Zanu PF confident of victory – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 26th March 2022 PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 03 April 2022 13:40

 

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As by-elections were underway in 28 mostly urban and opposition-held parliamentary seats – together with over 100 local government seats – the Minister of Election Rigging declared victory for Zanu PF.

 

The Minister said the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission had already informed him that the people had made the right decision. He said this had been confirmed by the celebrated Zimbabwean writer NoViolet Bulawayo, whose debut novel ‘We need new names’ was short-listed for the prestigious Booker prize in the UK in 2013.

 

NoViolet’s latest novel titled ‘Glory’ has received rave reviews in British newspapers. The influential Guardian says NoViolet wanted to write a non-fiction account of the 2017 coup against Mugabe but ended up writing a political satire, inspired by the famous English novel ‘Animal Farm’.

 

The Guardian writes: ‘Glory is set in the animal kingdom of Jidada. After a 40-year rule, the “Old Horse” is ousted in a coup, along with his much-despised wife, a donkey named Marvellous. At first there is great rejoicing and hope for change under a new ruling horse, Tuvius Delight Shasha (the former vice-president turned rival of Old Horse). Hope, however, quickly vanishes and into the period of post-coup despair steps a young goat named Destiny, who returns from exile to bear witness to a land where greed, corruption and false prophets are rampant.

 

‘Glory is jam-packed with comedy and farce, poking fun at an autocratic regime while illustrating the absurdity and surreal nature of a police state. Here, for example, is an extravagant, ironic list of Jidada’s government ministers reflecting the breadth and depth of corruption: “The Minister of the Revolution, the Minister of Corruption, the Minister of Order, the Minister of Things, the Minister of Nothing, the Minister of Propaganda, the Minister of Homophobic Affairs, the Minister of Disinformation, the Minister of Looting”.’

 

The review points to targets such as the popular slogans meaning the opposite of what is stated – ‘Open for business’ and ‘New dispensation’ – down to ‘Dr Sweet Mother with her Gucci heels’ – the donkey awarded her PhD after just three months – or, as the novel has it, ‘before you could say diss, for dissertation’.

 

‘But one doesn’t have to know Zimbabwe to relish this novel. As with all good satire, the specific speaks to the universal; and many of these specifics are instantly recognisable – a video recording anguished cries of “I can’t breathe”; the sham commitment to “free, fair and credible elections”; the calls to “make Jidada great again”. Similarly, the heart-breaking descriptions of genocide, corrupt rulers and their cronies, and a traumatised nation living in fear, will chime with people all over the world. Glory is in good company with Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka’s 2021 biting critique of Nigerian society, Chronicles from the Land of the Happiest People on Earth. Perhaps we are seeing the beginning of a new wave of political satire from African writers.’

 

The review concludes: ‘Bulawayo doesn’t hold back in speaking truth to power. She writes urgently and courageously, holding up a mirror both to contemporary Zimbabwe and the world at large. Her fearless and innovative chronicling of politically repressive times calls to mind other great storytellers such as Herta Müller, Elif Shafak and Zimbabwean compatriot Yvonne Vera. Glory, with a flicker of hope at its end, is allegory, satire and fairytale rolled into one mighty punch.’ (See: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2022/mar/23/glory-by-noviolet-bulawayo-review-a-zimbabwean-animal-farm.)

 

The Vigil salutes NoViolet – a brave opponent of repression in Zimbabwe. It gives us hope that the diaspora may be able to return home one day.

 

Other points

  • As NoViolet’s book suggests. nothing is beyond satire in Zimbabwe. Take for instance the case of former Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri, who is accused of corruption involving US$32 million. he told the High Court that he was too rich to steal from the state and the police force! (See: https://www.newsday.co.zw/2022/03/im-too-rich-to-steal-chihuri/.)
  • Another high profile person has resigned from the Presidential Advisory Council, the Chairman of Alpha Media Holdings, Trevor Ncube. He said he regretted ever joining the Council. After the 2017 coup he thought people should give Mnangagwa a chance – ‘how wrong I was’. He said Mnangagwa was doing even worse things than Mugabe who had run down the economy through corruption and maladministration (see: https://www.newzimbabwe.com/mnangagwas-advisory-council-crumbles-as-another-high-profile-member-quits-launches-savage-criticism/.)
  • The Vigil is happy to say that we will be resuming our usual meetings outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London on Saturday 2nd April from 2 – 5 pm after the long absence caused by the Covid pandemic. We welcome you back.
  • Our virtual Vigil activists today were Enniah Dube and Casper Nyamakura who both kindly contributed to Vigil funds. See: https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/albums/72177720297640167 for today’s photos.

 

Events and Notices:

  • 10th Anniversary of the Mike Campbell Foundation. Wednesday 30th March 2022 from 7 – 9 pm. Venue: The Royal Geographical Society, 1 Kensington Gore, London SW7 2AR. Scheduled speakers include: Nelson Chamisa, Fadzayi Mahere, Baroness Kate Hoey and Ben Freeth. Tickets £15. For tickets, check: https://event.bookitbee.com/38180/mike-campbell-foundation and for information flyer, check: https://www.mikecampbellfoundation.com/_files/ugd/02876c_f762aa1e6ae64863913b91e9ed33d4db.pdf.
  • Resumption of Vigil meetings outside the Embassy. Saturday 2nd April from 2 – 5 pm. We will continue meeting on the first and third Saturdays of every month.
  • The Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) is the Vigil’s partner organisation based in Zimbabwe. ROHR grew out of the need for the Vigil to have an organisation 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

 
Freedom or oppression – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 19th March 2022 PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 03 April 2022 13:30

 

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Two former British Prime Ministers, Gordon Brown and John Major, have called for an international tribunal to investigate what the current Prime Minister Boris Johnson described as the vicious and barbaric attack by Russian President Putin on neighbouring Ukraine. Johnson said it was a turning point for the world: a choice between freedom and oppression.

 

Well, it’s not a turning point in Africa according to a survey by the US news agency Associated Press, which notes that 25 of the 54 African nations abstained or didn’t record a vote on the recent UN General Assembly resolution condemning the Russian invasion.

 

The brave resistance of the people of Ukraine in the face of overwhelming Russian military force bombing civilian targets doesn’t seem to have registered much with many African governments. Instead they – like Zimbabwe – remember Russian support during the anti-colonial struggle. The AP news agency recalls that only three years ago 43 African nations attended a summit meeting with Russia – ‘the dominant exporter of weapons to sub-Saharan Africa, according to the Stockholm Peace Research Institute’.

 

While another former British Prime Minister, David Cameron, is on the road driving a lorry for a charity taking aid to Ukraine, the son of Ugandan President Museveni, Lt-General Muhoozi Kainerugaba, declared that most Africans ‘support Russia’s stand in Ukraine and Putin is absolutely right’.

 

South African President Ramaphosa was ambivalent – not knowing what side to take – saying he believes Russia feels ’a national existential threat’ from NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation comprising most Western European countries, the United States and Canada.

 

In Zimbabwe Zanu PF seems to feel under siege as its Russian patron Putin is exposed as a fratricidal maniac prepared to spark off a world war. Even Zanu PF’s patron in chief China appears to have qualms about the Russian invasion (see: https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-united-nations-general-assembly-business-moscow-united-nations-f8ae1493bb680218695cf13abbc75554).

 

Like Putin, President Mnangagwa has been accused of perpetuating a culture of violence. NewZimbabwe said this came out during interviews with NGO leaders at the premier of a documentary ‘Untold Truths in Zimbabwe: Stories of Injustice Through the Eyes of Survivors’.

 

Musa Kika, director of the Human Rights NGO Forum, said that in the runup to next Saturday’s by-elections many acts of violence had been committed but not a single person had been convicted (see: https://www.newzimbabwe.com/government-not-willing-to-end-violence-ngos/).

 

Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has been accused of manipulating the by-elections in favour of Zanu PF. The charges came from the thinktank Zimbabwe Democracy Institute, together with the election watchdogs, Election Resource Centre and Zimbabwe Election Support Network (see: https://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/electoral-process-manipulated/),

 

Other points

·       The acting Commissioner-General of the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority, Regina Chinamasa, says corruption is threatening to sink the economy (see: https://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/corruption-will-collapse-economy-zimra-boss/#comment-1291345). The suspended chairman of the PetroTrade board, Tinomudaishe Chinyoka, says massive looting of the state-owned entity had prejudiced it of nearly US$120 million (see: https://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/us120m-looted-from-parastatal/).

·       The Vigil is happy to say that we will be resuming our usual meetings outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London on Saturday 2nd April from 2 – 5 pm after the long absence caused by the Covid pandemic. We welcome you back.

·       Our virtual Vigil activist today was Richard Munyama who kindly contributed to Vigil funds. See: https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/albums/72177720297472999 for today’s photos.

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

 

Events and Notices:

·        10th Anniversary of the Mike Campbell Foundation. Wednesday 30th March 2022 from 7 – 9 pm. Venue: The Royal Geographical Society, 1 Kensington Gore, London SW7 2AR. Scheduled speakers include: Nelson Chamisa, Fadzayi Mahere, Baroness Kate Hoey and Ben Freeth. Tickets £15. For tickets, check: https://event.bookitbee.com/38180/mike-campbell-foundation and for information flyer, check: https://www.mikecampbellfoundation.com/_files/ugd/02876c_f762aa1e6ae64863913b91e9ed33d4db.pdf.

·       Resumption of Vigil meetings outside the Embassy. Saturday 2nd April from 2 – 5 pm. We will continue meeting on the first and third Saturdays of every month.

·       The Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) is the Vigil’s partner organisation based in Zimbabwe. ROHR grew out of the need for the Vigil to have an organisation 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 

 
Government versus the people – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 12th March 2022 PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 03 April 2022 13:24

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Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition has appealed to the Southern African Development Community to intervene in what it describes as the deteriorating political situation in Zimbabwe. It said ‘Zimbabwe has over the course of the last two years, seen a concerted effort by the government of Zimbabwe to severely limit and close out civic and democratic space.’

 

Crisis said the security situation was worsening as the country headed towards the 26th March by-elections and the 2023 general elections. It spoke of attacks by machete-wielding gangs on opposition party supporters and the leniency of the police toward the attackers as well as the use of hate speech.

 

The Coalition, which represents 350 civic groups, said economic conditions had also worsened because of state-sanctioned corruption. ‘Crony capitalism has taken root, and we have witnessed a few politically connected and exposed persons clinch the majority of state tenders.’ (See: https://www.newsday.co.zw/2022/03/csos-call-for-sadc-intervention-in-zimbabwe/.)

 

For its part, the Zimbabwe Peace Project accused the Zanu PF government of doling out food aid and agricultural inputs at its campaign rallies while denying food aid to villagers aligned to the opposition. Joy Mabenge of ActionAid Zimbabwe pleaded with the police to carry out their constitutional duties and bring to book all perpetrators of political violence (see:

https://www.newsday.co.zw/2022/03/rights-groups-fret-over-political-violence/).

 

The Zimbabwe Elections Support Network said some people were now scared to wear yellow clothes because it was identified with Nelson Chamisa’s new Citizens’ Coalition for Change party which has been attracting large numbers to its rallies. Supporters in their party regalia have complained of coming under attack or being refused access to public goods and services (see: https://www.newsday.co.zw/2022/03/zim-political-violence-poses-risk-to-region/).

 

In the UK Parliament a government minister Lord Courtown urged President Mnangagwa to ensure that all political parties were allowed to operate without harassment, He was responding to reports that a CCC supporter, Mboneni Ncube, had been killed by alleged Zanu PF thugs at a rally in Kweke.

 

The question was raised in the House of Lords by the Co-Chair off the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Zimbabwe, Lord Oates, who said: ‘Is the Minister aware that, at a ZANU-PF rally on 26 February, Vice President Chiwenga said to the opposition CCC, ‘you see how we crush lice… You put it in a flat stone then flatten it to the extent that even flies will not make a meal out of it. That is what we are going to do to CCC. The following day, a CCC rally was attacked with iron bars, machetes and spears. One opposition supporter was killed and many more were hospitalised.’ (See: https://www.newzimbabwe.com/uk-parly-demands-justice-for-slain-chamisa-supporter/.)

 

The Vigil is fully behind Lord Oates who we were happy to meet at one of our protests outside the Embassy in London.

 

Other points

  • Nelson Chamisa is scheduled to address a meeting in London on 30th March to mark the 10th anniversary of the Mike Campbell Foundation which aims to restore the rule of law, justice, human rights and property rights for all in Zimbabwe. See ‘Events and Notices’ for further details.
  • Many Zimbabweans turned up for a party to mark the 60th birthday of Ephraim Tapa, leader of the Vigil and ROHR. For photos, check: https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/albums/72177720297318275.
  • Church leaders in Zimbabwe have urged the government to ensure free, fair and peaceful by- elections on 26th March. They say at the general elections next year they will have observers at every polling station (see: https://www.vaticannews.va/en/africa/news/2022-02/zimbabwe-s-church-leaders-issue-statement-on-the-elections-we-w.html).
  • Zimbabwean economist Godfrey Kanyenze says government mismanagement not sanctions is to be blamed for the state of the economy. His book ‘Leaving so many behind - the Link between Politics and the Economy of Zimbabwe’ has just been published. He says that by the time sanctions were imposed Zimbabwe was already in a serious economic crisis which began in the late 1990s. The book argues that the unprecedented economic rebound during the GNU period, even in the midst of continued existence of sanctions and restrictive measures contradicts the sanctions blame game (see: https://allafrica.com/stories/202203100330.html).
  • Our virtual Vigil activist today was Gladys Muduve who kindly contributed to Vigil funds. See: https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/albums/72177720297303666 for today’s photos.

 

Events and Notices:

  • 10th Anniversary of the Mike Campbell Foundation. Wednesday 30th March 2022 from 7 – 9 pm. Venue: The Royal Geographical Society, 1 Kensington Gore, London SW7 2AR. Scheduled speakers include: Nelson Chamisa, Fadzayi Mahere, Baroness Kate Hoey and Ben Freeth. Tickets £15. For tickets, check: https://event.bookitbee.com/38180/mike-campbell-foundation and for information flyer, check: https://www.mikecampbellfoundation.com/_files/ugd/02876c_f762aa1e6ae64863913b91e9ed33d4db.pdf
  • The Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) is the Vigil’s partner organisation based in Zimbabwe. ROHR grew out of the need for the Vigil to have an organisation 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

 
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