Rats’ Alley – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 12th January 2019 PDF Print E-mail
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Sunday, 13 January 2019 16:48

A car drives past a seemingly endless queue of vehicles waiting for fuel in Harare. Some have no one in them. Then a presidential motorcade speeds past in the opposite direction.

Take a look at the video recorded by the passing car (see: Does this show a Zimbabwe open for business? And can President Mnangagwa’s latest travels in a hired luxury airliner really deliver this business? Many people wouldn’t put Russia, Belarus, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan at the top of any list except for corruption.

Mnangagwa will wind up his tour by dropping in at the annual Davos ‘movers and shakers’ party in Switzerland. He attracted some interest there last year as a kind of Christmas novelty popping out of the military cracker. But his trademark Zimbabwe scarf is now a bit bedraggled.

If he gets to see anyone but self-important rats they will ask what he has achieved in the past year, what he has done with the ‘influx’ of foreign investment continually hyped by the Herald.

They will acknowledge that his regime is less repressive than Mugabe’s but will be critical of his failure to restore monetary credibility. And they will wonder if anything different can ever be achieved by an irredeemably autocratic Zanu PF government . . .

But the Herald says salvation is at hand. It says a South African company has offered to invest more than $300 million in ‘waste management’ in Zimbabwe. A company spokesman said it wanted to ‘clean Zimbabwe’. Apparently the company had talks with Mnangagwa at the Davos forum last year. Our suspicions at the time have been confirmed: Mnangagwa really was talking rubbish at the meeting (see:

A hundred years ago the poem ‘The Waste Land’ made the name of Nobel Laureate T S Elliot. He wrote: ‘I think we are in rats’ alley where the dead men lost their bones . . . Do you know nothing? Do you see nothing? Do you remember nothing?’

Other points

  • Bare bones are all that’s left for 1,400 families evicted from their homes near Bulawayo by police with a support unit who went on to demolish everything. Some of the residents took up spears and knobkerries to defend their property and were reminded by the commander of the support unit of what happened in Harare following the disputed elections last year when the army opened fire. The residents were not even permitted to remove their belongings (see:
  • Thanks to those who came early to help set up the table and put up the banners: Enniah Dube, Marian Machekanyanga, Charles Mararirakwenda, Patricia Masamba, Margaret Munenge, Esther Munyira and Ephraim Tapa. Thanks to Marian, Esther and Patricia for looking after the front table, to Margaret and Enniah for handing out flyers and to Esther for extra photos. Thanks also to Patricia, Margaret, Charles, Marian, Enniah and Ephraim for agreeing to contribute to the cost of new banners and posters for the Vigil.
  • For latest Vigil pictures check: Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website.

FOR THE RECORD: 9 signed the register.


  • ROHR Central London branch meeting. Saturday 19th January 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 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.
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