Zimbabwe condones massacre – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 5th March 2022 PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 03 April 2022 13:15

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Sadly it came as no surprise that the Zanu PF government has refused to criticise Russia for its unprovoked and brutal invasion of neighbouring Ukraine – a close relative and historic friend.

 

In a vote at the United Nations most of the world condemned the suppression of Ukrainian independence (141 out of 193 UN members). Zimbabwe was among those who abstained while the Russian army was demolishing Ukraine simply because it wanted democracy. It was as if the Zimbabwean military was attacking Zambia because it had elected a progressive president.

 

Admittedly, South Africa and a number of other African countries beholden to Russian and Chinese patronage and careless of democracy took the same self-serving line (see: https://www.news24.com/news24/africa/news/un-vote-on-russia-complicates-things-zimbabwe-20220303).

 

Of course China itself refused to condemn Russia. After all, the Russians had agreed to its request not to steal the headlines while the winter Olympics were being held in China! Together with Russia China is a great partner of Zanu PF, sharing its totalitarian instincts. Worried by domestic criticism of its savage and unprovoked attack on Ukraine, Russian President Putin has threatened a prison sentence of up to 15 years for anyone who criticises him (The Times, Friday 4th March 2022).

 

President Mnangagwa is doing little less than this in his Private Voluntary Organisations (PVO) Bill which seeks to regulate the operations of non-government organisations (NGOs). Civil society organisations say this is an attack on democracy. Apart from anything else, it is estimated that it will cost about 18,000 jobs in the NGO sector and jeopardise NGO contributions to the country of about US $800 million a year (see: https://www.newzimbabwe.com/zimbabweans-to-pay-dearly-for-draconian-pvo-bill/).

 

The Bill has been criticised by the UN which said it would gravely affect civic space. And last month the European Union, renewing sanctions against Zimbabwe, said it was one of the oppressive pieces of legislation which showed that Zimbabwe was not improving its democratic principles (see: https://www.newsday.co.zw/2022/03/ngo-bill-to-cut-18-000-jobs/).

 

Government Information Secretary Mangwana said the Bill was aimed at curtailing money laundering. But Musa Kika of the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum said: ‘Mangwana’s statement betrays insincerity. These are statements that pretend to be ignorant of the government’s real intention, which is to bring civil society organisations under undue and excessive governmental control.’

 

Obert Masaraure. spokesperson for Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition said there was no need to introduce new money-laundering laws when there were already sufficient laws to deal with it.

 

Commentator Rashweat Mukundu said: ‘The PVO Bill has nothing to do with money-laundering and has nothing to do with interference in politics by civil societies or NGOs. Money-laundering laws can be developed without restricting the functions of voluntary organisations.’

 

Residents Associations Coalition for Electoral Reforms spokesperson Marvelous Khumalo said: ‘We have seen senior government officials and businesspeople who are connected to the ruling party laundering huge sums of money and surely this is not contained in the PVO Bill.’ (See: https://www.newsday.co.zw/2022/03/pvo-bill-has-nothing-to-do-with-money-laundering/.)

 

Other points

  • The Daily Maverick says the launch of Nelson Mandela’s Citizens’ Coalition for Change (CCC) has seen an escalation of state-sponsored violence. It says Zanu PF is back to its old tricks because it is scared of democracy. Daily Maverick says: ‘On 18th February police were filmed beating up screaming CCC members whom they had arrested in Harare CBD allegedly for holding a car rally. In another video, police and a man in civilian clothing who was holding a sjambok were filmed forcing CCC supporters to crawl on all fours. The CCC’s spokesperson, Fadzayi Mahere, confirmed that police had arrested 13 CCC members and were holding them at the Harare Central police station. A day later, the 13 were taken to court handcuffed to each other. The way the police paraded them in front of the media in their handcuffs was clearly a message to everyone that if you dare support the CCC you will be arrested and tortured. Before they had a chance to apply for bail, the magistrate who was assigned their case, Yeukai Nzuda, said she was tired and would not be able to hear the matter. It was a long weekend, which meant the 13 would be in jail until Tuesday.’ (See: https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2022-02-28-zimbabwes-new-political-party-citizens-coalition-for-change-sparks-fear-and-violence-from-zanu-pf/.)
  • Our virtual Vigil activist today was Joyce Mbairatsunga who kindly contributed to Vigil funds. See: https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/albums/72177720297140385 for today’s photos.

 

Events and Notices:

  • 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

 

 
Election rigging fears – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 26th February 2022 PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 03 April 2022 13:11

 

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The pressure group Team Pachedu says the electoral commission (ZEC) has failed to provide satisfactory explanations for the concerns and anomalies the group has pointed out in the voters’ roll recently produced for the crucial 26th March by-elections. It said this gave rise to suspicions that the elections could be rigged.

 

Team Pachedu challenged ZEC to explain several issues, including a massive redirection of voters from their registered polling stations to those outside their constituencies – some as far as 100 kilometres away. It demanded to know why ZEC officials contravened the law and accepted registrants with unknown or unnamed residential addresses. Analysts say the alleged changes were likely to disenfranchise millions of voters (see: https://www.newsday.co.zw/2022/02/zec-taken-to-task-over-doctored-voters-roll/).

 

Despite rural poverty, an analysis of the voters’ roll shows Zimbabwe’s voters include the oldest people in the world. The analysis showed the roll included 3,253 people aged 100 or more, including 11 who were older than the oldest acknowledged person Japanese Kane Tanaka, who was 119 in January |(see: https://www.newzimbabwe.com/zec-brews-shocker-as-eleven-120-year-old-people-appear-on-voters-roll/).

 

While on the subject of old age, the Vigil was interested in the argument in court that former Permanent Secretary for Mines Professor Francis Gudyanga should be spared jail for fraud because he is 75. The ancient professor had allegedly been receiving payments for meetings with himself. If we have more than 3,000 people on the voters’ roll aged over 100,  one would have thought that the professor was not too ancient for jail – where he could have lots more meetings with himself at government expense (see: https://www.newsday.co.zw/2022/02/please-dont-jail-me-l-am-old-ex-perm-sec-proff-gudyanga-pleads-in-court/).

 

Although the European Union has now lifted sanctions on Grace Mugabe, Vice President Chiwenga and the army chief General Sibanda, it says respect for human rights has not improved in Zimbabwe (see: https://www.news24.com/news24/africa/news/eu-removes-grace-mugabe-zimbabwes-vice-president-and-army-commander-from-sanctions-list-20220222).

 

The EU says: ‘Intimidation of the political opposition and other government critics has continued to restrict the democratic and civic space, which is under threat of shrinking further, through the Data Protection Act and ongoing legislative processes such as the Private Voluntary Organisations Amendment Bill and the envisaged so-called “Patriotic Act”. The EU is concerned about these developments.’ (See: https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2022/02/21/zimbabwe-declaration-by-the-high-representative-on-behalf-of-the-european-union/.)

 

Other points

 

Events and Notices:

  • 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

 

The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place every Saturday from 14.00 to 17.00 to protest against gross violations of human rights in Zimbabwe. The Vigil which started in October 2002 will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair elections are held in Zimbabwe: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk.

 
Election Tension – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 19th February 2022 PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 19 February 2022 20:14

 

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The police laid down strict conditions for the first rally of Nelson Chamisa’s new party Citizens’ Coalition for Change (CCC) scheduled for Sunday at Zimbabwe Grounds in Highfields.

 

The rally will launch the party’s campaign for the by-elections for 28 parliamentary constituencies and a number of councillors set for 26th March. They will be closely watched for indications of how next year’s national elections may turn out.

 

CCC spokesperson Fadzayi Mahere accused the police of selectively applying the law and claimed that the conditions laid down were unconstitutional, violating the party’s right to equality before the law.

 

Mahere said: ‘Why ban slogans at a rally? Why ban singing? Why ban transport?’ adding that similar restrictions had not been applied to rallies by Zanu PF and others (see: https://www.newsday.co.zw/2022/02/police-set-tough-conditions-for-chamisa-rally/).

 

The CCC deputy spokesperson, Gift Siziba threatened protests against the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), accusing it of attempting to rig the by-elections. Siziba said: ZEC had illegally moved over 170,000 voters from their original constituencies and wards on the voters’ roll to be used on 26th March.

 

He said the by-elections were a litmus test of ZEC’s capacity to hold credible elections in 2023 and warned that the party would boycott the polls if the electoral field was not level (see: https://www.newsday.co.zw/2022/02/ccc-takes-aim-at-zec/).

 

Church leaders have called for free, fair and peaceful elections. They said in a pastoral message that ZEC and other institutions should provide ‘timely, accurate and complete information to the electorate to enable them to make informed decisions’ and urged the security forces to act in an non-partisan way to avoid loss of life.

 

Among the signatories was Archbishop Robert Ndlovu, head of the Catholic Bishops Conference. The Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace said it would again deploy election observers across constituencies (see: https://www.vaticannews.va/en/africa/news/2022-02/zimbabwe-s-church-leaders-issue-statement-on-the-elections-we-w.html).

 

The US Embassy Chargé d'Affaires Thomas Hastings says his country will be following the March by-elections. ‘We are watching very closely how these elections will be conducted — not just on election day, but the preparations, issues of a level playing-field and everything about the democratic situation leading to an election is a priority to us.’ Hastings was speaking to journalists after a meeting with the Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda (see: https://www.newsday.co.zw/2022/02/us-to-follow-march-26-by-elections-preparations-campaigns/).

 

Other points

  • Deputy CCC spokesperson Siziba has accused Zanu PF of ‘a harvest of fear’ policy to deter people from joining the CCC. He was speaking after three supporters in Mashonaland East said they were attacked by Zanu PF activists using iron bars (see: https://www.newzimbabwe.com/zanu-pf-youths-torture-ccc-supporters-for-wearing-yellow-in-mashonaland-east/).
  • The acting mayor of Mutare fainted after losing a mayoral election. Farai Bhiza (MDC Alliance) lost to Simon Chabuka of the CCC in a vote to replace the former mayor, Blessing Tandi, who was recalled last week by the Alliance led by Douglas Mwonzora (see: https://www.newsday.co.zw/2022/02/councillor-faints-after-losing-mayoral-election/).
  • Because of concerns about the Covid Omicron variant, the Vigil Co-ordinators suspended the physical meetings at the Embassy. We will review this when the situation improves. In the meantime we will continue to run the Virtual Vigil as we did during lockdown. The Virtual Vigil shows the powers-that-be that we are still campaigning against their iniquitous behaviour and enables our activists to continue our protest and allows us to support them individually. Activists who wish to participate virtually should pose in their Vigil / ROHR / Zimbabwe regalia with a relevant poster and take a photo / selfie during normal Vigil hours (Saturdays between 2 and 5 pm). The photos will be labelled with your name and uploaded onto the Vigil website, the Vigil’s Flickr photo page and Facebook. You will also be listed on the Vigil diary as having participated in that day’s virtual Vigil. There will be a small charge to cover admin costs, the ongoing upkeep of the Vigil and our support for the human rights work of ROHR, our sister organisation in Zimbabwe. See: https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/albums/72177720296634894 for today’s photos. Our virtual Vigil activist today was Nolanga Ndlovu who kindly contributed to Vigil funds.

 

Events and Notices:

  • 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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