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




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.
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