Mr Chamisa, 40. However, nearly a quarter said they were still undecided.

Although Zimbabwe’s streets have been largely devoid of the army and “green bombers” — Zanu (PF)’s youth wing, which has been violent in previous elections — there have been reports of intimidation. Human Rights Watch said last month that it had interviewed voters who had been threatened with the loss of food aid if they failed to vote for the president.

Although Mr Mugabe remains confined to his mansion in Harare “the regime remains,” Munyaradzi Gwisai, a political analyst at the University of Zimbabwe, said. “If anything, it is the hard men and hard women of that regime who have taken power.”

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It’s the economy, stupid! – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 7th July 2018 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Tuesday, 10 July 2018 11:40

https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/43210317872/sizes/m/

Three weeks to the elections and the only thing that is clear is that Zanu PF still has no idea how to turn around the economy. The state media reports that billions of dollars of investments are pouring into the country and thousands of jobs are being created, but there is little sign of this on the ground. 

According to the Herald everything is rosy. But the queues outside the banks continue. The dollar fetches $1.70 in bond coins on the street. The budget deficit is ballooning. As the journalist Edmund Kudzayi says in a piece circulating on What’sApp: ‘The economy is screaming.’ (See: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/949-whatsapp-from-edmund-kudzayi-07072018).

The reality is that Zanu PF is congenitally unable to understand economics. To them economics equals money equals corruption. The result is there for everyone to see: no economy, no money but endemic corruption.

The corruption has contaminated even Zimbabwe’s saintly civil society organisations. The United States has cut support to several of them, complaining that their bosses had colluded to plunder millions of dollars. (see:  https://www.newzimbabwe.com/trump-govt-pulls-plug-on-zimbabwes-pro-opposition-ngos-cites-gross-plunder-of-cash/).

The situation is so bad that the chair of the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority, Willia Bonyongwe, says corruption within and outside the organization had become so cancerous that it was destroying the fabric of society (see: https://www.newsday.co.zw/2018/07/lets-fight-corruption-zim-is-not-for-sale/).

The general disenchantment with the economy would suggest victory for the MDC in the elections, given a level playing field. But, after so many disappointments, the Vigil has little hope that the elections will not be rigged. We staged a demonstration in London on Saturday in support of an MDC protest on Wednesday 11th July against the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC).

The MDC expects thousands of people to take part in a march from Africa Unity Square in Harare to the ZEC offices to press for changes to the electoral process. It is insisting on being provided with a complete biometric voters’ roll and complains that it was not allowed to observe the ballot printing process.

MDC leader Nelson Chamisa said the party had serious concerns over the conduct of ZEC and believed that it was either incapable or unwilling to provide a verifiable, secure and transparent election.

Other points

  • Special thanks to Patience Muyeye for organising the demonstration against ZEC and providing the new placards.
  • Thanks to those who arrived early to set up by putting up the banners and posters: Deborah Harry, Josephine Jombe, Marian Machekanyanga, Netsayi Makarichi, Rosemary Maponga, Patricia Masamba, Sharon Moyo, Getrude Mudede, Margaret Munenge, Esther Munyira and Patience Muyeye. Thanks to Josephine, Sharon and Deborah for looking after the front table and to Rosemary and Deborah for handing out flyers.

For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website.

FOR THE RECORD: 22 signed the register.

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • MDC UK and Ireland Youth Assembly BBQ fundraiser. Saturday 14th July from 2 pm till late. Venue: Billing Aquadrome, Crow Lane, Great Billing, Northampton NN3 9DA. The event is to raise funds to support MDC candidates in their election campaigns. Contact: Sharon 07877224113, Vusi 07758 937280, Becky 07387 676697.
  • Protest against enforced returns of Zimbabweans from the UK. Wednesday 18th July from 10 am. Venue: Parliament Square SW1P 3BD.
  • ROHR Central London branch meeting. Saturday 21st July from 11.30 am – 1.30 pm. Venue: Royal Festival Hall, Contact: Daizy 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.
  • Zimbabwe Vigil’s Mock Election. Monday 30th July from early to late outside the Embassy.
  • 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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What’sApp Post from Edmund Kudzayi – 07/07/2018 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 08 July 2018 14:30

There are real people who graduated 10 years ago and have never seen a pay slip. People unable to pay their rents. Children sent home from school over fees. Their lives are not an abstract game.

They have real problems but no solution to alleviate their circumstances. But hope springs eternal. Elections are their hope.

Only politicians believe those voters will be persuaded by cheap tricks like a cute Jah Prayzah song extolling a war hero way past his sell-by date.

This reality presents a problem for Zanu PF. The economy is screaming.

While Zanu PF heralds billion dollar investment after billion dollar investment, the reality is less animated.

People are still sleeping in bank queues. People still don’t have any money.

While Zanu PF bizarrely claims to have created 4,5 million jobs since 2013 the question is simple enough. Do YOU have a job? Does your son have a job? Do YOU have money in your pocket? Does your sister have money in her pocket? The answer is invariably no.

While the economy howls and poverty continues to educate voters, Zanu PF has additional problems at home.

Magunje MP and former Higher and Tertiary Education deputy minister Godfrey Gandawa is running as an independent. 

He is wildly popular and the primary election, from which he was barred, was a disgraceful farce, as hundreds of ballots were simply written “MP wangu haapo”. It’s game over for Zanu PF in Magunje.

The bigger problem for Zanu PF is that there are dozens of Gandawa-type G40 remnants across the country actively decampaigning President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

In Kwekwe you have the popular Masango “Blackman” Matambadzo running under the National Patriotic Front (NPF) ticket and holding immense rallies. It is game over for Zanu PF in Kwekwe.

In Harare, more trouble is brewing. Harare South, the only constituency in the capital Zanu PF has consistently held, faces the Shadreck Mashayamombe rebellion.

He was elected to Harare South on a Zanu PF ticket and enjoys deep relationships in the constituency.

He is running under the NPF/MDC Alliance ticket and has proved an indefatigable opponent, pressing on even after a series of abductions to force him to back down.

So significant is the threat of defeat at the hands of Mashayamombe that Vice-President General Constantino Chiwenga recently exercised considerable energies at a rally attacking the former MP.

I could go on, but I don’t need to. Earlier this week, Zanu PF expelled 41 members running as independents. They expelled 41 Gandawas.

You might not know the names of these people, but you don’t need to — politics is always about local dynamics.

The fact that Mnangagwa cannot see what is happening in Magunje as “bhora musango” messages are shared late at night over WhatsApp does not mean it is not happening.

I have not mentioned the many Zanu PF voters, such as myself, that were unhappy with what Mnangagwa did to then President Robert Mugabe. Our vote is not a secret.

It also helps when The Herald accuses MDC-T and MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa of working with Mugabe.

We are drawn the more to Chamisa while his urban base has learnt to ignore The Herald propaganda, confining themselves to the sports pages.

The generosity of chance is such that MDC Alliance presidential candidate Nelson Chamisa might not win the election — Mnangagwa could lose it.

But Chamisa is not to be underestimated. He is running a cunning campaign, largely ignoring his urban base. 

His focus has been Zanu PF strongholds. Small jabs, but jabs all the same.

Zanu PF has put itself into a new dispensation box and is unable to rely on its tried and tested intimidation methods to block these rallies and rural engagements.

Then the big one: Chamisa is reaching out to resettled farmers with the promise of title deeds.

It takes little imagination to understand what is happening in the minds of this traditional Zanu PF base of resettled farmers. If Chamisa wins, I will own this land.

Newspaper and ZBC reports will not help you appreciate the national mood. The truth is expressed in popular culture.

The music people sing. The jokes they send. The memes they retweet on Twitter, screenshot and share on WhatsApp groups.

This is where you see who people like or dislike. There is a flood of anti-ED material floating in popular culture.

A simple test is to search for the “Mnangagwa” keyword on Facebook, Twitter or Google.

Ignoring the handful of noisy and well paid Varakashi, the vast majority of user-generated content is ungenerous or part of an ungenerous conversation.

Is Mnangagwa rigging? Did Mnangagwa stage the bomb? Is he a wolf is sheepskin?

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission is working with Zanu PF. Nobody is talking about groundbreaking at Hwange.

His open for business message is not getting through to those outside the political and business classes.

ED’s last line of defence is fear. Consider the following findings from Afrobarometer:

  • Three in 10 registered voters (31%) believe powerful people will be able to find out how they voted.
  • Three in 10 registered voters (31%) say they have been asked to show their biometric voter’s registration (BVR) slips. Respondents had been asked if anyone had demanded to see the serial number of their voter registration slip.
  • Seven in 10 Zimbabweans (72%) think voters must show their BVR slips in order to vote.
  • 32% of respondents believe powerful people will make use of fingerprints and photographs collected during the BVR process.
  • 41% of respondents believe security agencies will not accept presidential election results.
  • 40% of respondents believe there will be violence after the election.

By the time we get to July 30, nobody will still be afraid. The fear will be gone. How?

Watch the magicians’ hand!

Edmund Kudzayi is a journalist. He writes in his personal capacity.

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A foregone conclusion? – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 30th June 2018 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 01 July 2018 19:57

The British campaigning organisation Action for Southern Africa (ACTSA) has expressed fears that the outcome of the July elections are a foregone conclusion. ACTSA, formerly the Anti-Apartheid Movement, speaks of suspicion that what it calls the Zanu PF / military alliance will not allow Emmerson Mnangagwa to lose his first election.

ACTSA’s report notes that the alliance is become increasingly sophisticated at manipulating state institutions and official processes and that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has refused to allow a comprehensive audit of the voters’ roll by an independent body – adding ‘some opposition politicians have noted a suspicious number of centenarians on it’ 

ACTSA says that, although ZEC is allowing parties to observe the printing of ballot papers, it will still not permit independent verification of their distribution. It goes on: ‘For at least a year ACTSA’s partners have said that Zanu PF activists in rural areas have been intimidating people, telling citizens that their vote will not be secret. Moreover, since the announcement of the elections, the government has reportedly deployed around 5000 (plain- clothed) soldiers in rural areas, and some traditional leaders aligned with Zanu PF have allegedly called on people to vote Zanu PF or face the threat of eviction from their homes.’ (See: https://actsa.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/ACTSA-Key-Issues-Regarding-Zimbabwean-General-Election-2018.pdf.)

Reports indicate that, despite the continuing big budget deficit shown by the latest economic figures and illustrated by the long queues at the banks, Zanu PF has still managed to find plenty of money to finance its election campaign, providing vehicles and campaign material to its supporters. This comes despite reports of deception by some Zanu PF ministers who are said to have wasted $300,000 hiring a cargo plane from the dodgy Zimbabwe Airways to ferry campaign material from China, ony to have it refused landing rights because of registration and regulatory issues (see: https://www.theindependent.co.zw/2018/06/22/ministers-in-trouble-over-zanu-pf-funds/).

Other points

  • There has been a bizarre response from Mugabe’s nephew and former minister Patrick Zhuwao to the accusation by President Mnangagwa in a BBC interview that Grace Mugabe’s supporters were responsible for last week’s bomb attack against him in Bulawayo. In an open letter to British Prime Minister Theresa May, Zhuwao said the bomb was an inside job and that Mnangagwa would resort to violence to win the elections. He adds that Mnangagwa’s opponents in Zanu PF will vote for MDC leader Nelson Chamisa (see: http://www.newsdzezimbabwe.co.uk/2018/06/zhuwaos-open-letter-to-theresa-may.html).
  • Thanks to those who arrived early to set up by putting up the banners and posters: Josephine Jombe, Marian Machekanyanga, Alice Majola, Rosemary Maponga, Eunice Mapunde, Patricia Masamba, Bianca Mpawaenda, Getrude Mudede, Fungisai Mupandira, Soneni Sibanda and Ephraim Tapa. Thanks to Josephine, Bianca and Soneni for looking after the front table and to Rosemary and Getrude for handing out flyers. 

For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website.

FOR THE RECORD: 19 signed the register.

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • MDC London Branch Meeting. Saturday 7th July from 12 noon – 2 pm. Venue: Royal Festival Hall. For more information contact Sharon Moyo 07877224113 and Clemence Munyukwi 07889 667686.
  • MDC UK and Ireland Youth Assembly BBQ fundraiser. Saturday 14th July from 2 pm till late. Venue: Billing Aquadrome, Crow Lane, Great Billing, Northampton NN3 9DA. The event is fundraising for the upcoming election to support MDC candidates in their campaigns. Contact: Sharon 07877224113, Vusi 07758 937280, Becky 07387 676697.
  • ROHR Central London branch meeting. Saturday 21st July from 11.30 am – 1.30 pm. Venue: Royal Festival Hall, Contact: Daizy 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.
  • Zimbabwe Vigil’s Mock Election. Monday 30th July from early to late.
  • 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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Refugee lives matter – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 23rd June 2018 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 24 June 2018 15:57

The plight of refugees has become a pressing issue around the world, compounded by a growing flow of migrants seeking a better life in developed countries.

The British weekly political journal The Spectator today came out with a leading article addressing the matter head on (https://www.spectator.co.uk/2018/06/turning-back-boats-may-be-the-most-humane-response-to-the-migrant-crisis/). The article criticizes President Trump’s (now abandoned) policy of separating migrant children from their families but says the EU’s policy towards migrants is ultimately far crueller: ‘That is to tempt migrants into unseaworthy boats to cross the Mediterranean.’

The article notes that, according to the International Organisation for Migration, more than 3,000 people died last year attempting to reach European countries from North Africa by sea. It observes: ‘Migrants are taking the risks because, in the vast majority of cases, their journeys are successful — and if they land, they probably get to stay.’

Overwhelmed by the estimated 700,000 people who have landed on their shores over the past few years, Italians have now elected a right wing government which recently refused to accept a charity-run ship carrying 630 migrants fished out of the sea off the Libyan coast after they had been abandoned by people traffickers.

More than three years ago, horrified by the deaths of some 700 migrants from Africa, drowned when their rickety boat capsized in the Mediterranean, the Vigil came up with a possible solution. As we put it:‘creating a UN protection zone, perhaps in north Africa, where rescued migrants could receive food and medical attention, and indeed schooling, while their asylum claims for Europe could be processed.’ (See: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/the-vigil-diary/683-let-them-drown-zimbabwe-vigil-diary-18th-april-2015).

Our suggestion was picked up by the German news agency and now, thousands of deaths later, the EU has begun thinking along the same lines. If the asylum system agreed internationally is to survive it must be separated from the question of economic migration.

Other points

  • As we gathered for the Vigil, reports began coming in on our phones of an apparent attack on President Mnangagwa. The reports said an explosive device was thrown towards him when he ended a rally at White City Stadium in Bulawayo. He was not hurt but about eight people were said to have been injured including Vice=-Presidents Mohadi and Chiwenga. What’sApp was soon full of speculation.
  • Thanks to those who arrived early to set up by putting up the banners and posters: Heath Jiri, Josephine Jombe, Jonathan Kariwo, Nyarai Masvosva, Bianca Mpawaenda, Getrude Mudede, Faith Ndhlovu, Ulibile Nkwate and Pearl Shambare. Thanks to Josephine, Bianca and Pearl for looking after the front table and to Faith, Heath, Ulibile and Isaac Chawasarira for handing out flyers.

For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website.

FOR THE RECORD: 18 signed the register.

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • ROHR Central London branch meeting. Saturday 21st July from 11.30 am – 1.30 pm. Venue: Royal Festival Hall, Contact: Daizy 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.
  • 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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